JOHNSTOWN – During a special meeting Tuesday the city Common Council voted unanimously to appoint Eric Parker of Worden Street to replace Amy Praught as the 3rd Ward Common Council member.
The appointment was prompted by Praught’s recent move to the city’s 4th Ward, making her ineligible to continue serving as that ward’s council member. She left her council seat on May 31, after which Mayor Vern Jackson began accepting resumes for the seat from people living in the 3rd Ward. Praught is still the Republican Party candidate for city mayor in November.
Fourth Ward Councilman Max Spritzer said the council interviewed two Republican candidates Tuesday night for the council job – Parker and Arthur R. Schrum Jr.
Spritzer said he thought the interview process was a success, and better than the process used in August when the council voted to appoint tree farmer Jared Goderie to serve out the remainder of Johnstown 1st Ward Supervisor Richard Handy’s term of office following his death.
During the 1st Ward Supervisor appointment process Spritzer, the only Democrat on the Common Council, complained that Johnstown’s City Republican Committee had interviewed the prospective candidates and only provided the council with their endorsement of Goderie.
Spritzer said the appointment process for the 3rd Ward seat was done the way it should be done, with the council interviewing all of the prospective candidates.
“This was a well run process. There were only two candidates that submitted resumes to the mayor, and the mayor had the process open for about three weeks and only two Republicans stepped up to the plate,” Spritzer said. “Both were solid interviews, but Eric Parker really stood out. He worked for a corporation that oversees 20 McDonalds for 48 years. He oversaw personnel, budget reviews and had a lot of management experience. I think he’ll really be an asset to the council. When we interviewed him, you could really tell that he’s up on city issues. He reads the newspapers, listens to the radio, and that stood out as well.”
Schrum, who Spritzer said works in supply chain management for Espey Mfg. & Electronics Corp. in Saratoga Springs, was elected to the Greater Johnstown School Board on May 17, receiving 580 votes, the highest number of votes for the three open school board seats, with Jennifer Sponnoble, a former board member, receiving 579 votes and incumbent board member Ron Beck receiving 522 votes.
Spritzer said Schrum would have had to give up his school board seat in order to serve on the Common Council, which he agreed to do, but ultimately the council picked Parker.
Parker is expected to be sworn into office at the council’s June 21 meeting. Praught’s four-year term began in 2020 and ends in 2023, which means Parker will have to win a special election in 2022 in order to remain in the seat, and then run again in 2023 if he wants a full four-year term.