Niskayuna Supervisor Jaime Puccioni has named fellow newly elected Democratic Board Member Jessica Brennan to be her deputy supervisor.
This move breaks from former Supervisor Yasmine Syed’s decision to appoint former Niskayuna Deputy Police Chief Stan Fiminiski Jr. to the position, a decision that was criticized by some of her Democratic counterparts. Prior to him, the position was held by then-Board Member Denise Murphy McGraw.
“Town Board Member Brennan embodies the energy and enthusiasm of this new administration and carries with her a long legacy of service in our community,” Puccioni said in a press release Thursday. “I can think of no one better to serve as Niskayuna’s next deputy supervisor.”
Brennan was sworn in on Dec. 21 to serve the final two years of the unexpired term of former Town Board Member Rosemarie Perez Jaquith.
Brennan said Friday Puccioni’s decision wasn’t much of a surprise but more of a natural fit because she and Puccioni worked closely while campaigning.
“I’m very excited,” she said.
Brennan said that as deputy supervisor, she will be able to step in on behalf of Puccioni if and when Puccioni is unavailable.
Board members have also received their committee assignments. However, lone Republican Board Member Jason Moskowitz was the only person not picked to oversee a committee. Instead, he was given the role of vice chairman of the Public Works Committee.
“Historically, each councilperson has been the chair of a legislative committee,” Moskowitz said. “While creating the position of vice-chair is a break in tradition, fairly representing town residents, empowering town employees and giving a strong voice to those who have gone unheard is what’s most important and what I will strive to do.”
Puccioni said all board members discussed the committees and the decision wasn’t partisan.
Bill McPartlon, who had previously served as the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, will now oversee the Public Works Committee, which encompasses the highway, water, sewer and engineering needs of the town.
McPartlon’s work as an electrician and businessman made him the right fit for the position, Puccioni said Friday.
The Public Safety Committee will now be headed by Brennan. She will also serve as the chairwoman of the Community Programs Committee.
“Those are committees I have historically worked closely with,” said Brennan, who works as a school social worker in the Niskayuna district.
Puccioni said Brennan has worked with the Public Safety Committee as the founder of Nisky Nutrition on the Weekends, which feeds food-insecure families each week, and Nisky Attic, a virtual space where community members can help meet the clothing needs of students and families.
She has also worked on projects with the Senior Center, Puccioni said.
Board Member John Della Ratta will remain the chairman of the Economic Development, Historic Preservation and Environmental Conservation Committee.
Puccioni also commented on a Twitter account dubbed @PuppetPuccioni, which has been critical of her. The Twitter account refers to Puccioni as a part-time supervisor, even though the position is full time and Puccioni has said she will be a full-time supervisor.
“It’s unfortunate that Twitter and social media have begun to play such a negative role in government in general,” she said.
Puccioni, who is also a professor at the University of Albany, will continue teaching classes. She said due to the flexibility of her job, she is able to continue working and be the town supervisor.
Puccioni is set to teach a class online this spring, another that is both in-person and online, and practicums, in which times are arranged to meet with students, according to the University of Albany class scheduling system.
The social media account also criticized the new supervisor on not having a meeting to swear new members in until Jan. 11. However, that is only symbolic, Puccino said, noting she is ready to begin her term and her name has been switched over to ensure access to town accounts and the like.