CLIFTON PARK – The town will appoint two new Town Board members, filling seats left vacant two months ago when two former members resigned.
The Town Board will vote on a resolution appointing Agatha Reid, 34, and Christopher E. O’Hara, 66, to the board. The pair will be appointed to fill the remainder of the terms left by former board members Amy Standaert and Amy Flood, which will end at the end of 2023.
“I think Chris O’Hara and Agatha Reid provide a tremendous amount of experience and qualifications that will allow them to immediately step in and make a difference,” Town Supervisor Phil Barrett Barrett said last week. “I think it will be a short learning curve for both individuals and they will be part of us moving to a new and positive chapter on the Town Board. I’m excited to have two new Town Board members of this caliber.”
Both Reid and O’Hara have said they would run for election this fall to remain in the posts.
“To have two Town Board members resign at the same time is obviously something that is incredibly unique and not something that’s ever happened here before,” Barrett said. “It’s been a difficult time for the town.”
The two resignations in November came days after it was made public the pair allegedly had been involved in a misuse of town resources.
“The unfortunate behavior and actions of a few people here have really given the town a black eye,” Barrett said. “ And, it’s been embarrassing to the town of Clifton Park.”
Barrett alleged: “Setting aside the tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money that have been wasted, more than 1,000 hours of employee time that has been wasted, just putting all that aside, it’s been an embarrassment.”
Reid has always been very interested in politics, she said. Concern about the direction the state and country have been going made Reid feel called to get actively involved, she said.
“I think that it’s a wonderful community, with so much to offer, but great communities don’t just build themselves,” Reid said. “We all have to pitch in and do our part to keep them going.”
Reid’s first step in getting involved came earlier this year when she was appointed to the Capital District Regional Planning Commission by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.
“My time there has been brief so far, but it’s been very positive, and that’s on a volunteer basis,” Reid said. “So it’s been an honor to serve my community to that capacity, and now, I’m very excited to move forward and help this town as much as I can, and be a positive contribution to the town.”
Reid runs her family’s business, Trade Winds Farm in Rexford. She is the farm’s manager in charge of the daily operations, and leads a staff of 10 people. She has been able to use her experience from her professional horse riding career on the national and international show jumping circuit, and now coaches customers and trains horses. She also oversees all of the financial aspects of the business. She has done a lot of volunteer work with animals, she said.
“Obviously teamwork, and working together is something that’s very important to me,” Reid said. “I have a lot of experience leading others, and I understand the importance of good communication and teamwork.”
Reid plans to approach her new role knowing she has a lot to learn, she said. The agriculture sector is close to Reid and is an important part of the local economy, she said.
O’Hara served in the Air Force for 30 years, working primarily in logistics. He retired as a colonel after being deployed to Iraq in 2010 for his last duty.
He worked for Leonard Bus Sales after retiring from the military. He became the corporate director of fixed operations and was responsible for about 75 employees and a number of other duties, he said. He also has held a number of part-time positions.
“I love getting out and doing something with my hands and seeing people and trying to help a little,” O’Hara said. “I volunteer with the county as well. I do a little bit of driving for elderly, get them to their appointments and things like that.”
O’Hara earned master’s degree in public administration and another in national resource strategy from the National Board of College when he was on active duty, he said.
“I’ve always been very interested in how government works, or should work,” O’Hara said. “I’ve always been attracted to Clifton Park as an example of how to do things right in many, many respects.”
O’Hara said his first goal in his new role is to learn. He says there are a lot of connections from his past experience in business and the military that will help him in his new position.
“One thing that I believe is very critical is emergency services,” O’Hara said. “Especially, given our recent history with COVID, and more importantly, it was a good lesson learned that we need to be on top of it. We have a lot of heroes in the EMS, fire protection business that take care of us every day. So I’ll be very attuned to making sure they have the resources that they need to provide the very best services we can afford in this town.”
O’Hara said he appreciates this opportunity to serve the town.
The Town Board had been operating with three people for the past two months. The new five-member-board continues to be an all-Republican board.