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What you need to know for 01/22/2018

Saratoga County clerk sworn in after four-month vacancy


Saratoga County clerk sworn in after four-month vacancy

Saratoga County has a new county clerk, nearly four months after the office was vacated.

Saratoga County has a new county clerk, nearly four months after the office was vacated.

Peter Martin, a Saratoga Springs attorney selected by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to fill the vacancy, was sworn in during a brief ceremony Wednesday at the county complex. He is the only Democrat holding countywide office.

“I really want to do my best to provide the best level of service I can,” he said. “There are very few offices that serve more of the people of Saratoga County.”

Martin was sworn in by Charles Foehser, the county’s records management coordinator, who has been acting county clerk since former deputy clerk Kate Jeanson resigned in February.

The clerk’s office is the official repository of the county’s legal records, including deeds, mortgages and court filings, and also runs the state Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the county. The clerk’s post has been vacant since Jan. 1, when Kathy Marchione stepped down after being elected to the state Senate.

By law, it is up to the governor to appoint someone to hold the post until a special election in November. The two major political parties submitted names for Cuomo to consider.

Word of the appointment surfaced Monday, and Martin started work Tuesday. He couldn’t be sworn in until Wednesday, though, pending the arrival of official paperwork from the governor’s office.

“I think the governor made a good choice,” said county Democratic Chairman Todd Kerner. “He’s very qualified. We’re happy to have someone of his caliber.”

Kerner wouldn’t say whether Martin’s was one of the names county Democrats submitted to Cuomo.

Martin, 55, has never held public office, and he said he won’t run for election in November. His appointment ends Dec. 31.

Kerner said Democrats are talking to other people about running in November for both county clerk and sheriff.

Republicans, who have a significant countywide voter enrollment advantage, are expected to nominate Craig Hayner of Halfmoon, a businessman and current member of the Halfmoon Town Board, to run for the clerk’s position.

Martin, who ran unsuccessfully for Saratoga Springs finance commissioner in 2009, is a former senior vice president and general counsel for the Ayco Company, a national financial services firm based in Saratoga Springs. He has lived in Saratoga Springs since 2004. He is married, with two adult daughters.

“I’m going to see if I can bring some of the benefits of 25 years of experience with a major corporation, and make the county clerk’s office run as well as it can and as efficiently as possible,” Martin said.

The office has about 60 employees and a $4 million budget.

Martin said he doesn’t yet know if he’ll name a deputy clerk.

“I’m hoping to get a few days or a few weeks to learn the personnel,” he said.

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