Saratoga County’s Law and Finance Committee held its first meeting of the year last Wednesday, and it’s a very different-looking committee from a year ago.
The chairman and vice chairman of the powerful Board of Supervisors committee are people I wouldn’t have predicted a year ago, and three of the seven committee members are new.
Reading the tea leaves, it looks like the Hadley supervisor could become chairman of the board in 2016 — and become the first chairman from that tiny Adirondack town in more than 50 years. In coming years, Stillwater and Providence could also provide a board chairman for the first time in decades.
New Law and Finance Chairman Matthew Veitch of Saratoga Springs and Vice Chairman Arthur “Mo” Wright of Hadley are both assuming their positions sooner than anyone expected.
A year ago, the assumption was Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth would chair Law and Finance this year, under the county’s Republican-controlled rotating leadership system. She would then have chaired the Board of Supervisors in 2015.
But Wormuth resigned in November, citing health reasons — though perhaps her indictments on federal and state corruption charges had something to do with her departure.
So anyway, we now have Veitch — the son-in-law of former state senator Roy J. McDonald — heading Law and Finance this year, and expected to chair the Board of Supervisors in 2015.
Last Wednesday, he named Wright his vice chairman, and thus, heir-apparent to chair the committee in 2015, and lead the board in 2016.
The last chairman from Hadley — which sits at the confluence of the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers at the far northern edge of the county — was L. Taylor Smead in 1963. Hadley had fewer than 1,000 year-round residents at the time, and has barely 2,000 today.
So a supervisor from a small town can move up in county government, as long as they’re Republican. And being from a big town doesn’t hurt.
One vacancy on the committee was filled by Milton Supervisor Dan Lewza, whose town is definitely big — it has nearly 19,000 residents. Lewza has been supervisor for only two years.
The other new committee members are Ed Kinowski of Stillwater and John Collyer of Providence, both of whom outrank Lewza by seniority. Kinowski, a retired Air Force general who has picked up civilian political skills quickly, has been supervisor for four years. So has Collyer.
Also on Law and Finance Committee this year are Anita Daly of Clifton Park and Alan Grattidge of Charlton, the immediate past chairman of the county board.
The Law and Finance Committee acts as a clearing-house for all the county board’s monthly business, reviewing all resolutions from other committees for their financial impact before they go to the full board for final votes.
The committee, and the chairman in particular, also does the annual review of the following year’s county budget.