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What you need to know for 01/19/2017

Committee OK’s Kosiur to fill Schenectady council seat

Committee OK’s Kosiur to fill Schenectady council seat

Ed Kosiur is likely to begin a second go-round as city councilman March 3 now that the City Developm

Ed Kosiur is likely to begin a second go-round as city councilman March 3 now that the City Development and Planning Committee on Tuesday night approved his nomination. The full City Council is expected to approve the appointment Monday.

His appointment would begin in just less than two weeks so he has time to wrap up other obligations, said council President Margaret King. Kosiur currently oversees Schenectady County’s youth programs and serves on the Schenectady City School District Board of Education. He is also president of the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association.

The Democratic City Committee voted earlier this month to recommend Kosiur to the council, but not enough council members were sure at the time they even wanted to fill the vacant seat before the November election. Kosiur will still have to win an election in November for a one-year term and then run again next year for a full, four-year term on the council.

The seat became vacant after Councilwoman Denise Brucker resigned in January after moving to Niskayuna. The council had toyed with the idea of not appointing someone to the empty seat and letting voters decide in November, but the council had been operating with just six active members since well before Brucker’s resignation — after Councilwoman Barbara Blanchard had a stroke in August 2012 — and has come up against several tie votes on controversial issues because of the even-numbered governing body.

Councilman Vince Riggi, the only non-Democrat on the council, had proposed leaving the seat vacant so voters could have their say in the fall, and Councilwoman Marion Porterfield wanted to see someone new in the seat. But others were eager to see it filled after operating as a six-person body for so long.

City Attorney John Polster said the council had to appoint someone to the seat before the election because of a line in the City Charter that said the council “shall appoint a qualified person to fill such vacancy,” adding that use of the word “shall” leaves the council no discretion on the matter.

Kosiur’s name made the shortlist for the open seat even before Brucker formally resigned. As a councilman in the early 2000s and a county legislator until 2007, he has been considered a leading contender for the job. Mayor Gary McCarthy openly backed his appointment, calling him an “ideal member” because of his history in politics.

In 2008, Kosiur started a high-paying county job that some argued was tailor-made for him as a consolation prize for losing a run for state Assembly to Republican George Amedore, Jr. The job, which he currently holds, was the county’s first-ever assistant to the commissioner of social services for youth development. He earned about $85,000 last year.

Kosiur was elected to a vacant seat on the Schenectady school board in May 2013. He will have to resign that post to serve on the council.

A number of former City Council appointees have gone on to win election to their seats.

Other names that were floated for the vacant seat included Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Association President Mohammed Hafez, state Comptroller’s Office employee Robert Barnes and Republican Joseph Lazzari, who was always a longshot because of his party affiliation.

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