Wanted: Someone to lead the Schenectady County Democratic Party.
That someone could be Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry.
Landry has emerged as a top candidate to be the next chairman of the county Democrats after Brian Quail’s resignation Wednesday.
Quail, an influential party leader who became chairman in spring 2006, resigned to become deputy counsel to the state Board of Elections. He succeeds Paul Collins, who retired in June.
“I regarded it as an excellent new opportunity,” said Quail, who will also leave his job as the Democratic commissioner of the Schenectady County Board of Elections.
Landry, after praising Quail’s contributions, said party members knew he was being considered for the state Board of Elections job and that his taking the job would require him to resign as party chairman.
Landry also said he would be interested in leading the county Democrats.
“I have been having some preliminary discussion with some other people, and I’m sort of encouraged by what I’m hearing, but that’s a little ways off,” he said. “Right now, I want to thank Brian for everything he’s done for us and wish him the best of luck.”
He added: “He’s managed to work with all individuals and he’s done a great job of bringing the party together and leading us to where we are today.”
County Attorney Chris Gardner said Landry would be up to the role of party chairman.
“It’s a big undertaking, and Joe is probably one of the most organized people in the world,” he said, “so I think he’ll be able to do a very, very good job.”
Gardner also offered Quail his praise.
“Eight years is a long time to be a party chairman,” said Gardner, who himself served as the chairman for eight years previously, “and he has just shown a remarkable ability to get people to work together.
“I think part of his legacy is that he’s built some structure that will continue to be in place after he leaves.”
Quail has served as a county Board of Elections commissioner since 2006, and said he will be leaving that job sometime after the Tuesday primary.
He said he was appointed to the new job by the state Board of Elections but a start date has not been determined. It’s “fair to say” that he will not be working for the county Board of Elections by the Nov. 4 election, he said.
Quail’s start date will be largely up to him, said Thomas Connolly, a state Board of Elections spokesman. As a deputy counsel to the state Board of Elections, Quail will deal with litigation matters and help with the oversight of campaign finance disclosure, among other issues.
“We’re looking to get him on board as soon as we can, but obviously, being the elections commissioner of Schenectady County, he has to do whatever he has to do to wrap up his work there,” Connolly said.
Quail, who earns just over $90,000 a year as a county Board of Elections commissioner, will earn somewhere between $84,010 and $106,162, Connolly said.
Gardner wished Quail well in the new job. “He is one of the finest attorneys I know and a great election lawyer, so this is kind of a new professional challenge for him,” he said. “So we’re happy for Brian on a personal level, but we’ll miss him on a personal level as well.”