QUEENSBURY -- Bipartisanship was the theme of the day Tuesday, as Ron Montesi was appointed Queensbury Supervisor by a unanimous vote of his colleagues on the Town Board — two Republicans and one Democrat.
“Queensbury is a good place to live and a great place to raise a family,” said Montesi, in his acceptance speech.
Montesi, a Republican, will serve through 2013 to fill the remaining year of the term of former Supervisor Dan Stec, who took office in the state Assembly later Tuesday.
In his first action as supervisor, Montesi appointed 3rd Ward Councilman John Strough, a Democrat, as deputy supervisor. He said that shows the type of cooperation needed in the state Legislature and Congress.
“We will have a bipartisan board in Queensbury, and it will start with me,” said Montesi, who has more than a quarter-century of experience in local, county and state government.
Montesi said improving relations with Glens Falls will be a priority, starting with a plan he will present soon to the Queensbury Recreation Commission and Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond to establish walking and bicycle trails on city-owned watershed land in the town.
“It is my desire to establish a warmer and friendly relationship with our neighbors in Glens Falls and work for the betterment of both communities,” he said. “The mayor and I see one another at least three times a week at the Y, and in a small way have something in common. I hope we can build on that.”
Another goal will be to have no general fund tax rate increase in the 2014 budget, he said.
Montesi would not elaborate on his watershed plan during a brief interview after Tuesday’s meeting. He said he wants to brief Diamond on details of the plan before he shares it publicly.
Diamond, a Democrat who attended Montesi’s swearing-in ceremony, said recreational use of the watershed property would be “a good starting point” for discussion of improved relations.
“If we want to resolve some of these issues that are pending out there, we need to sit down and talk,” he said. “I think Mr. Montesi brings a lot of energy.”
The city and town recently settled a lawsuit over billing for sewage treatment of Queensbury wastewater at the city’s treatment plant.
Two other lawsuits are pending in state Supreme Court — one over the town’s zoning of the watershed land and another over the town’s assessment of the city’s dams.
Later Tuesday, state Supreme Court Justice David Krogmann alluded to the lawsuits in remarks at Stec’s Assembly swearing-in ceremony.
“I was hoping that Ron might be here because I saw the mayor here, and I thought maybe after the ceremony we could retire to chambers and settle some of those cases,” Krogmann quipped. “But that will be for another day and another celebration.”
At the earlier town ceremony, Stec, the outgoing supervisor, issued the oath of office to Montesi.
Stec said he is confident the town has good leadership.
“I know that the town is in very, very good hands with the four of you,” he said, referring to Montesi, Strough, 1st Ward Councilman Tony Metivier and 4th Ward Councilman Tim Brewer.
“Ron, I wish you the best. ... The corporate memory is in place. And I believe the town isn’t going to miss a beat this year,” Stec said.
Strough, the new deputy supervisor, said he looks forward to 2013.
“Ron, I’ll be here to help as much as you need me,” he said.
Strough, a Democrat, has already announced his candidacy for supervisor in November.
Montesi, a Republican, has said he might run, if he finds out he likes the job.
Two other Republicans — Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott and former at-Large Supervisor Bill VanNess, have said they are considering campaigns for the seat.
Montesi also announced several town staff changes Tuesday:
* Director of Wastewater Mike Shaw will retire around the end of January but will remain with the town temporarily as a part-time consultant. Chris Harrington will be the new director.
* Victoria LaMarque will be the new supervisor’s secretary, replacing Leesa Stiller, who is leaving to work on Stec’s Assembly district office staff.
* Laura Moore was hired as town planner, replacing Keith Oborne, who resigned.