Officials eye next board chairman

JOHNSTOWN – Mayfield Supervisor Rick Argotsinger may end up being chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors next year, with the recent election loss of originally-intended chairman, Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper.

Chairmen of the county board serve one full year.

Kemper is currently serving as vice chairwoman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors for 2013. The vice chair of the board usually always serves the following year as chairman. But Kemper lost her re-election bid Nov. 5 to longtime Northville Mayor James Groff.

Johnstown 4th Ward Supervisor William Waldron, current 2013 chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, said Monday that Argotsinger may be tapped to take Kemper’s chairman vacancy next year.

“I believe as far as chairman of the board next year, Rick Argotsinger probably will be assuming that role,” Waldron said. “But I can’t guarantee that at this point and time.”

Reached at home today, Argotsinger said if asked, he would “probably” be interested to serve as county chairman.

“We haven’t had a caucus yet,” he said. “We don’t know how anyone’s feelings are.”

Tenure-wise, he noted there are three supervisors ahead of him – Ephratah Supervisor Todd Bradt, Oppenheim Supervisor George Capek and Stratford Supervisor Robert Johnson Jr.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Friday that “traditionally” for about 70 years, the board follows specific method as to where the next chairman comes from. Not only is it usually the vice chairman who becomes chairman, but a specific municipal order is followed.

Stead said the board chairman follows a tenure list and the succession is: one city of Gloversville supervisor, followed by one city of Johnstown supervisor, followed by two years of town supervisors, and then back to the cities. He said the next in line is usually the longest-tenured supervisor who hasn’t served yet as board chairman.

Since the board currently has 17 Republicans, as opposed to three Democrats, the Republican component usually decides informally in a social gathering sometime in December to finalize who the next chairman will be.

The final selection isn’t formally made until the county’s organizational meeting, usually conducted in early January.

For 2014, with Kemper out, the list of supervisors from the other 10 towns who can be chairman – based on the traditional way the appointment is handled – appears fairly short.

Bleecker Supervisor David Howard and Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan have already served as chairmen. Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo was defeated by Thomas Christopher.

Of the remaining supervisors, Bradt would be next in line after Kemper. Next year will be his 13th as a supervisor.

Although Bradt doesn’t want to publicly state his intentions at this point, Waldron said Bradt’s “not interested.”

Argotsinger has served as Mayfield supervisor since February 2009, when he was appointed to the job after then-Supervisor Alan “Herb” McLain died.

Argotsinger isn’t the next longest-tenured in line to be chair after Bradt. Capek started in 2008 and Johnson has been on the board several years. Caroga Supervisor Ralph Ottuso and Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean both started in 2012.

But Waldron said the tradition Stead alluded to is a mere “guideline” and the board can choose whom it wants based on who is interested, logistics and ability to do the job.

“We sort of talk to the other people,” Waldron said.

He said the chairman’s job can be very hectic.

“You sign so many papers, it’s unbelievable,” Waldron said.