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Constantine to be appointed to emergency management position

March 9, 2009
Updated 4:38 p.m.
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— Majority Democrats in the Schenectady County Legislature plan to appoint Thomas P. Constantine as director of emergency management Tuesday night.

Constantine was one of three people interviewed for the position, which was posted on the Schenectady County Web site and in local media, said county spokesman Joe McQueen.

Constantine was a top contender for the vacant position of Schenectady County sheriff until he was knocked out, going so far as to change his party membership from Republican to Democrat.

Democrats are instead endorsing Rotterdam police Lt. Dominick Dagostino, a Conservative and the son of prominent Democratic county legislator Judith Dagostino, vice chairwoman of the county Legislature.

Judith Dagostino’s term on the Legislature expires this year. She represents Rotterdam, a Republican stronghold. Party sources said she wanted Democrats to endorse her son in return for her seeking reelection.

The endorsement also locks in support of the local Conservative Party for Judith Dagostino. Judith Dagostino needs the local party’s support in her bid for re-election in the always-contentious county Legislature races in District 4, which comprises Rotterdam, Princetown and Duanesburg.

Conservatives already support Dominick Dagostino’s bid for the seat formerly held by Harry Buffardi, a Democrat. Buffardi resigned Feb. 27 to become a full-time professor in criminal sciences at Schenectady County Community College.

Democrat leaders deny the quid quo pro.

Randy Pascarella, local Conservative Party chairman, said the party would have support Judith Dagostino regardless of whether Dominick Dagostino ran for office.

“We would definitively endorse Judy in District 4, but we have not seen the slate of candidates from the Democrats yet. We have endorsed her every time, and it has nothing to do with Dom Dagostino,” Pascarella said.

Pascarella also denied any “back-room deals” in which the Conservative Party is promising to endorse Democratic candidates carte blanche in November.

The Conservative Party is seeking the Schenectady County Republican Committee’s endorsement for Dagostino as well. Republicans are not expected to announce their endorsement in the county sheriff’s race until after the March 31 special election for the 20th Congressional District. Republican James Tedisco and Democrat Scott Murphy are facing off for the seat.

Local Republicans are putting all their energies into getting Tedisco elected, Pascarella said.

County Legislator Joe Suhrada, R-Rotterdam, called Constantine’s appointment “a payoff for [Democrats’] knocking him out of the sheriff’s position. They had to keep him quiet after sacking him. They promised him a real job and they obviously delivered on the taxpayer buck.”

Robert Farley, R-Niskayuna, said he believes Constantine is a capable person and a talented man. “I think he will do a good job in that position and he will work hard for the county,” Farley said. “I will speak [on his behalf] on the floor on that.”

Constantine had no immediate comment on his appointment. The position of director of emergency management has been vacant since William VanHoesen retired last year. The position’s salary is $60,725 in the 2009 budget.

Constantine is a retired detective with the Niskayuna police department. He will have to obtain a waiver from the pension system to collect the county salary, officials said.

According to a memo to county legislators, he has complementary experience as a fire commissioner for Niskayuna Fire District 1. “The combination of both law enforcement and fire response background within Schenectady County provides a breadth of experience that is well suited to the issues of the Office of Emergency Management,” said County Manager Kathleen Rooney.

 
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comments

March 9, 2009
11:50 a.m.

More patronage at the expense of the county taxpayers.

March 9, 2009
11:51 a.m.

Let us see how quickly Mr. Constantine will lose his new appointed positions if he switches his enrollment back to Republican.

March 9, 2009
11:59 a.m.
resident says...

Look, the business of Emergency Mangement is to critical to leave to the Politicians, The role of Emergency Managers is to understand based on experience and to implement Emergency Policies. Its time to remove individuals who lack experience but relie on political connections.... It is another dad day in Schenectady....

March 9, 2009
12:15 p.m.
Warm says...

This is Schenectady, $60,000 means $1.7 million with overtime.

March 9, 2009
12:42 p.m.

I can't speak to Constantine's qualifications. But, the role of political connections in filling this position is obvious and disconcerting to me. And, Democrats have the gall to deny Quid Pro Quo?

There is no place in our county budget for political patronage.

Lastly, this report substantiates claims of those who challenged the present leadership of the Conservative party for control last year that the Democrats and the Conservatives are conspiring to elect Democratic candidates to county office.

March 9, 2009
12:50 p.m.
harolds says...

He sounds like the perfect candidate for this position with his strong background in both police and fire. I guess some of you rather hire a Republican hack that delivers newspapers for a living!

March 9, 2009
1:20 p.m.
harolds says...

"Lastly, this report substantiates claims of those who challenged the present leadership of the Conservative party for control last year that the Democrats and the Conservatives are conspiring to elect Democratic candidates to county office."

Oh yea, appointing a well qualified candidate to an exsisting vacant position is definitely a political conspiracy..... give me a break. It's obvious you have some sort of an agenda "view from the right". Certainly at least a political agenda!

March 9, 2009
2:05 p.m.

harolds,

What does the course of events say to you?

Constantine switches enrollment from Republican party to Democratic party with promise of Democratic endorsement for Sheriff. Constantine candidacy for Sheriff dismissed by Democratic party who instead choose Conservative Dagostino with promise from his mother that she will run for reelection to the County Legislature on the Democratic line. Constantine is awarded a lucrative position in county government.

No principles, no conviction in beliefs, just more of the same old political donkey crap.

March 9, 2009
2:17 p.m.

"I guess some of you rather hire a Republican hack that delivers newspapers for a living!"

BTW, to who are you referring?

March 9, 2009
2:31 p.m.
harolds says...

I'm referring to any individual would have a (r) next to their party registration. An appointment is being made to an individual that has the right background and experience for the position. Please name a better candidate who is interested in the position.

I don't care if a person is a dem or repub but lets hire quality individuals who are right for the job. In my opinion, that is exactly what is happening here and others want to call it a comspiracy without proof.

The question to me is, is he the right person for the job? There's no doubt in my mind that he is and I'm waiting for someone to name one candidate who was or is interested in the position who has better qualifications. I won't hold my breath.....

March 9, 2009
3:21 p.m.

harolds,

It would be nice if we, the residents of Schenectady county, were provided information regarding if and when the position was posted, who expressed interest and/or interviewed, and what the documented requirements are for the position.

Though Constantine may be a good man and, based on your assessment, qualified for the job, his appointment will look political without this disclosure.

The reporter went to great lengths in his news story to describe the political ties.

March 9, 2009
11:07 p.m.
harolds says...

"Constantine was one of three people interviewed for the position, which was posted on the Schenectady County Web site and in local media, said county spokesman Joe McQueen."

Sounds to me like it was correctly posted and all qualified candidates were interviewed. I don't see anything wrong with the process and I don't subscribe to the political nonsense listed. Lets look at qualifications and quality of the individual, what else matters?

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