Zoning board chairman to be new Niskayuna town attorney

Hess replaces newly elected justice Scagnelli

Thursday, January 9, 2014
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— A local man was named Thursday night as the new head attorney for the town of Niskayuna, replacing the previous attorney who won, a spot as town justice.

The Town Board also appointed a second new police officer at its regular meeting. That officer, along with one appointed last month, will attend the police academy starting next week.

Named as the new town attorney was Niskayuna resident Robert E. Hess. Hess, 49, has been in private practice since 1993. He is currently a partner in the Guilderland law firm Sullivan, Hess and Youngblood.

“He’s a very good choice,” town Supervisor Joe Landry said after the meeting, noting Hess’ experience in municipal law and previous work with the town on the Zoning Board of Appeals “He’s also a town resident, and he’s been very active in the community.”

Hess’ private practice has focused mainly on real estate, contracts and estate planning.

The part-time town position has a salary of about $25,000, Landry said. Hess joins two deputy town attorneys, Matthew Miller, a full-time employee, and Paul Briggs, who works part-time. Both Miller and Briggs were reappointed Thursday night.

The town attorney serves as head legal adviser to the town and the Town Board.

Hess has been chairman of the town Zoning Board of Appeals for the last few years and has been a member of that board for more than five years. He resigned that post to take the town attorney position.

Hess succeeds Peter Scagnelli, who won election in November as town justice and assumed the post Jan. 1.

Also Thursday night, the board appointed Carlton T. Kuhlmeier Jr. as the town’s newest police officer. Kuhlmeier is to enter the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Academy next week. He has worked for the town as a dispatcher.

Kuhlmeier is one of two new Niskayuna police officers entering the academy. The other, Ian C. Munger, formerly an officer in Maine, was appointed and sworn in at the board’s meeting last month.

Also Thursday night, the board reappointed Comptroller Paul Sebesta and Highway Superintendent Frank Gavin to two-year terms. Kevin Walsh was also reappointed as Planning Board chairman.

Taking Hess’ spot on the Zoning Board of Appeals is local attorney John Hoke. William McPartlon was appointed ZBA chairman.

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