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County appointee tied to political contributions

Those involved in the selection of a recent college graduate to become the new director of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter on Tuesday defended their recommendation.

Christina M. Abele of Halfmoon is 22, and her father’s development company has donated thousands of dollars over the past decade to local Republican coffers — but supervisors who selected her over 61 other candidates said that didn’t get her the job.

A full story on the recommendation can be found HERE.

The Personnel Committee last week recommended Abele for the $62,413-a-year job running the Milton shelter, which has five full-time and seven part-time employees, as well as dozens of volunteers. It takes in stray, abandoned and surrendered dogs and cats, and has an active program to find new homes for them.

Abele was selected from among 62 applicants for shelter director, 10 of whom were interviewed by a selection committee. The candidates included three current animal shelter employees, who were interviewed before the process was opened to other candidates.

Her father, Chris, is a partner in Abele Builders of Halfmoon, a major developer in town. He or his company has donated $12,750 to Halfmoon Republican candidates or organizations since 2005, including $5,250 in the past three years.

Recent political contributions are available below.

Halfmoon town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth, as chairman of the board’s Public Safety Committee, was on the interview committee. Her campaign treasury received $1,500 from Abele Builders in 2007-08 and $1,000 from Abele Limited Partnership in 2011, according to political donation filings. There are no more recent donations, Wormuth said.

But the Halfmoon Republican Committee and Halfmoon Republican Club, which have both gotten money from Abele, have donated to Wormuth.

“I speak to her father on a regular basis about projects in town, but I have not spoken to him about this job or about Christina,” Wormuth said. “It never weighed on my mind.”

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Abele Contributions by DailyGazette

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