Six elected officials took the oath of office in Bethlehem Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 28.
Four were re-elected: Highway Superintendent Gregg Sagendorph, Reciever of Taxes Nancy Mendick, Town Clerk Kathleen Newkirk and Town Justice Paul Dwyer.
All were sworn in by Town Judge Ryan Donovan, whose height prompted Sagendorph to stand on phone books to look eye-to-eye with him.
Mark Hennessey was sworn in as town board member.
Supervisor Jack Cunningham, appointed to the office when former supervisor Theresa Egan left to become a deputy commissioner at the Department of Motor Vehicles earlier this year, took the oath of office for his first elected term.
Thanks and commitment to community were the themes of theday, although Sagendorph couldn’t resist another joke at Donovan’s expense.
I know there are more Democrats than Republicans in town now, said Sagendorph, a Republican, after asking Donovan, a Democrat, to stand. `But, golly gee, do you have to grow them so big?`
Sagendorph thanked his staff, his family, and his life partner, Julie McNeil, who works in the town clerk’s office.
Mendick and Newkirk, also Republicans, were very brief in their thanks, and Dwyer, a Democrat, paid tribute to the town police department and the court staff.
Hennessey, a Democrat who works in the state Assembly, acknowledge a string of events that led him to the people who put him in the position of town board member. He thanked his wife, Carie, and two children, John and Elsa.
`Politics is the calculus by which governments emerge,` he said. `I look forward to the future.`
Cunningham also thanked supporters and family.
`I cannot say how much of a privilege it is to serve as town supervisor,` he said.
Cunningham follows Egan as the second Democrat supervisor in about 150 years. He touted the accomplishments since Democrats took leadership, in particular the comprehensive plan passed in 2005.
`It provided a clear direction for growth and a vision for our town,` Cunningham said. `The comprehensive zoning plan that followed will direct how and where Bethlehem will grow, and become the pre-eminent community in Tech Valley. ‘
Cunningham touched on a number of future plans, among them open space preservation, enhanced pedestrian connections, farmland protection, and looking to reduce the cost of government.
He said that in the coming month, `Bethlehem 2020` will be announced, which will involve the formation of a committee to examine how town government must evolve to meet the needs of the community.
Both Cunningham and town board member Sam Messina, who served as master of ceremonies, paid tribute to those who ran and lost.
`There are many ways to serve,` Messina said. `Our community is stronger because of your involvement.
`We are 54 square miles and about 34,000 people,` Messina said. `We’re small, but we have a chance to set an example. If we listen to our conscience, Bethlehem will be a wonderful place to be.`
Elected after being appointed to the town board, Joann Dawson was away on vacation. “