#AlbanyCountyComptrollers #MichaelConners #Election #SpotlightNews
ALBANY — County Comptroller Michael Conners will not seek a seventh term in office, the soon-to-be 70-year-old announced on Monday, Sept. 17.
“The election for this critically important position is only a little under 14 months away, with the all-important primary in less than one year,” Conners said in a statement. “I believe that early notification is in the public’s interest so that many people might consider seeking the best position in county government.”
Conners called the comptroller the “people’s last refuge” in the “hurly burly of county government” and has butted heads with those in power from mayors to county executives to school boards and officials.
His last high-profile stand came in 2016 when he spearheaded an effort to get a referendum approving a $180 million Albany High School renovation project overturned.
Despite his best efforts, the petition asking the state Education Department to nullify the vote was denied.
In 2004, Conners, a steadfast Democrat switched political parties so he could run for a seat in the state held by Neil Breslin.
At the time, Neil Breslin’s brother Mike was county executive and Conners more often than not sided with Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings against the Breslin brothers during one of Albany’s most famous, and longest running, power struggles.
Neil Breslin won the election handily.
Conners was elected Albany County Comptroller in 1995.
Major accomplishments he readily points to include spearheading reforms at the Capital Region OTB, saving more than $34 million in debt service at the Albany International Airport and has been a vocal advocate for keeping the Albany County Nursing Home under public ownership.
Before becoming comptroller, he was an Albany County legislator from 1992 to 1995 and before than he was the City of Albany Public Works Commissioner and treasurer of the Albany Municipal Finance Water Authority.
Conners father, Richard, was an eight-term member of the state Assembly where he earned the nickname “Dean of the Assembly.”
In all he spent some five decades embroiled in Albany politics, many of them during the tenure of storied Albany Mayor Erastus Corning.
“Public service has been in our family’s blood since we came to America four generations ago,” he said.
Who is running to replace Conners is an open question but given the enrollment in Albany County, it will likely be a Democrat.
“There are several people in the Department of Audit and Control who would be excellent comptrollers and I urge them to consider the opportunity,” Conners said in a statement. “I have reached out to several people outside of local government to consider making the run for comptroller. The next several months should be quite interesting.”