Now serving as Warren County Budget Officer, Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty is expected to move into the post of county Board of Supervisors Chairman — when the present county chairman Dan Stec ascends Jan. 2 to represent the area in the state Assembly.
With Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec elected Nov. 6 to the state Assembly, he’ll be vacating his post of chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty is expected to move into this high-profile role as the county’s top political leader.
Geraghty now serves as the county Budget Officer, and for decades, it has been traditional for the supervisor serving in that post to be drafted as chairman when the chairmanship is vacant.
Geraghty has served as county budget officer for six years, a tenure that required him to draft spending plans during the economic collapse and its aftermath of widespread financial distress among municipalities.
This meant Geraghty had to craft budgets during a time that county government revenues dwindled, yet demand for services spiraled. He also had to keep Warren County solvent despite a depleted fund balance — a dilemma he inherited. During his tenure as county Budget Officer, the county’s financial reserves have been bolstered dramatically.
Last March, Geraghty declared he was seeking the post of county Board of Supervisors Chairman, and since then, no other candidates have emerged.
But Geraghty remained cautious this week about whether he’d have any competition for the position.
“Although I don’t expect to be challenged, nothing’s a given,” he said. “It’s a decision of the full board, and I hope my colleagues would think I earned their trust.”
Apparently, he has.
In recent weeks, Geraghty’s expertise in budgeting and his knowledge of the county’s vast operations have prompted praise from other county supervisors.
Geraghty has been credited for slashing county expenses and downsizing the size of government in response to the U.S. economy’s problems.
But Geraghty deferred credit to the other board members for a series of budgets that have featured the lowest series of tax increases in perhaps a half-century.
“We’ve had big fiscal challenges, particularly in 2009, and we’ve recovered pretty well,” he said. “However, it took 20 members of the board to make the decisions to put the county on the right track.”
If Geraghty indeed attains the post in January as many expect, it which would be the first time in a half-century the town of Warrensburg had such political clout.
The selection of board chairman is a choice made in a caucus of the supervisors representing the majority political party, and in recent history, that’s been the Republicans. The caucus is traditionally held in December.
Geraghty said this week that if chosen to lead the county, he would carry forward his fiscally conservative approach.
“We continue to face financial challenges, and the issues are complicated,” he said. “Warren County supervisors, like others across the state, will have to have to deal with the changing role of county governments.”
If Geraghty moves into the county chairmanship as expected, Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, a Republican who’s been in office nine years, is expected to take on the county Budget Officer post.
With Stec’s ascension into the state Assembly, his post as Queensbury town supervisor will be up for an appointment by the town board, as Stec has one year left on his latest term.
Expressing interest in the position of Queensbury’s political leader have been town G.O.P. Chairman and former county Supervisor-at-Large William Van Ness, town board member and deputy town supervisor Ron Montesi, and county supervisor-at-large Mark Westcott, who also serves as an aide to U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson — all Republicans — and long-time Queensbury Board member John Strough, a Democrat.