QUEENSBURY-Local high school business teacher Michael O'Keefe picked up the endorsement for county treasurer from the Warren CountyDemocratic Committee at its June 1 meeting.
O'Keefe is the son of Frank O'Keefe, who has announced his intent to retire at the year's end, following 12 years in the county treasurer's post. Now, Frank said he fully supports his son's candidacy for the four-year position.
Dennis Tarantino, Michael's campaign manager, said he's got the intelligence and the resolve to thrive in the treasurer's seat.
"He's got the intelligence,"Tarantino said. "He's got the ability to learn the position."
The younger O'Keefe has spent the past 15 years teaching business courses at Fort Edward High School. He holds a bachelor's degree from SUNY Geneseo in business management and a master's degree in teaching.
While he has never held elected office, Michael said he has held the private office of president of the Glen Lake Protective Association, a volunteer organization of roughly 200 members.
That experience has helped ready him for an elected post, he said.
If elected, Michael said he would resign his teaching position.
"There's not enough time in the daylight hours to do both (jobs)," he said.
Tarantino said Michael has learned a lot relevant to the position on his own, but acknowledged he will need some on the job training as well, most likely with guidance from his father.
Frank is "under no obligation to pick up the phone and talk about the treasurer position,"Tarantino said. "But you know damn well he will."
The endorsement of the Warren County Democratic Committee was recommended by the Queensbury Democratic Committee, which also endorsed him, Michael said.
"It feels good to have people who are supporting me," Michael said.
The Warren County treasurer, while not a policy maker, handles $35 million annually and manages an office of 11 people, according to Tarantino. The position paid $88,416.90 in 2011.
The elder O'Keefe said the office had seen gains under his three-term leadership. Income investment had improved, Frank said, so all monies are invested instead of laying dormant, maximizing returns for the county.
Frank said he helped implement a county-wide occupancy tax, which he said has brought in $21 million since its introduction.
That is the type of track record he hopes will continue under his son's leadership, Frank said.
Michael will be making many public appearances, meeting with business associations and hearing voters' concerns, Tarantino said.
"I want him to meet people wherever he can," Tarantino said. "We're just getting off the ground. We've got a long time between now and election day."