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FORMER SULLIVAN COUNTY Clerk George Cooke, who recently resigned, will be replaced by one of the many hopefuls who have taken interest in the position.

County Clerk Position Draws Many Hopefuls

By Fred Stabbert III
MONTICELLO — January 23, 2007 — Sullivan County Democratic Election Commissioner Timothy Hill’s office is usually the busiest in October, just before the General Election in November. But with the recent resignation of County Clerk George Cooke and the expected opening on the Sullivan County legislature, Hill’s phone has been ringing off the hook.
Based on the Sullivan County Democratic Party’s recommendation, of which Tim Hill is chair, the Governor’s office will appoint a new County Clerk.
“There are several people in consideration for the County Clerk’s position and I will be meeting with new Democratic State Chairman June O’Neill and the Governor’s representatives this week to see how we are going to proceed,” Hill said yesterday afternoon.
So far the names of those interested in the position include:
• former Sullivan County Sheriff candidate Frank Armstrong;
• Fallsburg councilman Neil Gilberg;
• former Monticello manager and Thompson councilman Richard Sush, and
• Highland Town Clerk Doreen Hanson.
With Cooke’s resignation taking effect February 2, Hill said he hopes Governor Eliot Spitzer’s office will make the appointment as soon as possible.
“We do have a new governor, obviously, and although these items are big deals to us, I’m sure the lack of a State Comptroller is more pressing,” Hill said.
But with the high-level meeting with Democratic leaders on Thursday coupled with a Sullivan County Democratic committee Thursday night, Hill is hoping the process will be moved along quickly.
The appointment will run through December 31, 2007.
“Whoever is appointed to fill the vacancy will have to participate in the normal nomination process,” he said.
And whoever wins this November’s election for County Clerk will be elected to a full, four-year term.
Gaebel’s Post to Open
With the expected appointment next month of District 5 Legislator Rodney Gaebel as a Sullivan County Elections Commissioner, a vacancy will also exist on the nine-member board.
“That appointment will be made by the legislature itself,” Hill said.
According to Hill, the Democratic committee has historically asked the committee members from that legislative district to offer up a name for consideration.
And the District 5 Legislative appointee will also serve until December 31 of this year. The 4-year position will be up for grabs this November, as will the eight other seats on the legislature.

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