As Pam Helming prepares for the state Senate, the Town Board prepares for the next supervisor
CANANDAIGUA — Several weeks after a grueling primary and general elections campaign, Canandaigua Town Supervisor Pam Helming traveled to Albany last week for what she calls “new employee training.”
Helming last month was elected to the 54th state Senate seat, replacing longtime state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette.
For Helming, no limo ride and no “Beamers,” which she said she saw buzzing about Albany’s city streets. She was dropped off at the steps of the Capitol building by her husband Gary in his pickup truck.
Helming is approaching this, as she said she did when she first started with the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals in 1992, as a job to do.
“I was concerned about the direction the town was going to go,” said Helming, who is completing her third year as supervisor, during a reception in her honor at Town Hall on Monday.
“Fast forward to this year, and I feel the same way about the state,” Helming said. “We can all get caught up in the ethics reform and the legislative pay increases and all that, but the bottom line is, it’s about the people and what the people need.”
Helming will leave town office Dec. 31; her final regularly scheduled Town Board meeting was Monday night, at which she was praised and recognized amid completing some end-of-the-year town business.
But as many are saying goodbye, others are asking, who will the next supervisor be? That won’t be answered until 2017 and most likely not until the board’s Jan. 9 meeting.
The board has options for the job, which will pay $56,000 in 2017.
The board could allow the deputy supervisor — who is current Town Councilman Greg Westbrook — to assume the supervisor’s roles and duties. Or, the board could appoint an interim supervisor.
By appointing someone supervisor, that person also would be able to serve on and be a voting member of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
Although Helming’s last official day is approaching, there is no urgent need for the board to appoint someone as her replacement on Jan. 1, according to Town Attorney Derek Brocklebank.
“We want it to be a measured approach,” Brocklebank said.
The town is accepting letters of interest and resumes, which can be sent to Town Clerk Jean Chrisman. And there is interest, according to Town Councilman Keith Cutri.
“We do have names,” Cutri said.
However the seat is filled, someone will have to run for the office next year, in order to serve a full, four-year term beginning in 2018. And whoever that person is, he or she will have big shoes to fill, according to Director of Development Doug Finch, who called Helming “the hardest working supervisor” he has worked with and one who attracted the notice of others for it.
Helming was recognized for her town service by the offices of Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and Nozzolio himself. Helming’s colleagues also approved a resolution of appreciation for what she has done for the town.
Helming deflected praise, saying fellow members of the Town Board, staff and citizens contributed to any success she had.
“We’ve worked really, really well together as a team,” Helming said.
Helming also was presented a frame with photos of her and her husband and, of course, Canandaigua Lake and farm scenes — things Helming stands for, Westbrook said. The hope is both the frame and resolution would be placed in her Albany office.
Westbrook said you always have to call a place home.
“I hope you always call Canandaigua home,” Westbrook said.
Helming said she is truly excited about the new opportunity.
“To me, it’s basically doing the same job I’ve been doing since ’92, just on a larger scale,” Helming said.
State Senator-elect Pam Helming will be sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. A local ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Ontario County Courthouse in Canandaigua.
Helming, who will continue as Canandaigua town supervisor until Dec. 31, will retain the district office kept by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio in Seneca Falls, Seneca County.