By Greg Klein STAFF WRITER
---- — It is three weeks before Election Day, but the village of Cooperstown is preparing for the possibility of Treasurer Ed Keator moving on to the County Treasurer’s position.
Keator is challenging incumbent Dan Crowell for Otsego County Treasurer on Nov. 5.
“From a village standpoint, we have to do the smart thing, which is to prepare for Ed to leave,” Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said. “To do nothing is not the smart thing.”
The village has been advertising for a Deputy Village Treasurer locally and on job boards. Filling the part-time position is also important to help the village upgrade its software system, Katz said.
“One thing that has been on our docket all year was rolling out new software,” Katz said. “The software we are running on is super, super old. It is maybe 10 or 12 years old. So it is something that the finance committee and Ed and I have been talking about all year.
“When we had our required audit in (the spring), the subject of the new software came up and we were told ‘just make sure you have continuity,’” Katz said. “I’m not sure if Ed had announced by then, but I think he was planning. So we knew that we had to get someone with some experience with software so that we could have continuity that way.”
The position is not in this year’s budget, but Katz’s said because it is part time it won’t be hard to move some money to fund it. If Keator loses to Crowell, it may be a short term job to help with the software. If Keator wins, and resigns from his current job to take over the county job at the start of 2014, then there will be money in the budget from his vacancy.
Katz said a Deputy Treasurer couldn’t directly step into the role of Treasurer; the position would have to be advertised and candidates would have to be interviewed. “It isn’t like a Vice President to President situation,” he said.
However Katz did point out that Keator had been Cooperstown’s Deputy Treasurer for a month in 2011 when Mary Ann Henderson left to take a similar position in Hamilton, and he was hired to replace her.
Katz said he would not comment on, or make any endorsement on the county position. Katz is a Democrat and Keator is a Republican, but they have worked together for the Cooperstown for nearly two years now, during Katz’s time as a trustee and as mayor.
“I have been waiting for someone to ask me that,” he said, “but officially I just want to say ‘no comment.’ I know Dan and the job that he has done for the county and I know Ed and the job he has done for the village. The most important thing for me is the village. If Ed leaves, then we will be prepared to make the transition.”
In 2009, Crowell became the first Democrat in memory to win an Otsego County-wide election, edging out Keator, 6,305 votes to 6,149.