On Monday, Montgomery County Legislators selected Democrat Robert Purtell of Amsterdam to replace District 9 Legislator Alexander Kuchis, a Republican, who resigned because his new employment could present a potential conflict of interest. Kuchis has accepted a position with an accounting firm that provides audit services for Montgomery County.
The change gives the Democrats a 6-3 majority on the Legislature.
Purtell ran against Kuchis last year for the District 9 position on the new County Legislature, losing the election by fewer than 40 votes.
“It made sense to give Bob [Purtell] the position,” Legislature Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said in offering Purtell’s name for consideration.
District 7 Legislator Barbara Wheeler proposed an amendment replacing Purtell’s name with that of Andrew Caddell, who Quackenbush said had called him asking to be considered for the position. District 8 Legislator Joseph M. Isabel seconded the amendment, but it was defeated by a 4-3 vote. Isabel, Wheeler and District 4 Legislator Ryan Weitz voted for the amendment. Legislators Martin Kelly from District 1, Roy Dimond from District 3, Terry Bieniek from District 5 and John M. Duchessi from District 6 voted against it. Quackenbush abstained.
After the amendment failed, legislators agreed to support Purtell unanimously. He will serve until an election is held in 2015, at which time he could be a candidate for a full term.
Purtell is a real estate agent with Century 21 Purtell Realty and a member of the Montgomery County ARC board of directors. Those two positions give him experience in dealing with large budgets and in bringing business to Montgomery County, he said.
As for other qualities he can bring to the legislature, he cited “sensibility, common sense and energy.”
After Monday’s meeting, Purtell said he had “a lot of homework to do,” referring to the adoption of the 2015 budget.