Martin Kelly is new chairman of County Legislature

Martin Kelly was elected Thursday at the Montgomery County Legislature’s annual organizational meeting after being nominated by outgoing Chairman Thomas Quackenbush.

Legislator Roy Dimond nominated colleague Barbara Wheeler to run against Kelly, but Wheeler turned it down, saying she didn’t think she had the votes to win the chairmanship. After she declined, legislators voted to make Kelly’s election unanimous.

As soon as Kelly was nominated, District 8 Legislator Joseph Isabel voiced his displeasure at the pre-election process.

“There are too many [political] deals being made, and I don’t like it,” Isabel said. Turning to Kelly, he asked, “Were any deals made to get you votes?”

Kelly said no. After the meeting, he said, “I understand [Isabel’s concern]. I didn’t make any phone calls.”

During the past year–the legislature’s first–Kelly was chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. He said that responsibility helped convince him and his fellow legislators that he could handle the chairmanship.

“As finance chair, I did my job,” he said, “My colleagues saw that I could take on another leadership role.”

Quackenbush nominated Wheeler to be Deputy Chair of the legislature, a position she also held in 2014. She was elected unanimously.

Kelly and Wheeler were the two legislators whose names were mentioned most often as potential chairs for 2015.

County Clerk Helen Bartone chaired the first part of the meeting, turning over the responsibility to Kelly once the election was over.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.