Montgomery County town re-elects convicted sex offender to board
Thomas Yager was elected to the town board, then a convicted sex offender and still re-elected again in Montgomery County.
He stepped down from the Minden Town Board when he was arrested in June, so how was this possible?
The news that Yager was re-elected to office came as a surprise to Minden town officials. However, they say there wasn’t much they could do.
People in the town of Minden voted on Tuesday. There were two people on the ballot for the town board, running for two seats. Thomas Yager received 320 votes and Stephen Heiser received 530 votes.
"They still could have done a write-in, which there were several write-ins that were done, but not enough to override any one of the two candidates on the ballot," said Terrance Smith, the Republican commissioner for the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Yager is a convicted felon who is in jail. He was arrested in June. Gloversville police say he sexually abused a child when he worked as a bus monitor for the Fort Plain Central School District.
Yager was serving his second term when he arrested. He resigned from his second term and is serving five years in prison. However, months prior, he had filled a petition to run for a third term, so his name was put on the ballot.
"The first thing that went through my mind was do we take him off of the ballot," said Smith.
Minden Town Supervisor Cheryl Reese, contacted the Montgomery County Board of Elections to see if his name could be removed. They checked with state election officials. In New York, a convicted felon can run for office, but can’t hold office.
"We did contact the state, and the state told us he could not be taken off the ballot," said Terry Bieniek, the Montgomery County Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections.
Reese says she is working with the town attorney to get his name removed. They will be having a meeting on January 3.
"If he is not present for the organizational meeting, and he does not take his oath of office within 30 days of that meeting, then he would be removed from office," said Reese.
Reese says getting this issue resolved is important for the town. She says once the seat is vacant, she would like to fill it.