LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County Legislator Matthew Keller will resign effective Sunday to become deputy treasurer under his father, county Treasurer Joseph Keller.
Matthew Keller, a registered Conservative from Olean, was first elected in a special election, where he defeated an appointed legislator, Earl McElfresh, 18 months ago. He was one of three legislators elected from Olean under the 2015 redistricting.
Matthew Keller said he did not anticipate the series of events that unfolded recently.
First, deputy administrator Jeffrey VanDeCar announced his resignation at the end of June. Deputy Treasurer Kelly Reed was picked to succeed VanDeCar.
“That left a gap in that department,” Matthew Keller said. “It’s no secret that I planned to run for my dad’s job in four years.”
Joseph Keller, R-Olean, is unopposed in his re-election bid. He is running for his seventh four-year term.
“It offered an opportunity for a little on-the-job training,” Matthew Keller said. “Obviously the job interests me very much.”
Matthew Keller cited his master’s degree in business administration, experience in municipal accounting and knowledge of county finances over the past two years as evidence he is qualified for the deputy treasurer position.
Matthew Keller said it is somewhat bittersweet leaving the Legislature, where he is chairman of the Strategic Planning, Development and Agriculture, Finance and Labor Relations committees.
“I worked hard to get here — two times,” he said after his last legislative session Wednesday.
Several county lawmakers came up to wish him well after the meeting.
Matthew Keller’s resignation seems to have been timed to the political calendar. If he had decided to submit it earlier, political party members would have been able to circulate nominating petitions.
Today is the last day to submit petitions. Since there is currently no vacancy, the major political parties will select a candidate to run for Matthew Keller’s seat in the November election.
Under local law, however, the committee members of the political party the legislator belonged to get to recommend his successor.
Leonard Caros, chairman of the Cattaraugus County Conservative Party, said he expects members of the county Conservative Committee will recommend a successor to Matthew Keller after a vacancy is declared. The candidate would be expected to run for the remaining three years on his term.
One Democratic official, who asked not to be named, said Republicans wanted to avoid a primary for the seat between two Republicans who lost in the November race in District 8, which includes all of the city of Olean.
Of two former county legislators, the city’s Republican committee is said to favor Steven Teachman over Linda Edstrom.
Democrats are said to be leaning toward naming Adam Jester, a former Olean Common Council president, as their candidate in the special election in November.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)