New alderman sworn into office in city

Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa, left, and Andrew Baaki watch as William Baaki, right, signs his name to officially be appointed as First Ward Alderman of Amsterdam's Common Council after the meeting on Monday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

AMSTERDAM — The city of Amsterdam Common Council passed the resolution appointing William Baaki to the Common Council as First Ward Alderman.

The city council and Mayor Michael Villa all congratulated and welcomed Baaki to the Common Council.

“Welcome aboard,” said Villa. “We face difficult times ahead especially with our budget deficit. I think he’s going to lend a fresh set of eyes.”

“It’s an honor,” Baaki said. “We moved here four years ago, fell in love with the area, fell in love with the city. The city has been so good for our family, so it’s an honor to serve and give back to the city that has given our family so much.”

Baaki was selected by the Montgomery County Republican Committee to fill in the vacancy of First Ward Alderman Edward Russo, who died the day after he won the election for the position.

Since Russo was a Republican, whoever filled the vacancy also had to be Republican.

“Our council has worked well together and I think he’ll fit right in,” Villa said. “It’s unfortunate circumstances that he takes this position.”

“It’s certainly sad circumstances to the extent that Alderman Russo was so loved by so many and did such a great job as the alderman; devoted so much of his life to county government and city government and our hearts really go out to his family,” Baaki said.

Baaki will serve as First Ward Alderman temporarily until a special election is held in November 2018 for the position. Whoever wins that election will serve the second year of the two-year term. Baaki also has the option to run for that election if he would like.

When it comes to running for the special election Baaki said, “To the extent that my hope is that I get the chance to meet and talk to as many of my First Ward neighbors and friends as possible and get to know as many of those I haven’t met yet, and if so willingly, I’d be glad to.”