CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Longtime community volunteer and 10-year Town Councilman Jim Romano last week submitted a letter of resignation from his seat on the Town Board bringing an end to nearly 30 years of service to the community.
The low key Romano made no public announcement of his decision preferring instead to submit a letter of resignation to the Town Clerk on Aug. 18. In the letter he announced his intention to resign from the Board effective Oct. 1 in order to spend more time with his family.
A solid community volunteer over the decades, Romano, 69, has served as both a leader and mentor to members of numerous town committees and community organizations since 1984.
In a statement on the resignation, supervisor Philip Barrett wished Romano, his wife Donna, and their family well in the future and noted that the results of Romano’s hard work will continue to benefit the town for many years.
“Councilman Jim Romano’s contributions to our community are numerous over decades of public service,” Barrett said. “He has assisted the Town’s efforts to establish priorities and successfully executed comprehensive planning efforts in many facets of Town operations.
"Thank you Jim for your years of service to the Town of Clifton Park.”
In discussing his decision earlier this week Romano said after working 32 years for Niagara Mohawk (later National Grid) and five more for New York Independent System Operator he could sense “it was time”.
“I’ve got four grandkids and I’m going to try and get some time for them,” he said. “It’s tough when you’re doing things for elective office and most of them are at night. It’s time; time to move on.”
He noted the high quality of staff employed by the town and with the community’s volunteers.
“I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I can count on one hand the complaints I’ve heard about staff members or any board members,” he said. “The town has great staff and the volunteers who help the town are incredible.”
As a life-long sports fan Romano, a native of Albany, began volunteering as a coach and later director of Jonesville Baseball in 1984. The organization later evolved into Clifton Park Baseball and he continued as a director into the 1990s.
He was also an advocate for the local business community serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County from 1994 to 2002.
In 1994 he accepted an appointment to the Planning Board where he served one term from 1994 to 2000. In 2001 Romano was appointed to the newly formed Town Open Space Committee as a founding member. He served as chairman or co-chairman for nine years helping influence the establishment of the town Open Space Plan and the Western Clifton Park Land Conservation Plan & General Environmental Impact Statement.
“When I was on the Planning Board was when we first began working with developers for easements or land so we could connect the trail system to the subdivisions,” he said. “Back in the mid-90s it was a lot different than it is today.”
Upon the announcement by incumbent Councilman Sanford “Sandy” Roth that he would not to seek reelection in 2010, Romano accepted the Clifton Park Republican Committee’s endorsement and won election to fill Roth’s seat in the fall of 2009. He was re-elected in 2013 and 2017.
Asked how he jumped from instructing baseball to politics with an appointment to the Planning Board Romano admitted it was a big step for him.
He said he got involved with the community by helping with baseball instruction while his son was younger and was then asked to join the board of the Southern Saratoga County Chamber. When he was offered an appointment to the Planning Board he accepted.
“The Chamber was different back then; it had 250 members,” he said. “But it got me involved in the community. That led to an appointment to the Planning Board and from there it was the Open Space Committee. By then I had a feel for what was going in town and that led to the offer of support for the Town Board election.”
Romano acknowledged the importance of Planning Boards to any community saying he learned a lot during his single term there.
“I give a lot of credit to people who come to the Planning Board, are passionate, and express themselves reasonably,” he said. “The Planning Board is the toughest board job in town.”
Romano said he grateful for the opportunities he’s had over the years to serve the taxpayers of the town in his own small way.
“I’ve met a lot of good people; wonderful people,” he said. “It’s been fun. You feel like you’ve done something with your life. You hope something good comes out of it.”
Romano’s term expires Dec. 31, 2021. The Town Board is expected to make an appointment to complete his term.