Amherst Town Clerk Marjory H. Jaeger is not barred by term limits from running for town supervisor this year, a state Supreme Court judge ruled.
Justice Emilio Colaiacova rejected on Thursday a petition from town Democratic leaders who were trying to block Jaeger, a Conservative, from getting on the ballot as a Republican candidate.
The town's term limit law allows elected officials to serve only two consecutive terms of four years each in the same public office.
"It is clear from the plain and unambiguous language of the Term Limits Law that it has not and does not prohibit a sitting elected official from seeking a different town office from the one they currently hold," Colaiacovo wrote.
In a petition filed last month, the Democrats alleged that Jaeger was "ineligible" to run for supervisor because she is midway through her second consecutive term as town clerk. Democratic Committee Chairman Jerome D. Schad, the attorney who filed the petition to knock Jaeger off the ballot on behalf of a town resident Patricia A. LaVell, argued that the term limits barred Jaeger from running for supervisor unless she resigned from her current office or waited until after her term as clerk expired in 2019.
After the judge's ruling, Republicans said the lawsuit was a political trick.
"Jerry Schad and Brian Kulpa have wasted enough of the taxpayers’ money on lawsuits – it’s time to stop playing political dirty tricks and trying to use the courts to win elections," said Joseph P. Heins, campaign manager for the Amherst Republican Committee.
Kulpa, the mayor of Williamsville, has filed petitions to run for supervisor on the Democratic, Working Families and Women's Equality parties' ballot lines. Jaeger has filed petitions to run on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform parties lines.
Incumbent Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein, a Conservative, cannot run for re-election this year because of the town's term limits.