Town hires senior center director

The town took over control of the senior center in December.

KASSIE PARISI/GAZEETTE REPORTERThe town took over control of the senior center in December. KASSIE PARISI/GAZEETTE REPORTER

CLIFTON PARK — After a brief search, the town has found a new senior center director.

The town board conducted interviews with several candidates, and eventually decided to hire Susan Leonard, a longtime Clifton Park resident. Leonard is active in various community activities.

In the past, Leonard has had experience in a leadership position at the Niskayuna Senior Center for several years. The ideas she shared for the  future of the center and a demonstrated passion for serving the community were deciding factors for the town board, according to a press release.  She will be leaving her current position as an Account Executive with Spectrum Business, where she has worked since 2012.

“Sue will bring a high level of energy, expertise and new ideas to the Clifton Park Senior Community Center.  We expect her to take the programming at the Center to the next level,” said Lynda Walowit, town councilwoman and liaison to the center.

In December,  the town board assumed operational responsibility for the Clifton Park Senior Community Center, situated at Clifton Common after an investigation prompted Shenendehowa Senior Citizens Inc. to transfer operation.

In March, state police arrested Sean P. Flaherty, the former executive director, who was accused of stealing more than $50,000 from the center.

Since then, the town has added many new programs, activities and informational workshops. A monthly newsletter has been distributed to all members of the Center on a timely basis.

The town’s operation of the center has attracted several new major sponsors that have allowed the town to defray the expense of the newsletter and programs, including direct sponsorships that have allowed the town to offer new programs free to participants.

Sherwin Williams donated the supplies and manpower for a new coat of paint inside the facility, new lighting was recently installed through a National Grid incentive program and the Town Board recently allocated funds for new carpeting.

“Through a great deal of hard work and a tremendous team effort at Town Hall, we have ensured the Clifton Park Senior Community Center has remained open through a difficult period of time for the facility’s future prospects,” Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said. “Our commitment to securing the future of the Center and making it a vibrant cultural asset for Clifton Park residents is being fulfilled.”

Raina Munafo has been overseeing the operations of the center for several months, and will remain as a part-time employee at the center.

“When assessing improvements at the Center since the beginning of the year, we have accomplished a great deal in a short time.  There are more programs and events we would like to add for the future and Sue’s direct experience with these activities, will lead to a timely execution of our goals,” said Barrett.