“Town Clerk Christian Sampson is retiring after more than two decades, with the Town Board tonight expected to name Supervisor Michael Specht’s top aide as his successor.
Sampson, known for his involvement in civic organizations, had been the appointed town clerk for 23 years — the only one appointed among the five town clerks. He’s a former East Ramapo Board of Education member, ousted after nine years in 2006 when the Orthodox Jewish community moved to elect its members to the school board.
The Town Board plans to name Sharon “Sara” Osherovitz as town clerk effective Dec. 1 until Sampson’s current terms ends on Dec. 31 and she would then have to be reappointed to a two-year term in January.
Her salary would be $150,000, up from $105,222, according to the resolution expected to be voted on by the five board members. Sampson had been paid $157,000 under an employee contract with the town.
Sampson has served during controversial times. He oversaw the 2014 ward vote during which he and town officials were accused of misleading voters. He and other officials denied the charges and state courts upheld the results.
His tenure coincided with the reign of Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, who was convicted on federal corruption charges in May 2017 and given a 30-month prison sentence, forcing him to resign after 17 years. Sampson was one of several officials required to turn over town records when the FBI and District Attorney’s Office investigators raided Town Hall in 2013 in the early stages of a corruption investigation.
Sampson said he was in the middle of interviewing a person for a program when FBI agents knocked on his office door.
“I told them I’d be a few minutes,” he recalled, laughing. “They said, ‘No. Now.’ I did what they asked.”
He later had to turn over records sought in a federal grand jury subpoena, as did the town attorney’s office, the supervisor’s office and other town agencies.
Losing the Board of Education seat was not a joyous time. He noted the iconic board member, Georgine Hyde, a Holocaust survivor, educator and trustee for 36 years, got bounced a year earlier.
“I certainly valued the time I spent on the school board,” Sampson said. “I didn’t like to be defeated. The work I had been doing was the most important work I had been involved with. I was disappointed.”
Sampson lost a 2008 Democratic Party primary against Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee.