State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, said Thursday night he expects Niagara County Sheriff Thomas Beilein to be appointed to a seat on the state Commission of Correction.

“I’ve got to believe (the appointment) is imminent,” Maziarz told the Gazette. “I’m pleased that the governor chose someone from Niagara County, since most of his key appointments have come from downstate.”

Maziarz confirmed that Spitzer had spoken to him about Beilein. Members of the Commission of Correction must be are appointed by the governor, but must be confirmed by the state Senate.

“I spoke to the governor and I told him I thought Tom was a good appointment,” Maziarz said. “I gave Tom a good recommendation.”

The senator also said he expected Beilein would be easily confirmed.

The three-member commission is charged with providing for a “safe, secure and humane correctional system in New York state.” The commission sets minimum standards for the management of correctional facilities, evaluates, investigates and oversees correctional facilities, assists in developing new correctional facilities and oversees the training of correction officers, supervisors and managers.

One of the commissioners, Frederick Lamy, the former Warren County Sheriff, is serving on an expired term and was thought to be the commission member to be replaced by Beilein. However, Maziarz said he believed that Lamy would remain on the commission and Beilein would be tapped to be the chairman of the panel.

The commissioner’s posts are full-time jobs and have five-year terms. Commissioners are paid $90,000 a year, but the chairman is paid $101,000.

The current chair of the commission, Daniel Stewart, is the former mayor of Plattsburgh.

A spokesman for the commission said he had “nothing new to report” on Thursday when asked about the Beilein appointment. A spokeswoman for the governor said, “We are in the final stages” when asked if an appointment announcement had been set.

“I’m certain he’s going to appoint (Beilein),” Maziarz said.

While the commission meets in Albany, the department spokesman said most of the commissioners live elsewhere and travel to the state capitol for meetings.

Sources told the Gazette that Beilein met with the governor to discuss the appointment late last year. The “final hurdle,” according to the sources, was the “clearing” of Beilein with Maziarz.

The sheriff’s vacancy created by Beilein’s appointment would be filled by Spitzer, but the appointee would also need to be approved by the state Senate. The appointee would serve through the remainder of 2008.

The sheriff’s post would be filled for a full four-year term in the general election in November.

Niagara Falls Detective Capt. Ernest Palmer, currently an elected Republican member of the Lewiston Town Board, has been rumored as a possible successor to Beilein.

“I can’t think of a more qualified candidate than Ernie Palmer,” Maziarz said.

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