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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 7, 2010

No new faces
Town board splits along party lines on just two appointments

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — Following the November elections, which returned the Democratic incumbents to office, no new appointments were made for the new year.

All but two of the 27 appointments were unanimously approved. Republican councilmen Warren Redlich and Mark Grimm, who were not up for re-election, opposed the re-appointments of town attorney Richard Sherwood, and planning board member Paul Caputo.

Redlich told The Enterprise this week that he recently asked Sherwood legal questions about a proposed law, and Sherwood refused to answer.

“I think the role of the town attorney is to answer questions from board members,” said Redlich.

Grimm cited the same reason for opposing Sherwood’s re-appointment. Grimm said that Sherwood commented that he did not work for the town board, but worked for Democratic Supervisor Kenneth Runion.

“He’s putting his personality ahead of his obligations,” said Grimm of Sherwood.

Sherwood, responding through The Enterprise, said he had expected the two Republican board members to oppose his re-appointment.

“I take it as a compliment that they opposed me, especially based on the way they have treated me for the past two years. They are what they are,” Sherwood said.

The GOP pair had raised concerns about Sherwood’s role in Walgreen’s assessment; a town ethics committee then cleared Sherwood.

The Republican councilmen said they opposed Caputo’s re-appointment because they felt there was a conflict of interest; Caputo is the chairman of Albany County’s Independence Party, which has endorsed the Democrats, including Runion, during elections.

“There is a problem when you have third-party officials appointed to a board. It gives the appearance that appointments are for sale,” said Redlich. Redlich noted that his opposition was not a reflection on Caputo’s competence.

“Paul Caputo is on Runion’s payroll, and he endorses Runion. It’s an obvious conflict,” Grimm agreed.

Caputo said he was disappointed that Redlich and Grimm did not give their reasons for opposition at the meeting; he called it “cowardly.”

“I’ve served the town in several capacities for the last 15 years — long before I became chairman of the Independence Party,” said Caputo. He said he believed appointments should be based on merit, and not politics.

Runion, responding through The Enterprise, said he did not think being involved in politics created an automatic conflict of interest. He said Caputo had been appointed to the planning board seven years ago, before he became chair of the Independence Party. The yearly salary for a planning board member is approximately $4,000, Runion said.

Aside from those two re-appointment oppositions, the two Republican town board members opposed the designation of town board members as liaisons to various town departments, and the authorization of the supervisor to make provisional appointments.

Redlich said overall, he thought it was a positive day; Grimm said he thought it was important to note that he and Redlich had voted with the majority to approve 25 out of 27 appointments.

“I think the meeting went well,” said Supervisor Runion. “There was no real controversy, and it was very straightforward.”

Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko spoke at the meeting, stating that he supported the re-elected Democrats, and had also spoken to Grimm and Redlich, and felt that they would all work together in 2010 for the good of the town.

“They worked hard in 2009, they campaigned hard, and now it’s time for them to roll up their sleeves and work hard in 2010,” Tonko said, of Runion, and councilmembers Patricia Slavick and Paul Pastore — all Democratic incumbents.

The following individuals were sworn in on Jan. 1:

— Democratic supervisor, Kenneth Runion;

— Democratic town board, member Paul Pastore;

— Democratic town board member, Patricia Slavick;

— Democratic town justice, Denise Randall;

— Democratic town clerk, Rosemary Centi; and,

— Democratic receiver of taxes, Jean Cataldo.

The following individuals were unanimously appointed on Jan. 1:

— Stephen Feeney, chairman of the planning board;

— Kimberly Jones, planning board member;

— Linda Clark, deputy town attorney to the planning board;

— Peter Barber, chairman of the zoning board;

— Michael Marcantonio, zoning board of appeals member;

— Charles Cahill, alternate zoning board of appeals member;

— Stephen Parker, deputy town attorney to the zoning board;

— John Wemple, chairman and member of the environmental conservation advisory council;

— Herb Henning, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— Stuart Reese, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— Stephen Albert, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— Gordon McClelland, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— Steven D. Wickham, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— David Heller, environmental conservation advisory council member;

— William Young, chairman and member of the industrial development agency;

— James Shahda, industrial development agency member;

— Michael Bopp, industrial development agency member;

— Christopher Bombadier. industrial development agency member;

— Anthony Carrow, industrial development agency member;

— Hodgson, Russ, LLP, Joseph Scott of counsel, attorney to the industrial development agency;

— Don Doynow, medical director, paramedics;

— Alice Begley, town historian;

— Jean Cataldo, registrar of vital statistics;

— Karen VanWagenen, deputy registrar of vital statistics; and,

— Rosemary Centi, passport agent.

The town board also voted unanimously to:

— Designate the First National Bank of Scotia, First Niagra Bank, Citizens Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Pioneer Commercial Bank, NBT Bank, and M&T Bank as official depositories of the town;

— Authorize the supervisor and comptroller to invest certificates of deposit in any of the designated official depositories with a third party holding the securities;

— Authorize the supervisor and comptroller to sign checks on behalf of the town;

— Designate Boswell Engineering; Delaware Engineering; Barton and Loguidace; Clough Harbor; Ingalls and Associates, LLP; and Spetra Engineering as town-designated engineers;

— Set meeting dates for the town board, planning board, zoning board of appeals, and conservation advisory council;

— Establish a mileage rate to coincide with federal Internal Revenue Service approved rate per mile for reimbursement to town employees when authorized to use their private vehicles on town business;

— Authorize the highway superintendent and the superintendent of water and wastewater management to spend up to $2,000 per year for the purchase of tools without prior approval of the town board;

— Designate the respective fire chiefs as fire wardens, appoint a fire investigation team, and designate fire inspectors;

— Designate the supervisor as affirmative action officer;

— Designate the supervisor as emergency response officer;

— Designate The Altamont Enterprise as the official newspaper;

— Approve the holiday schedule for the transfer station; and,

— Approve the holiday schedule for non-union town employees.

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