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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 17, 2011

In Berne, no more super search committee?

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — Few in town want the job of supervisor.

Nearly two months after George Gebe resigned, just short of making it halfway through his first four-year term, two town residents have sent in letters of interest: One is Kevin Crosier, the last person to hold a full term in the post; and the other is Gerard Chartier, the planning board chairman.

Crosier, a Democrat who won elections in 2001 and 2005 on the Republican line, decided not to run for re-election in 2009. The part-time post pays $13,300 in 2012.

Peter Vance, who was approaching the end of his term as councilman on the town board and was going to retire at the end of the year, was appointed as supervisor soon after Gebe’s retirement. The board had originally planned on forming a committee to help find and select a replacement for Vance who would serve through the end of 2012.

In November 2012, the acting supervisor would have to run to keep the post, and finish out the remaining year of Gebe’s current four-year term. Another election would then be held in 2013, and the winner would begin a new four-year term.

But the board recently decided not to form a committee to find a replacement for Vance, and will instead advertise the position, and have board members select a replacement from the final pool of candidates.

The town board voted last week to authorize Town Clerk Patricia Favreau to publish an advertisement, once a job description has been drafted.

“What we decided,” said Councilman Joseph Golden, “was that we would not go through the process of the committee for time reasons, and the small number of candidates that have expressed interest.”

He went on, “I think the board will make one last try, so no one can say we didn’t attempt to contact most of the known universe. Then, we will select candidates and vote. But, it will be the new board. One of the questions was, ‘Who is going to vote on the next supervisor?’ It will be myself; Wane Emory; Peter Vance, who will still be supervisor; and the two newly elected candidates.”

As a result of the Nov. 8 elections, Democrat Karen Schimmer and Republican Bonnie Conklin will be joining the town board at the start of the New Year. Both Schimmer and Conklin said this week that they support the decision to advertise the position and have the town board vote on the pool of candidates who express interest.

“I think it was a question of perception,” Schimmer said this week, “the appearance that there may be people that were excluded because the committee decided that they shouldn’t be looked at before the town board got to see them. Ultimately,” she said of the board, “they have the two letters, and I think it’s going on without a formal committee being formed. I think people are talking to potential candidates and saying, ‘You should give it a try; this would be a good a job for you.’”

Conklin shared this sentiment.

“It’s a small community, and I think they’re well aware that we’re looking for a new supervisor, and I think the town’s taking the appropriate steps,” said Conklin. “You can advertise, but up here, it’s mostly word of mouth. People know about it, and, if someone’s interested, they’ll take a step in sending a letter and a resume.”

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