Speakers urge end to stalemate
GLOVERSVILLE – A pair of city representatives spoke at the Common?Council meeting Tuesday urging the mayor and council to resolve the stalemate on filling the two vacant positions on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
While both Planning Board member John Castiglione and Ward 2 Supervisor Frank Lauria said it would be best for the city to have the issue settled, each had a differing opinion on who should back down from their stance on the issue.
At the organizational meeting earlier this month, Mayor Dayton King had planned not to reappoint zoning board Chairwoman Karen Smith, who has been a volunteer on the board for years.
However, 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski said he would not consider voting in favor of another person for the board until Smith was reappointed.
The appointments to the board are made by the mayor, but they need to be approved by the council.
On?Tuesday, Castiglione said it’s the right of the mayor to select people to fill the various boards. While the council made their “pitch” they should ultimately allow the city to move forward, he said.
Castiglione said four years ago, Smith asked him to speak to the mayor about her reappointment to the zoning board. Castiglione said he asked the mayor to reappoint her despite their differences and attempt to “mend fences,” but those fences were never mended.
King confirmed Castiglione’s account this morning.
“This is the nature of the game that you’re all a part of called politics,” Castiglione said. “The majority of this council saying they will not appoint anyone unless Karen Smith is reappointed are playing this game called politics to the detriment to the citizens of this community.”
Smith is president of the Gloversville Republican Committee and Siarkowski is a member. The committee announced its endorsement of Michael Ponticello before the primary election last year, which he lost to King.
However, King alleged the council is attempting to keep those that are affiliated with it on the various boards.
King also has said he believes Smith does a good job – though he cited concerns about her professionalism – but he wants to see if other people are interested in the position.
During the council meeting Jan. 14, King attempted to reappoint David Strausser to the zoning board, but the majority of the council voted down the appointment.
The Zoning Board of Appeals is a five-member board, usually with one alternate.
However, with the current gridlock over who will fill the vacant positions, it currently has only three members, which is just enough for a quorum.
Castiglione said barely having enough for a quorum is a risky situation because it could prevent development considering how many special meetings are often required to bring business into the city.
Lauria said despite being a Democrat, he believes Smith is the right person for the job and has been serving the city well over the last decade.
“We need to be ready to move as fast as we can. We can’t stall with anything to help build this city,” Lauria said. “I’m here in support of Karen Smith. I think the political stuff needs to be stopped and we have to do what’s good for the city and I think Karen Smith is that choice.”
The council did approve Christopher Putman as an appointment to the Recreation Commission on Tuesday in a 5-2 vote. There is still one vacancy on the Recreation?Commission.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio and 1st?Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth voted against the appointment. Both said after the meeting they believe Jean Chain should have been reappointed to the position.
“I believe Jean Chain should be reappointed,” Wentworth said. “There is no reason not to reappoint her.”
Previously, King said his issue with both Chain and Smith was a concern about their professionalism. King said members of the public stated Smith tends to be disrespectful by talking down to them and is “unpleasant to be around.”
“[Smith] runs a decent meeting but there are some things that I’d like to see from her just as far as professionalism and the other things that go along with that,” King said previously. “That’s why I didn’t appoint Jean Chain as well to the Recreation Commission. Jean has a lot of good efforts and works real hard, but she’s disruptive and those are some of the things we can’t have when you are representing our city.”