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Village of Camillis to vote on vets' meeting place

VFW post 8664 in Camillus had held their meetings at the Camillus Village Hall for over 20 years. The post, consisting of about 100 members, was allowed to do so and granted permission from several mayors over the 20 years.

That tradition came to an end in March, when newly elected Mayor Thomas Grant took office.

According to a letter received by The Advocate from Gordon Storrings, commander of post 8664 on Dec. 24, Grant failed to return several requests from the VFW, who were asking if they could continue to use the village hall.

"[Grant] was contacted by our post for permission to continue to hold our meetings at the village hall," Storrings said in the letter. "He advised us that he would get back to us. We did not hear from him."

It was then that the veterans decided to move their meetings to the Camillus Fire Department, located on Newport Road.

"We had a conflict with the fire house for our December meeting," Storrings said. "We received permission from the deputy mayor [Kurt Brunger] to hold the meeting at the village hall."

Then, in a letter dated Nov. 15, Grant responded to the veterans and said that they were not allowed to meet at the village hall due to "building security issues." What exactly the security issues are was not made clear in Grant's letter.

Among the members of post 8664 is former Camillus Mayor Ed Fletcher, the incumbent who lost to Grant in March. In Storring's letter, he states on behalf of the VFW " we wonder why Mayor Grant is playing politics with our post. We are a non-political organization."

The letter ends with an invitation to Grant to join the VFW, if he is a qualified oversea war veteran, and a request for the mayor to disclose what exactly the security issues are, and to put the use of the village hall up for a vote before the village board.

Grant has listened and the decision will now be in the hands of the village board at its Jan. 15 meeting.

"We feel that the village hall is a good place to meet because of its location," Storrings said. "It's hard for some of us to get around. A lot of members walk to the meetings. Besides, the [village] hall is the property of the tax payers."

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