Jan 07, 2014 Joe Genco Uncategorized
About 40 people gathered at Spafford town hall on Jan. 1 to witness newly-elected town officials take the oath of office.
Town Supervisor Mary Bean greeted everyone in attendance and said the big turnout on New Year’s Day is a great start for her two-year elected term.
The oath of office was administered by Town Justice Kate Jacques to: Bean, Councilor Dave Veneia, Councilor Chris Fesko, Clerk Lisa Valletta and Highway Superintendent Carl Wiers. Town Tax Collector Cynthia Cook, who was re-elected in November, was not present.
Venezia, who is new to the town government, stood up to say that he intends to represent everyone in the town and wants to meet as many residents as he can.
“I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you and one of the things I ran on was to represent everyone in the town and I do mean that. The election is over, I intend on getting to know and meeting everyone and representing everyone. I really want to learn what your thoughts are where you’re coming from and how I can best represent you,” he said.
Bean said that the board has a lot of work to do, including getting things done with a rigid budget.
“Manipulating the budget to find the money to do the things that need to be done is something we’re all going to have to work at together, we only have certain pot of money and we’re going to have to set priorities and figure out how we’re going to get things done,” she said.
Despite serious work ahead, keeping the meetings light and enjoyable should also be important, because the low pay for town board members makes them practically volunteers, Bean said.
“In running the historic society one of the things I learned about working with volunteers is, if the job isn’t fun, people aren’t going to come back and do it again, so we need to have a little bit of joy and enjoyment in what we do,” she said.
While Fesko has already served on the board for two years and Valletta, Cook and Wiers will all reprise their roles, Venezia and Bean are both new to public office. Bean acknowledged that the job will have a steep learning curve, but stressed that she will work out of town hall and will make herself available to the public as often as possible. She encouraged anyone with questions or concerns to stop by and chat or give her a call.
Venezia said that as part of preparation for the job, he has signed up for a seminar held in Albany by New York State to educate newly elected government officials about their duties and responsibilities.
When asked about the new board being two Republicans and three Democrats, Venezia said it will create an opportunity for healthy debate.
“I’m a believer in the two-party system, it offers more to the debate. In the end, we can get along and work together for the good of the town, but if you have just one party, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, I don’t think you’d get the same debate,” he said.
The Spafford Town Board meets at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of the month at Spafford town hall, 1984 Route 174. The first regular meeting of the year will be Jan. 9. All meetings are open to the public.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.