May 27, 2014 Tami Scott Uncategorized
The Lysander Town Board voted down a resolution to approve the April 28 meeting minutes after a contentious debate between board members and the town clerk during its May 19 meeting. Councilor Robert Geraci addressed concerns over unapproved meeting minutes after that specific action on the agenda was skipped.
“I think it needs to be stated that you’re not approving the minutes,” said Geraci, who informed the audience that board members had a brief, yet heated conversation about the protocol of minutes during its work session.
Supervisor John Salisbury said the problem concerning unapproved minutes began last fall when members of the board felt that parts in the minutes did not reflect what actually happened during the meeting. Salisbury then added that the town clerk, Lisa Dell, had said she would not make any adjustments to the meeting minutes, to which Dell denied that night.
Consequently, Salisbury said board members agreed to get back to Dell with their comments within five days of receipt, and Councilor Melinda Shimer has since been taking the electronic recordings that the town clerk processes to compare results.
In the meantime, the draft form of meeting minutes get posted on the town website.
Dell, who said there are minutes still unapproved since 2012, said she has asked the supervisor for specific examples of where in the minutes she has been incorrect, but has only received general feedback.
“If you would have shown me a specific example of what was wrong, I would be more than happy to make those adjustments,” Dell said.
Councilor Andy Reeves said all the board is trying to do is correct misspellings or inaccuracies in order to put out a quality package.
“In support of our town clerk, she was just reelected to another four-year term. The community trusts her. I believe this board should trust her to make an informed decision and do her job,” said Diamond, who made the motion to approve the April 28 minutes.
Geraci seconded the motion and also voted in favor, but the resolution was defeated 3-2.
Records access officer
The town board tabled a different resolution made by Diamond to reappoint Dell as the records access officer (FOIL).
“Two years ago, the town board decided to take an existing responsibility that previously fell on the town clerk and that was our foil access officer,” said Diamond, adding that in most towns, it is the clerk who holds that position. “One of the reasons is she is independently elected. She has to make tough decisions, and if her employer is someone else in the building that might influence her decision to hand over certain records, in that case an independently elected [person] is extremely important. Two years ago she was stripped of that responsibility and another employee who works for the town board who was not elected was given that responsibility.”
In 2013, Parks and Recreation Director Ann Smiley was appointed followed by Dan Boccardo, the town’s dog control officer. Reeves point out that Diamond had voted in favor of Boccardo at the 2013 organizational meeting. Diamond responded that he had serious reservations at the time and wanted to research before making a decision.
Diamond made a motion to reappoint Dell at no additional compensation. Geraci seconded the motion so the issue could be discussed at a later date.
“[It’s] important enough to talk about,” he said. “I’ll second it for protocol purposes.”
Toomey Residential letter
Town clerk Lisa Dell read aloud a statement to the board regarding the mishandled letter dated March 18, 2013 sent certified from Toomey Residential and Community Services to the town supervisor.
She said she was informed that during a board discussion at a public work session, Councilor Reeves had said the original letter was never given to the town supervisor, and instead was found in the town clerk’s office. “This is criminal,” Dell quoted Reeves as saying. Supervisor Salisbury then said he would conduct an investigation.
Dell then laid out in detail the town protocol and procedure regarding correspondence sent to the town, and said she had the original letter, stamped “Received March 25” that the supervisor’s office filed with the town clerk office on or about March 25, 2013.
“In this particular matter, I find it ludicrous that such slanderous, actionable and unsubstantiated comments were made by a town councilor and by the town supervisor,” she said, calling for an apology by both parties.
She also addressed a special unannounced meeting that was called the day after the April 23 informational meeting with Toomey Residential, saying the actions of the supervisor appear to have violated specific sections of New York State Law as well as the New York State Open Meetings Law, Public Officers Law.
“Contrary to the advice our town has been given, our municipality can face a penalty and fines if such violations occur, whether action was taken by the board at a meeting or not.”
“Five members were there and our attorney was there and I made a statement it’s criminal that he never had certified letters with his name on it, put into his hand. [Dell] does have the stamped letter in her office. [Turning to Salisbury] There never was a stamped copy in your office. Never has been.”
Reeves said letters get filed with their envelopes in a file cabinet and Salisbury never had the envelopes from either correspondence.
Dell then reminded Salisbury he had said in public at the informational meeting that he had walked the letter down to the codes department, but when nothing was done, forgot about it.
Reeves responded that it was Dick Baker, the real estate agent for the Abbott family who owns the subdivision, who brought the letter to zoning and planning.
In other news
Town Engineer Al Yager said the annual MS4 stormwater report is now available online and at the clerk’s office for public view.
Highway Superintendent Gene Dinsmore thanked the highway department and the town board for making it possible to complete a 14-and-a-half mile chip sealing project in three-and-a-half days by using a new piece of machinery that employees had never worked with before.
“Last year, our chip sealing project for the year was about three-and-a-half miles and it took us a week-and-a-half with the old method,” Dinsmore said. “It was a tremendous gain for the town. We are moving ahead with this Cornell program and making significant progress.”
Salisbury and Geraci both commented on the May 15 open house at Agrana, an Austrian-owned company that processes fruit for yogurts and baked goods. The Radisson manufacturing plant is the fourth in the United States and first to be built from the ground up, Salisbury said.
Parks and Recreation Director Ann Smiley was happy with the successful turnout at the first annual Spring FESTravaganza. She thanked Michael and Michelle Samoraj of M&M Marketing for their hard work. She also mentioned Recreation Supervisor Tony Berkinshaw’s early exit from the event. Within an hour of the event, he was called to leave for the birth of his new baby girl.
The board will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday, June 9 at Lysander Town Hall, 8220 Loop Road in Baldwinsville. A work session will begin at 6 p.m. View the meeting on PAC-B TV. Visit pacbtv.org for its scheduled programs.