Lancaster Town Board, a new beginning or status quo
By Lee Chowaniec
Jan 4, 2012, 12:15
I came away from Monday evening’s Lancaster Town Board meeting less sure that the pledge of Town Board Council Members to work with newly elected Supervisor Dino Fudoli is sincere.
At the work session that precedes the regular meeting, Republican Supervisor Fudoli informed the four Democratic council members that as he did not have an opportunity to meet with all the individuals who were on the Organizational appointment list, perhaps half of them. For that reason he would be voting “no” on the resolution that states who is appointed to the Planning/Zoning/LIDA Boards.
Supervisor Fudoli added that he was not doing this for political reason, but that he was elected to do a job and that he could not put his name on something where he did not have all the information at hand. “I will take a few minutes during the regular meeting to speak to the public so they know this is not a shot across anyone’s bow, but that I did not have time to reach out to all the people that are being appointed. It (the resolution) will obviously pass without my vote.”
Writer addresses board
Like many others, I heard Supervisor Fudoli express his confidence that the council members would work with him for the best interests of the community. He expressed as much at his inauguration speech last Saturday when he declared that he had reached out to them and that they can affirmed their pledge to work together.
Knowing that any executive candidate that comes into office with a pledge to bring government change wishes to make appointment changes that will favor his agenda, I found it strange that there were no appointee changes – despite the fact that there were “new” petitioners submitting resumes for openings on the Planning/Zoning/LIDA Boards. There were openings because several term limits had expired and current serving board members were applying for reappointment.
For said reasons, I addressed the board.
Chowaniec: “The other day you stated at your inauguration that you asked residents for patience on matters that were procedural and affected the town otherwise. As I usually do, I picked up a copy of (and reviewed) the Organizational and Regular meeting agenda and detailed proposed resolutions. What I found was that there were no changes in appointed positions; whatsoever.”
“In the work session, you alluded to resolution #2 (appointments) and declared you would vote “no” on the resolution and gave reasons for your decision. I therefore have to ask, and please answer just yes or no whether you personally had suggested any change in the appointments? Please refrain from using names and/or appointment positions.”
Supervisor Fudoli: “I did suggest a couple.”
Chowaniec: “I ask this because during your campaign and at your inauguration you promised change. In looking at this Organizational appointment list, I find no change. I see the same names in the same positions.”
Chowaniec: Secondly, Ms. Coleman (Town Clerk), in past Organizational reports all schedule of salaries were reported – union as well as non union. This year the non union schedule of salaries was omitted. Why is this year’s report so abbreviated?
Coleman: “It was determined by the finance department, as well as the Town Attorney, that since there was no union contract in place it was unnecessary. They would then have to go back and forth if settlement occurred.
Chowaniec: “I beg to differ. It is important. Supervisor Fudoli has set an example for fiscal responsibility by taking a ten percent pay cut, forfeited the Budget Officer stipend, and gave up the town provided personal vehicle, and he will probably drop to 57th on the payroll list.
Including the schedule of salaries for union personnel allows residents to see what town employees earn as there are a lot of misconceptions out there on what people do earn in total; just as what they contribute to their health care and pension plans. Transparency and openness is number one. Mr. Fudoli, you promised that and I am looking forward to that.”
Resident Mike Fronczak addresses board
Fronczak: “John (Councilman Abraham), is there any viable reason why the Supervisor asked for a delay in resolution #2 (appointments) and it was not given?”
Abraham: “He did not ask for a delay.”
Fronczak: “I believe I heard that he did, even from him.”
Abraham: “He did not submit one to the board.”
Fronczak: “But can you give me a viable reason why we are pushing this through without there being a delay so that he (Fudoli) has an opportunity with meeting with all these people?”
Abraham: “Nobody has asked to table it, formally.”
Fronczak: “Again, I am asking why you are pushing this thing forward.”
Abraham: “The people who are reappointed tonight submitted their letters and we are going to appoint them based on the letters we received.”
When the appointment resolution came before the board for approval, Supervisor Fudoli explained his “no” vote. His vote was predicated on the fact that he did not have time to interview all the applicants, not for political reasons.
Resident Mike Fronczak claims he heard where Supervisor Fudoli asked for an Organizational meeting delay. Many other residents declare hearing the same.
Supervisor Fudoli states he did not have an opportunity to meet and interview all appointees. For that reason he votes “no”. He does say at the work session, “This will pass without my vote.”
Councilman Abraham claims Fudoli did not submit a formal request for a delay.
On questioning Supervisor Fudoli, he admits he did make appointment suggestions for change.
Confusing, or was Supervisor Fudoli simply cut out of the process by a 4-1 board majority? So far, its status quo 1, change 0.
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