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ZBA appointment triggers ire

It's not often that you hear anything about the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) in the Town of Malta. Appointments to the seven-member board tend to go unnoticed by the general public, but on Monday night, a motion by Councilwoman Sue Nolen to appoint Cynthia Young as one of two alternates to the ZBA turned into a public debate.

Young is a registered Democrat while the Malta Town Board members are outspoken Republicans, but it was not Young's political affiliation that was problematic. There was no question about her dedication to the town either. She has worked for the town in several capacities, including in the assessor's office as well as the office of the town clerk. Her name may seem familiar because she has appeared on election ballots twice in unsuccessful bids to become Malta town clerk, and she has served as chairwoman of the town's youth commission for more than a dozen years.

The board eventually voted to appoint Young to the position, but Supervisor Paul Sausville as the lone opposition vote. Sausville said what was at issue for him and some members of the public was the means by which she was selected from a pool of six interested parties.

I think it is prudent, wise and the fair thing to consider all candidates, said Sausville following Nolen's motion.

He said that about a year ago, four potential candidates for the position were interviewed for other appointments they ultimately did not receive. Their names were kept on file for future vacancies, including those with the ZBA. In addition, two others had submitted their rEsumEs for consideration since learning the alternate position was vacant.

"I didn't know we were looking for someone," said resident Kathy Eitzmann. "I'd have submitted my own (name)."

Eitzmann chastised the board for not taking an equal look at all candidates and offering interviews for the position.

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