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SARATOGA SPRINGS: In with the old, out with the new

Adam Israel sat and smiled while three members of the Saratoga Springs City Council voted to table his nomination to the city's Downtown Special Assessment District at its Tuesday, Aug. 7, meeting.

Accounts Commissioner John Franck, Public Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue and Finance Commissioner Matthew McCabe voted to table Mayor Valerie Keehn's appointment of Israel, saying DSAD committee member Ed Lenz should remain on the board because of the institutional knowledge he brings to the board.

Keehn and Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim voted against tabling the appointment.

I think it's important to have new blood on that board, said Kim.

Lenz, a founding member of the 20-year-old DSAD, is the father of former mayor Mike Lenz. Israel is the food and beverage coordinator at The Inn at Saratoga, which is owned by his father, Bob Israel.

The DSAD is a self-taxing district in the city's downtown business area whose funds are used for maintenance and beautification of the district.

Keehn said she has advocated the appointment of new members to the city's various boards because she wants new people and new perspectives. She said tabling Israel's nomination sends a poor message to the city's young people.

McCabe saw it differently.

"We need more of those young people to see people like Ed Lenz standing up and serving their city. I want to see the experience prevail here," he said.

McTygue called Lenz "probably the most valuable person on that board."

Keehn said she had spoken with Lenz twice that day and he did not communicate to her a desire to stay on the board. Franck and McCabe, however, said they had also spoken to Lenz, and he expressed to them that he wished to remain on the board.

Lenz could not be reached for comment before press time.

All of the commissioners who voted to table Israel's nomination said they would value his placement on the board, but didn't want to sacrifice Lenz's experience to do so. Franck said his motion to table was made so that the council could see how both Israel and Lenz could serve on the board.

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