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MALTA: Town gets organized

Following its regularly scheduled town board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2, the Malta Town Board held its annual organizational meeting for the year. Although 2007 will bring few changes to the various town offices, boards, committees and events, there were a few new items up for discussion.

One resolution established a procedure for filling new appointments. In recent weeks, a public debate erupted following the appointment of Cynthia Young to the Zoning Board of Appeals as an alternate. The debate centered on the way in which the board made the decision that she was the most appropriate candidate.

There is a need for us to be better organized as a board, said Supervisor Paul Sausville, referring to the manner in which some appointments are made.

In the future, vacancies on the ZBA, planning board, and planning and zoning review committee, as well as those of committee chairs, will be publicized by press release, by notice in the town newsletter (time constraints permitting), and by posting on the town Web site and in town hall. All candidates interested in the position will then be granted an interview.

"Committee chairs will be provided with written materials setting forth his or her duties as chair," said Sausville, an addition that stemmed from his conversations with a current chairperson.

At the organizational meeting, the board also Resolved an ongoing discussion about extending the operating hours of all town departments, including the town clerk's office, the assessor's office, the building and planning department, and the parks and recreation office in the community center. The offices will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, holidays excepted.

"We welcome this change," said Flo Sickels, town clerk. "We will also continue to offer town clerk by appointment for the weekend and evenings."

Sickels also requested that deputy town clerk, Linda Deprey, have her weekly hours increased from 35 to 40 and receive a more permanent workstation. Sickels asked the town board to review the new hours of operation and consider increasing the budget to accommodate the change. Additionally, she noted that the clerk's office and other offices within the town hall are at or nearing capacity and suggested the board evaluate an expansion of the offices.

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