MALTA: Board members clash

For many who attend Malta Town Board meetings regularly, the relationship between Supervisor Paul Sausville and the other four board members has been visibly strained since his election, and the Monday, March 5, meeting served as just another example of the breakdown in civility among the board.

This was a disgusting meeting, said resident Carol Henry as she left at the close of the often-contentious session.

During the public comment period, resident Doug Young quipped, "While this has been more entertaining than 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy' tonight ," he turned serious when he told the board, "This is not the type of town board I want representing me."

The night began with a heated round of public comments relating to Councilwoman Sue Nolan's recent allegations of impropriety in the town clerk's office.

Patty Ruggles, a village of Round Lake trustee, called those allegations an "attack" on Flo Sickels, the town clerk.

Ruggles also questioned Nolan's previous comments about having a "fiduciary responsibility" to look into the town clerk's office and manner in which it was run, and suggested Nolan herself was not being budget conscious in voting for a 5 percent raise for the town board.

In a prepared statement last month, Nolan asked that the town board consider seeking a public referendum to make the town clerk and highway superintendent appointed positions rather than the elected positions they currently are. Included in her statement was a lengthy list of concerns related to the town clerk's office.

Nolan denied Ruggles' assertion that she was attacking Sickles personally, and said, "If you have an appointed town clerk and superintendent, you can save a lot of money. We would be able to hire someone like our department heads who work 50 or 60 hours a week."

Resident Tom Ouellette said he preferred keeping the town clerk as an elected position.

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