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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Peace for Israel

After tabling the motion to appoint six weeks ago, Mayor Valerie Keehn was finally successful in appointing Adam Israel to the Downtown Special Assessment District (DSAD).

The first attempt at the appointment, which ended in Keehn calling her fellow Saratoga Springs City Council members cowards, was tabled because some commissioners felt that founding DSAD member Ed Lenz should not have to vacate his position to make room for Israel.

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.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 18 City Council meeting, Keehn reported that Lenz had voluntarily stepped down from the 20-year-old DSAD board to make room for Israel. This led to a 4-to-1 vote successfully appointing Israel to the DSAD.

Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe, who made the motion to table Israel's appointment at the Aug. 7 meeting, was the only vote against.

I want to thank Ed Lenz for his work on the DSAD by voting 'nay' on this, he said. "Again, this isn't a vote against Adam, it's a vote for Ed Lenz."

Lenz 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. 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 the tabling of Israel's nomination sends a poor message to the city's young people, who may want to get involved in local politics.

Accounts Commissioner John Franck and Public Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue changed their stances from the previous nomination attempt, but continued to emphasize Lenz's role on the nine-member board, and went on to say that he stepped down from his position to avoid further conflict with Israel's appointment.

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