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Bethlehem town board votes down appointment guidelines

Messina's criticisms are unfounded and "disappointing," according to Cunningham.

"Sam and I have talked about this over and over again, so he knew I was opposed to this before we put it on the agenda; he knew how I was going to vote," Cunningham said about voting down the proposal. "We do a very good job appointing very good people. There's no evidence that we need to add a bureaucratic process."

Messina countered by saying he and Cunningham only spoke about the proposal "an hour before the board meeting," and that he sent out e-mails to his fellow board members about it but got no responses.

Cunningham maintains that his intentions were well known to Messina.

According to Messina, Councilwoman Joann Dawson spoke with him on the telephone prior to the vote and said the proposal "sounds reasonable," but then voted against it at the board meeting.

Cunningham and others have suggested that Messina proposed the guidelines in retaliation for being passed over for deputy supervisor, a position he actively pursued, and that he is attempting to create an issue where there is none, simply out of bitterness.

Daniel Plummer was appointed as deputy supervisor by the Town Board in January in a similar 4-to-1 vote, with Messina voting against the appointment.

There was some debate over the appointment at the Town Board's Jan. 9 organizational meeting, according to the minutes held by the town clerk.

Messina admits that he wanted the position of deputy supervisor, as did other board members, and is critical of Plummer for not attending town board meetings, but said that he only wants transparent governance and the opportunity to appoint the best, most experienced personnel possible for the town.

He denied harboring any personal vendetta or calculating motives, saying even in the face of a possible political backlash, he was doing what he thought was best for the town and its residents.

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