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New year, new leaders

After a difficult campaign riddled by political protests, town officials seemed ready on New Year's Day to put aside their differences and begin serving the residents.

This is a small town. We're all neighbors and we all want what's best for the town, said newly elected Supervisor Patti Southworth, a Democrat who took the oath of office Tuesday, Jan. 1, in front of Ballston Town Justice Cindy Amrhein.

Republicans Kim Ireland and Tim Szczepaniack were sworn in as town board members at the ceremony, which drew more than 75 residents to the town

hall.

In her first action as town supervisor, Southworth appointed George Seymour to serve as deputy town supervisor. Seymour, also a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for town board in the fall elections.

Southworth and Seymour are in the minority as Democrats on the board, which also includes council member Mary Beth Hynes and James Briaddy. Briaddy began his 14th year on the board on New Year's Day. Longtime council member Harold Townley, also a Republican, lost his bid for town supervisor to Southworth, and left the board in December.

Ireland echoed Southworth's sentiments during the ceremony.

"I think generally we all have the same goals," said Ireland.

Despite their differences in party affiliation, Ireland said she plans to have an open line of communication with Southworth.

Ireland and Southworth had common goals for the year as well, including the importance of opening government up to the people. In recent years, the board has been questioned by members of the public about how decisions are made, and how to disseminate more information to residents before votes are taken.

Southworth also discussed making the town Web site more accessible, and Ireland said that Ballston has several community services available that could use more publicity.

"The town needs an open door policy," Ireland said.

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