With unusual timing, the board saved its organizational business for the year 2008 until the conclusion of the regular board meeting, Monday, Jan. 7, after most members of the public had gone home. The meeting is held annually to appoint people to various town committees and town offices.
After briskly approving the majority of the appointments, the board recessed to executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss the nod for Glenn Rockwood as planning board chair, replacing the Rev. Peter Klotz, until Dec. 31, 2010. When they returned, the room was empty except for a handful of town employees.
Council member Sue Nolen read a statement opposing putting Rockwood in the position, citing Rockwood's long and varied history serving the town. Rockwood is currently deputy town supervisor, and serves on the planning and zoning review committee, as well as the health employee benefits committee.
We interviewed nine candidates, and there were many qualified people, stated Nolen. "The leaders of this town are getting way too cozy. Rockwood stepped down as a member of the planning board while acting as deputy supervisor; this is very much a conflict of interest."
Nolen also referenced Rockwood's development interests in town, criticism of plans for downtown growth, and alleged contributions to Sausville's political campaign, a charge Sausville refuted.
"When people make false accusations and imply something is improper, I feel compelled to respond," said Sausville. "This is a political matter; if the person we want to appoint supports my ideas and goals, that is attacked. I want to remove the bullying and rudeness from these meetings. It's no secret Sue (Nolen) and Gerry (Winters) supported Cliff Lange when he challenged me as town supervisor. No matter who we appoint, you'd find it objectionable."
Klotz, in what would prove his most vocal opinion Monday night, expressed his support of Rockwood.