Bickering halts Guilderland town board meeting

The Guilderland Town Board meeting broke down into quarreling along partisan lines Tuesday, March 4, and was adjourned by Supervisor Kenneth Runion with the support of Democratic board members Patricia Slavick and Paul Pastore, and Town Clerk Rosemary Centi.

The fighting began during the approval of minutes for the Feb. 12 meeting. Republican board member Mark Grimm contested the validity of the minutes and claimed that the minutes were not a fair and accurate representation of the meeting. He said that some of his comments were not included in the minutes and others were summarized too briefly compared to those of other members of the board.

He argued that the minutes should be recorded as either a word-for-word transcription or a bare bones outline. Grimm claimed the current process of recording minutes is unfair and not conducive to open government, and he made the accusation that the minutes are being used as a partisan tool.

In response to Grimm's accusations, Centi stressed that the recording of minutes was her responsibility and that during her past eight years as town clerk no one had complained about inaccuracy.

Slavick agreed and stated that she had reviewed minutes from previous years and found that they were a sufficient and accurate representation of previous meetings.

Pastore stated that it was each board member's personal responsibility to review the minutes, and Centi pointed out that Grimm could review the minutes and include anything that he felt was omitted as an attachment. Centi also pointed out that the alternate version of the Feb. 12 minutes that Grimm submitted to the board did not include comments made by Guilderland residents during the public comment period. Centi accused Grimm of omitting the comments of residents who disagreed with him and stated that it was a process not conducive to open government.

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