NISKAYUNA Amid heated debates on a proposal to build a new indoor recreation in Niskayuna, there has been one Town Board member noticeably absent from meetings.
Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kasper was present for the first meeting of the year on Jan. 12, but was absent from the following five meetings until returning on the Thursday, April 19, meeting. All other board members were present for the seven meetings held so far this year. After therecent meeting, Kasper said she was in Florida at a home she purchased last year.
“We bought a house in Florida, I’m not moving there,” Kasper said after the meeting. “We were doing a lot of remodeling this year and I was going to get back in March and then my granddaughter got married down there.”
Kasper said the property is going to be a “vacation home.” She said since Town Board meeting are typically two weeks apart there is ample time to go to Florida for 10 days.
The Spotlight reviewed Town Board meeting minutes from 1990 to the present and found in 15 of the 19 years Kasper served as a board member during that time period, she was either the most absent board member or was tied for the most absences.
Upon Kasper’s return, some residents on April 19 voiced concern about her extended absence.
“Liz, I voted for you and I will not do so again unless you attend meetings and that goes for everybody on this board,” Whitmyer Drive resident Amy Howansky said. “Your job is to be here, your job is to discuss things in a public open forum to hear our views and to vote according to the views of the people in the town.”
Earlier in the meeting, Kasper said she watched meeting videos “several times” while she was away, allowing her to see presentations given and hear residents’ concerns. She said she read three local newspapers, too.