Editorial: Governance in abstentia

We applaud Kasper’s long service, to be sure. But while sitting on the Niskayuna Town Board is a part-time job, we think the people of this town deserve representatives who treat it as a full-time duty. That includes being available to constituents and being present for as many votes as possible. Kasper holds 20 percent of the decision-making power in the Town of Niskayuna, and while not every government meeting is the epitome of importance, it’s our feeling someone with one-fifth of the power to make decisions for more than 20,000 people should make it a point to exercise it.

Also, while the job of a councilperson is a part-time one, it is still compensated. Kasper received $10,450 (and health, dental and vision insurance) for her time carrying out the business of the town last year, and she’ll receive the same stipend this year. This would be a good time to point out she’s received that taxpayer money even for the past three months (that’s roughly $2,800, for those keeping track at home).

Going to meetings isn’t the only duty of a councilperson. Meetings are, however, where things get done, where a great deal of a board’s public interaction takes place and where leaders who are attentive, thoughtful and serious about their charge should be. We hope we’ll be seeing Kasper there often in the remaining years of her term.

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