Milton Within an hour of being sworn in as a new Town Board member for the Town of Milton, Barbara Kerr read a statement at the year’s organizational meeting explaining how she was disappointed with the negative publicity the town had received over the past year concerning public officials.
“I find the recent arrest of our highway superintendent very disturbing,” she read to a packed room at Town Hall. “I personally have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Kerr was sworn into office on Sunday, Jan. 1, along with new town Supervisor Dan Lewza.
Highway Superintendent David Forbes, 43, was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 15, along with 12 other people following a five-month investigation by the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force in Albany. All were arrested on drug related charges, while Forbes was charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, a felony.
In late 2011, the wife of former supervisor Frank Thompson pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $35,000 from an elderly woman she was appointed financial guardian of at Maplewood Manor. Thompson himself was under investigation last year involving a town ethics disclosure.
“While the town board is addressing [Forbes’] issue, we must keep in mind that the allegations and charges have yet to be proven and resolved in our legal process,” Kerr said. “Unfortunately, even the suspicion of wrongdoing has a very negative effect on our town and is extremely damaging to an elected official.”
Highway department employees and some members of the public at the ceremony were clearly not happy that Kerr brought up the incident, but she said she felt the issue should have been addressed by the town much earlier.
“I’m not for or against anyone, I just think public officials should be held to a higher standard,” she said.
Lewza said he too was disappointed with the situation, calling it “tough.”