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Supervisor’s involvement in report questioned

Subcommittee members say final version of ward system suggestions altered

— Clarkson was previously co-chairman of the 20/20 Advisory Committee tasked with studying government reforms. That group has since been disbanded, and the Governance Options Study Committee was formed under Clarkson’s administration to continue the work.

Kuhn said when looking at the changes made from the report the subcommittee emailed Town Board members to the final version of the study, it looks as if most of the changes result in the study being in favor of a ward system.

“That’s a little troubling when the whole idea of this process was to be objective,” he said.

Clarkson said he did not see the final version of the study until the same day the rest of the board members and felt it was a neutral report.

Governance Options Study Committee Chairman David Liebschutz could not be at the meeting, but said in a later interview that he edited and wrote the final version of the report.

Liebschutz said Clarkson and Smolinsky attended a number of the group’s meetings and gave recommendations on the report. He said some were included and some were not and claimed the draft subcommittee members distributed to the Town Board was several weeks old.

“Some on the subcommittee were not happy that the supervisor was making comments and there were some disagreements on the subject,” he said. “I offered to discuss their concerns with the subcommittee, but some of them felt they wanted to send their first report to the board instead of finding common ground. I did multiple drafts, last I counted was 14, and I incorporated many suggestions from many committee members, as well as the supervisor, in the final version.”

Liebschutz said although the Governance Committee was split into subcommittees, all members were given the chance to comment on the reports of other subcommittees. Some of those recommendations were also included into the final report, along with some of the recommendations of the supervisor and deputy supervisor.

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