For the second Schenectady County Legislature meeting in a row the issue of appointments had GOP members speaking out against Democrats.
The main points of contention during the Legislature’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, dealt with appointments to the Schenectady County Public Library Board of Trustees. Steve Fitz was said to be resigning from his position and John Karl was being replaced on the board. Majority Leader Gary Hughes said Fitz had mentioned to the library board previously that he wished to resign from his position, but didn’t give any real reasoning for why.
Both have served the library very vigorously in a lot of different ways. They are both huge supporters of the library, said Hughes, D-Schenectady. `I appreciate John’s enthusiasm and the time he puts into serving as a trustee and the thought that he puts into it as well.`
Minority Leader Robert Farley, said he was upset that appointments have been coming out of the Rules Committee, which also meets the night of the Legislature’s regular meeting. Farley, R-Glenville, wished appointments would come out of the various committees and said it would allow for some time to think over the resolutions.
`It is worth the time to investigate and discuss these items with the people that are involved,` said Farley. `I’m always kind of drawn when I hear these individuals praised by the majority the night they’re thrown off the boards.`
Farley kept repeating that it was `government by ambush` since the Legislature kept repeating itself in passing a majority of resolutions through the Rules Committee. At last month’s meeting James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville, was replaced on the County Industrial Development Agency and he said he was only notified of his dismissal five hours before the meeting.
Little notification was also given to Karl about his replacement.
Buhrmaster said he received a call from Karl earlier in the morning and Karl said a reporter told him he was going to be replaced on the library board.
`We are insensitive to the people that have served us for so long and so well,` said Buhrmaster. `I would hope that after all this discussion that we had tonight and we had a month ago that things will start to change here in the Legislature.`
Legislator Karen Johnson, D-Schenectady, agreed the legislature should do a better job of thanking people that have served for the county.
`If people are not going to be appointed they need the respectful notification that they will in fact not be appointed,` said Johnson.
Farley also noted Fitz was one of the most dedicated people to the library he has known and found it odd he was resigning with no explanation for why.
Other legislators didn’t think Fitz had made anything more than a personal decision.
`I think it is a bit tawdry to say that some people left that board other than the way they said they left it without any evidence to that effect,` said Deputy Chair Vince DiCerbo, D-Schenectady. `I think you are indirectly criticizing the ability, confidence and dedication of the people that we are about to appoint.`
Legislator Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, also shared his discontent with some of the languages of the meeting.
`I am surprised at the amount of grandstanding, deflection and misdirection that we see continuously from particular legislators on a constant basis,` said Gordon. `I congratulate my esteemed college from Glenville, he got a lot of face time today. He didn’t say an awful lot and repeated the same phrases.`
Farley quickly jumped up and called for Gordon to not make accusations at other legislators while explaining his vote for the resolution, which lead to Chairwoman Susan Savage intervening to solve the argument between the two legislators.
Along with the 12 other appointments besides the two from the library the legislature approved the resolution with Farley and Buhrmaster casting the only opposing votes against the appointments.“