Andes welcomes new officials at year's first meeting
By Pauline Liu
The Andes Town Board wasted no time in getting organized for 2012. Though many businesses were closed on Monday, Jan. 2, the board met at town hall for its organizational meeting and swiftly took care of business in just under half-an-hour.
Andes begins 2012 with new town board members Tom Hall and Wayland “Bud” Gladstone, who ran on the Democratic and Independent lines and were elected to their posts in November.
Another new member of town government is Kimberly Tosi, who was elected town clerk, after winning the Republican primary, getting the Democratic endorsement and also running as an Independent. Andes also enters the new year with a town website, townofandes.com.
The site was created for the town by Tosi and her husband, Jesse. The couple did the work free-of-charge.
Tosi said her first day of work was extremely busy. She will be spending a portion of next week attending training sessions in Albany. She wants to tell residents that the calendar of events on the town’s new website will be filled in soon. “I did not have access to the office until today, but I’ll fill it out after I come back from my training,” she said.
Among the few topics on the agenda, Town Supervisor Marty Donnelly said that town board meetings will be scheduled to start at 1 p.m. instead of 12:30 p.m. for the remainder of the winter. Gladstone said a lot of people have asked to have the monthly meetings moved to evenings, so they could attend.
However, after some discussion, the board agreed not to change the meeting time. Supervisor Donnelly pointed out that the town’s bookkeeper, Meg Hungerford, travels from South Kortright and consultant Marge Merzig comes from Oneonta. Deputy Supervisor Marty Liddle (who was reapppointed to the post) thought it would be safer for them to travel the roads by day.
Andes resident Fred Cubero asked to speak. “If we’re going to have it at 1 p.m., can this stuff be put on the Internet?” asked Cubero. “That way people can be well aware of what’s going on,” he added. He was promptly told about the town’s new website.
In an effort to bring more order to meetings, Donnelly also requested that residents who have questions or wish to have “privilege of the floor” contact the town clerk at least one week before the meeting.
Merzig spoke in support of the idea. “Under state law, after ‘the privilege of the floor,’ it’s not question-and-answer time,” she explained. “It’s not a public hearing,” she added.
Donnelly elaborated on why he would like to hear from residents before the meeting. “We’ve had people come to the meeting and drop bombs like ‘What about the hole in the middle of the Barkaboom?’ and ‘What happened in the 2009 budget?’” he explained.
“If you tell us ahead of time, we’ll be able to get the information for you. I don’t think it’s fair to Mike (McAdams, highway superintendent) or anyone else to ask things they won’t be able to answer. I think it makes them look very bad,” Donnelly added.
Gladstone raised a question about the procedure. “What if something happens that morning that needs to be addressed?” Gladstone asked. “I’m saying just don’t shut the door,” he added.
Liddle suggested that in such situations, perhaps residents can reach out to town board members before the meeting.