The boys don't know Marge

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To The Editor:
Boys will be boys. That includes three boys serving as councilmen on the Middletown Town Board.

We’re sure the recent 3-2 board vote opposing Supervisor Marge Miller’s nomination as a representative to serve on the executive committee of the Coalition of Watershed Towns (CWT) was meant to send a message. The boys clearly wanted us to know they were somehow not satisfied with Marge but instead they sent quite another message. Their vote shows these town representatives are more inclined to narrow-minded, petty politics, the politics we see modeled at the state and national levels, a divisive, my-way-or-hit-the highway, form of governance, unlike the strong policies of a leader not afraid to hold their feet to the fire like Marge Miller.

Why should the town board have voted to appoint Marge to the CWT Board? Let’s start with the fact that the Town of Middletown has no representation on the Catskill Watershed Corporation or the CWT Boards. In fact, no one from the East Branch towns of Roxbury, Andes, Colchester, or Middletown serves on the CWT Board.

Clearly a lack of representation was less important to the boys than embarrassing Supervisor Miller. Councilman Jake Rosa was quoted at a town board meeting saying, “I’d rather vote for someone I don’t know,” than support Miller. That’s not a surprise coming from someone with communication issues with other elected officials with whom he disagrees, or someone who lost resoundingly to Miller for the supervisor’s post in the general election in 2011.

Had Miller been appointed to the CWT Board you can be certain Middletown would have a representative who would attend meetings, conduct background research, provide an informed voice and lobby for the interests of the folks she represents who live in the Town of Middletown. Heck, the village boards of Margaretville and Fleischmanns felt that way. They understood the value of a representative from the Town of Middletown serving on the CWT Board and picked Miller as their board’s choice, a fact that somehow was omitted in the Catskill Mountain News story on the topic.

None of that mattered to the three boys on the Town of Middletown Board. If representation of Middletown really mattered, one of the boys could have been nominated to serve. There was a spot for write-ins on the ballot, and they controlled the votes to select one of their own. But, serving would mean the commitment of time to attend meetings, research issues, and so on, a whole different matter. Protecting turf, paybacks, and alliances more appropriate for the reality television show “Survivor” than on an elected town board are the boys’ new norm.

Part of us wonders if the boys have trouble being led by a strong, smart, highly informed, hard-working woman. Sometimes boys do. Part of us wonders if the boys feel that using tactics as they have will result in a cowering, sniffling, impaired Town of Middletown Supervisor.

That simply means the boys don’t know Marge Miller.

Jo and John Bernhardt,
Margaretville