West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 09/08/2008
Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Absent - None
Supervisor Piotrowski read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Mark Sokolowski, Thomas Sokolowski, Thomas Mingle, Eric Laufer, and Josephine Turkovich.
14-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
14-B LEGAL NOTICES
1. Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilman Graber, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: “OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FOR A REZONING FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 2437 BERG ROAD, BEING PART OF LOT NO. 417, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM R-60 TO C-2, FOR PARKING OF BOATS, TRAILERS AND CARS” in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed. (Philip Badame)
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to open the public hearing.
Supervisor Piotrowski read the recommendation of the Planning Board: “At its August 14, 2008 meeting, the Planning Board recommended denial of the request for a rezoning for property located at 2437 Berg Road, being part of Lot No. 417, changing its classification from R-60 to C-2, for parking of boats, trailers, and cars, noting that the proposal violates the Master Plan that clearly established Berg Road as a residential neighborhood and there is no screening provided for the adjacent residential zones.” Supervisor Piotrowski also noted that the Town Board had received a letter from the petitioner’s attorney requesting that the matter be adjourned to a future date.
The petitioner, Philip Badame, and his attorney were not present at the meeting.
William Swart, 2236 Berg Road, presented a petition signed by surrounding neighbors that were opposed to the rezoning request due to concerns about the property becoming a junkyard. Mr. Swart noted that Mr. Badame had been storing things outside for the last two years. The Code Enforcement Office was informed about the situation and letters were sent to Mr. Badame, but he continued to store things and advertise for outside storage. This was causing a problem for the neighbors behind the property and Mr. Swart thought the town should force Mr. Badame to stop storing things outside. Mr. Swart also did not understand how an 18’ to 20’ high building could be constructed in a residential zoning.
14-B LEGAL NOTICES
Councilwoman Bove questioned if Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski had received complaints on this property.
Mr. Czuprynski responded that his department had received complaints on this property and it was in violation of the Town Code.
Councilwoman Bove noted that submission of the petition called for a super majority vote of the Town Board to approve this rezoning.
Councilwoman Meegan questioned if Mr. Badame had ever been cited for any violations of the Town Code.
Mr. Czuprynski was not sure if Mr. Badame had ever been cited and would have to check on that.
John Kasperek, 1543 Orchard Park Road, presented pictures of Mr. Badame’s property and stated that he was opposed to the rezoning. He commented on the eight foot fence along the property line and the trucks and other vehicles that were supposed to be moved out last year but were still parked on the property. Mr. Kasperek also understood that Mr. Badame intended to bring in some heavy equipment to be stored on the property.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to deny the request for a rezoning for property located at 2437 Berg Road, being part of Lot No. 417, changing its classification from R-60 to C-2, for parking of boats, trailers, and cars, noting that the proposal violates the Master Plan that clearly established Berg Road as a residential neighborhood and there is no screening provided for the adjacent residential zones.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove stated that while the Town Board welcomed businesses into the community and wanted them to be successful, they also had to protect residential neighborhoods.
2. Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: “OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO HEAR ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AND CONSIDER THE ISSUANCE OF GENERAL OBLIGATION SERIAL BONDS PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE NEW YORK LOCAL FINANCE LAW IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT DESCRIBED IN THE REPORT OF THE TOWN ENGINEER DATED JULY 31, 2008” in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to open the public hearing.
14-B LEGAL NOTICES
Town Attorney Edwin Hunter stated that this public hearing was required under Section 202-b of the Town Law. One of the projects was the East & West Road watermain improvements and replacement of approximately 6000 linear feet of water line between Orchard Park Road and Union Road. This was an unlisted action with regard to SEQR, Town Engineer George Montz had completed the environmental assessment form, and there would be no adverse impact on the environment. The total cost of the project will be $420,000 in serial bonds of the town with a maturity in excess of five years. The expected life span of the improvements was 40+ years.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution issuing a Negative Declaration with respect to the increase and improvement to the facilities of West Seneca Water District No. 3 along East & West Road in compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution pursuant to Section 202-b of the Town Law declaring it is in the public interest to undertake the increase and improvement to the facilities of West Seneca Water District No. 3 along East & West Road.
*APPENDICES*Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $420,000 in serial bonds of the town to finance the cost of the increase and improvement to the facilities of West Seneca Water District No. 3 along East & West Road.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $80,000 in serial bonds of the town to finance the cost of the increase and improvement to the facilities of West Seneca Water District No. 3 along Leydecker Road.
On the question, Town Attorney Edwin Hunter noted that there was no separate 202-b resolution for this item because it was previously adopted on May 14, 2007, but no bond resolution was adopted at that time.
14-B LEGAL NOTICES
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $50,000 in serial bonds of the town to finance the cost of the purchase of radio system upgrades and GPS units for use by the Highway and Sanitation Departments.
*APPENDICES*Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $4,232,400 in serial bonds of the town to finance the cost of the purchase of certain equipment and vehicles and certain reconstruction and repaving improvements in the Town of West Seneca.
14-C TABLED ITEMS
1. Adoption of Noise Ordinance
Remained on the table.
2. Purchase requiring Town Board approval (Pool car/Building & Plumbing Dept.)
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to remove the item from the table.
Councilwoman Bove stated that this item involved the purchase of a 2005 Cobalt that was used by the Code Enforcement Office and the buyout on the lease was $9500. After checking with Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro and doing some research with the Code Enforcement Office, they found that a new vehicle of the same type would be about the same amount of money, so it was not logical to buy the 2005 vehicle for $9500. Councilwoman Bove had one of the Code Enforcement Officers, John Gullo, go to local car dealers to check out different vehicles with reasonable mileage and test drive them. Mr. Gullo found six used vehicles that he believes will last three to five years and cost less than the 2005 Cobalt. Councilwoman Bove suggested the board members authorize the purchase of a vehicle at a maximum cost of $8000 without stating which particular vehicle.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski stated that this was the first he was hearing of this, and he questioned who the vehicle was for.
Councilwoman Bove understood that the vehicle was for Code Enforcement.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that Mr. Gullo was the Fire Inspector, not the Code Enforcement Officer. Mr. Gullo had mentioned that he was going to look for a vehicle, but Mr. Czuprynski was unaware of what was being presented at this meeting and he asked that the board members table this item so he could look into it. He noted that his department was in need of more than one vehicle. They had turned in two vehicles and there were three inspectors that went out in the field.
Councilwoman Bove suggested that Mr. Czuprynski meet with her this week to go over this issue.
14-C TABLED ITEMS
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski to table this item.
1. Councilman Graber re Ice Rink Remediation & Rehabilitation Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to table this item.
2. Highway Supt. re Title change for M. Stacey & K. Zimmerman to Sanitation MEO’s
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Matthew Stacey and Kevin Zimmerman as Sanitation Laborers and appoint Matthew Stacey and Kevin Zimmerman as Sanitation Motor Equipment Operators at a rate of $17.62 per hour effective September 8, 2008 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
3. Highway Supt. re Grant for ice rink improvements
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept an “Ice Rink Improvement” grant from NYS Assemblyman Mark Schroeder’s Office in the amount of $250,000 and authorize the Supervisor to sign the appropriate grant award documents on behalf of the town; and further, amend the adopted 2008 General Fund budget to appropriately account for grant revenue and expenditures as follows: Increase estimated revenue 01.3897 State Aid - Ice Rink Grant $250,000; Increase authorized appropriations 01.7141.0445 Ice Rink – Remediation & Improvements $250,000.
On the question, Councilman Graber thanked Assemblyman Schroeder for this timely grant award that would pay for the mold abatement and other aesthetic improvements at the ice rink.
4. Highway Supt. re Purchases requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of the following vouchers for the Highway Department:
GST Inc. d/b/a Arena Systems (ice rink
5. Chief Gehen re STOP-DWI contract
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to execute the STOP-DWI contract with Erie County for a term of January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010.
6. Town Clerk re Northeastern Transparts Co. project – 54 Ransier Drive
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to open the discussion on the Northeastern Transparts Company project located at 54 Ransier Drive.
Wendy Gutowski, 96 Sprucewood Drive, Cheektowaga, and Brian Gutowski, 205 Nancycrest Lane, stated that their family owned Northeastern Transparts Company for 25 years. They were currently located in the City of Buffalo, but wanted to move the business to West Seneca. A special use permit application was submitted along with a site plan review application. There would be no construction or changes to the existing building located at 54 Ransier Drive.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to refer the request from Northeastern Transparts Company for a special permit for property located at 54 Ransier Drive to the West Seneca Planning Board for their review and recommendation.
7. Town Clerk re NYALGRO Fall Workshop
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize Town Clerk Patricia DePasquale to attend the New York Association of Local Government Records Officers fall workshop in Canandaigua, New York, October 16 – 17, 2008 at a cost not to exceed $270.
8. Town Justices re Salary step increase for Maureen Murphy
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to grant a salary step increase to Maureen A. Murphy, Clerk to Town Justice Richard B. Scott, in accordance with the White Collar Contract salary schedule, Group 3, Step 4, effective September 12, 2008 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
9. Code Enforcement Officer re Specialty sign – 1303 Union Road
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve a specialty sign for Graeber Jewelers, 1303 Union Road.
10. Code Enforcement Officer re Specialty signs – 1900 Ridge Road & 1311 Union Road
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve a specialty sign for 1900 Ridge Road and 1311 Union Road.
11. Tax Receiver re Status change for part-time clerks to seasonal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of the following part-time clerks to part-time seasonal effective September 8 – November 30, 2008:
and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
DOG BITE INCIDENT ON EAST & WEST ROAD
Cheryl DiSarno, 38 Cove Hollow, addressed the Town Board regarding serious concerns she had over the way Animal Control Officer William O’Neil handled a situation that occurred on Monday, September 1, 2008. On that day, Mrs. DiSarno was walking her dog on East & West Road when another dog darted across the road and began to viciously attack her dog with what appeared to be an intention to kill. Mrs. DiSarno desperately tried to separate the dogs and started screaming that the dog was killing her dog. A resident of East & West Road, Frank Lelito, heard her screams and rushed from his house to tackle and subdue the dog, putting himself at risk. Many people came to her aid and the police were called. Mrs. DiSarno was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital to be treated for bites on her index finger and leg and she was quite shaken by the incident. Her daughter took their dog to the emergency veterinarian where he received treatment for the numerous bites he sustained, and fortunately he would survive with some additional care. Mrs. DiSarno stated that the owner of the dog that attacked came to the scene and told her that the dog’s shots were up-to-date and she had no idea how the dog got off his leash. On Tuesday morning, Mrs. DiSarno called the Dog Control Office to find out what procedures were followed in these cases, introduced herself to Mr. O’Neil, and asked him what happens in a case of a dog attack. Mr. O’Neil told her that the dog owner had called at 8:30 that morning. She again asked him what was done in a dog bite case and Mr. O’Neil replied that there had not been any complaints about the dog in seven years. Mrs. DiSarno stated that the owner had no idea how the dog got off the leash, however, according to the police report, Mr. Lelito’s dog had been attacked last year but he didn’t report it because they were friends. Mr. O’Neil said the previous attack was not relevant because it was never reported. Mrs. DiSarno expressed her concern that if she had been with a child or a child had been walking a dog the outcome would have been different. Mr. O’Neil then became very curt and rude and responded that he couldn’t deal in hypotheticals. Mrs. DiSarno stated that according to the information on Mr. O’Neil’s portion of the town’s website, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States and most victims are children, so she assumed this was not a hypothetical situation most of the time. When she told Mr. O’Neil that she had been bitten, he asked her if she was sure it was the Rottweiler/Pit Bull mix that bit her or her own dog, but according to the witnesses it was not her dog. Mr. O’Neil proceeded to tell her that he could not euthanize the dog and if a dog has three or four bites they will look into whether or not the dog is dangerous. Mrs. DiSarno was outraged that three or four bites would constitute an investigation but not this situation, and she asked Mr. O’Neil if there was a fine or any requirement to put up a fence. Mr. O’Neil replied that they had not had a problem with the
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
DOG BITE INCIDENT ON EAST & WEST ROAD (continued)
dog in seven years and his mannerisms were condescending and unprofessional. Mrs. DiSarno stated that she watched her dog be mauled and suffered injuries herself and Mr. O’Neil’s concern was for protecting the attacking dog. Mrs. DiSarno then terminated the conversation with Mr. O’Neil because she did not believe it was productive, and Mr. O’Neil had never stated that he planned to investigate anything. She noted that according to the town’s website, the Town of West Seneca required dog owners to keep their pets under restraint at all times and any dog found running loose or at large was subject to seizure and fees were imposed upon the dog owner for the cost of seizure and impounding. It also stated that the Town of West Seneca Animal Control Officer was responsible for enforcing licensing. Mrs. DiSarno’s dog was licensed, but the attacking dog was not. The Animal Control Officer was also responsible for investigating animal bites and quarantining dogs. Furthermore, all dogs and cats were required by NYS Public Health Law to be vaccinated for rabies and a vaccination certificate was the method of proof, but according to the police report the owner could not find the documentation to prove that the dog was vaccinated. Mrs. DiSarno noted that the dog was overdue for his rabies vaccination by two months. The police report also stated that a note was left for the Animal Control Officer to investigate further. Mrs. DiSarno did not believe Mr. O’Neil was capable of doing even the most basic of his duties – enforcing licensing, and more importantly, investigating animal bites – and perhaps he considered a phone call from the owner sufficient investigation regardless of what the police report stated. Mr. O’Neil felt no need to get verification that the dog was vaccinated or to speak to the witnesses or Mr. Lelito, and his duties ended with two phone calls – one from the dog owner and one from Mrs. DiSarno. She thought Mr. O’Neil was disrespectful when he spoke to her and made her feel as if her concerns were unfounded. When she asked him if her only option was to avoid East & West Road when she walked her dog, Mr. O’Neil told her that was her prerogative. He had total disregard for her safety and fixated on the fact that she suggested having an attack dog that had mauled two dogs put down. Mrs. DiSarno stated that it was not until she spoke with Asst. Animal Control Officer Al Kerner late on September 5th that any investigation into the matter began. He was polite, respectful, and genuinely concerned about her situation. Mr. Kerner even called Mrs. DiSarno on Sunday to inform her that the dog was behind in its vaccinations, the owners were taking him to the vet, and the dog had to remain in its house for ten days. Mr. Kerner also informed her that he would continue to follow up and get back to her. Mrs. DiSarno stated that she could rest assured that Mr. Kerner would do what an Animal Control Officer was supposed to do, but she could not say that about Mr. O’Neil. She hoped that the Town Board would take this matter seriously and consider that this time it was a dog that was mauled and no person was severely injured.
Supervisor Piotrowski thanked Mrs. DiSarno for bringing this to the Town Board’s attention and stated that they would look into this incident with Mr. O’Neil.
REQUEST FOR DETAILED LIST OF TOWN EMPLOYEES’ COSTS
Johanna Guenther, 140 Neubauer Court, referred to a request made by Paula Minklei at the last Town Board meeting for a detailed list of all town employees indicating their total regular wages and overtime, total estimated benefits, retiree health benefits, social security and Medicare. Mrs. Guenther asked that the Town Board not ignore this request and thought it was important information for the taxpayers in helping them decide how they will vote on the referendum to reduce the size of the Town Board. She further noted that she could not vote in favor of the referendum without this information.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
Matt Stacey, 52 Rebecca Way, stated that he was upset that literature was being sent out in his neighborhood stating that he supported downsizing town government. Mr. Stacey was 100 percent against downsizing the Town Board and was appalled that his name was put on literature without his knowledge or consent. His friends, family, and neighbors were approaching him and asking why he believed in the downsizing and he was not happy that words were being put in his mouth. Mr. Stacey understood that three pieces of literature were sent out, but he had not given anyone permission to put his name on it. He hoped that anyone that received the mailings would disregard them.
Councilwoman Meegan agreed with Mr. Stacey and stated that her name was put on the literature also and she did not know anything about it. Council Members Graber, Bove, and Clarke also agreed.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
REVIEW OF ELECTRONIC DATA POLICY
Councilwoman Meegan referred to the town’s electronic data policy and stated that in March 2008 all town departments submitted a list of equipment they no longer used. The town was originally paying $36,000 annually, but this year there was a savings of $19,854. The new annual premium was $16,000 payable in quarterly payments of $4000 each. Councilwoman Meegan referred the contract to Town Attorney Edwin Hunter for his review and approval of the voucher.
ATTENDANCE AT DARE TRAINING CONFERENCE
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Councilman Graber, to authorize Detective Dennis Bloom and Police Officer Ken Morano to attend the DARE training conference in Auburn, New York, October 20 – 24, 2008 at a cost not to exceed $1689.75.
STATUS CHANGE FOR JAMES MCCULLOUGH TO PART-TIME SEASONAL
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Councilman Graber, to change the status of part-time Public Safety Dispatcher James McCullough to part-time seasonal effective September 1 – 30, 2008 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
ICE RINK REHABILITATION AND SUGGESTION FOR SPORTS FACILITY
Councilwoman Meegan referred to the work done at the town ice rink and commented that it looked fabulous. She distributed a copy of the master schedule for the ice rink to each of the board members and noted that the school now had a federation program and would have priority over the Junior Sabres for afternoon ice time. They would work with the Junior Sabres on anything left over and would also have a commitment from the Sabres with a lease agreement and an insurance policy. Councilwoman Meegan credited Supervisor Piotrowski for taking the initiative to get the ice rink rehabilitation project going after it was neglected for so many years. She also thanked Councilman Graber for his work on the project and the Building & Grounds Department employees for their efforts and hard work over the last week. Councilwoman Meegan further commented that the Town Board and community deserved more and should not settle for just rehabilitating the ice rink. She thought there could be
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
ICE RINK REHABILITATION AND SUGGESTION FOR SPORTS FACILITY (continued)
grant money available from the state and federal government and the town deserved a sports complex. Councilwoman Meegan stated that the town also deserved to have the former Seneca Mall site cleaned up and suggested that location for a sports facility with restaurants. She asked that Town Attorney Edwin Hunter look into the possibility of using eminent domain to acquire the property and finally clean up the site.
Councilman Graber referred to the acquisition costs with eminent domain proceedings and thought it would be approximately $20 million, but he asked that Mr. Hunter research this and report back to the Town Board with his findings.
Mr. Hunter stated that approximately six months ago he had mentioned to Chief Gehen his thoughts of building a town center at the former Seneca Mall site. He referred to the beautiful town centers in Orchard Park and Amherst and assumed that federal money was available for that purpose. He was told there were no Homeland Security funds available for Police Departments or courts; those funds were more for equipment rather than buildings. Mr. Hunter agreed that something should be done with the site since it was the gateway to the town, but he understood the acquisition costs were prohibitive, although he had never actually gotten a figure.
Councilman Graber stated that there was a lot of focus on property taxes and property taxes were directly related to the expenditures of government. If the project cost $10 million, a 10-year bond would cost the taxpayers $1 million annually. Councilman Graber referred to the turmoil created by the proposal to reduce the size of the Town Board from five members to three members for a savings of $60,000 and stated that he was opposed to spending money to acquire the Seneca Mall site. There were priorities, needs and wants, and a new hockey rink or sports complex was a want. The present ice rink was a need and had to be completely rehabilitated, or they might be able to demolish the existing rink and replace it with a new energy efficient, state-of-the-art rink for $6 or $7 million. Councilman Graber further commented on the need for additional space in the Police Department and the size of that department compared to Police Departments in other municipalities, but the taxpayers did not want higher property taxes. He stated that the Town Board had to stop spending money, but there were some things they had to do. They had been providing the ice rink for 33 years and just took care of a short term problem by remediating the mold problem and doing some additional aesthetic improvements. The next question was whether to rehabilitate the existing rink or build a new rink, possibly with a practice surface. Councilman Graber thought that the days of spending a lot of money in New York State were over. West Seneca was not a thriving metropolis and did not have a large commercial tax base like some of the other towns. They could not spend millions to make things look nice and would just have to try to make improvements where they could. Councilman Graber thanked Highway Supt. Patrick Finnegan, Bldgs. & Grounds Crew Chief Steve Amoia, and the Bldgs. & Grounds employees for their work on the ice rink improvements. He further commented that the Town Board had to work with the citizens on issues and he was against doing anything without the citizens’ input.
Councilman Clarke stated that the ice rink improvements were done and it was a good job at less cost.
Councilman Clarke stated that he was contacted by a resident of the town yesterday who asked that he read the following letter at this meeting: “My name is Tim Aguglia. I am a lifelong resident of the Town of West Seneca. In April, I moved to my current home on Pamela Court. Shortly thereafter I received a blue postcard forwarded by the U.S. post office from my previous address indicating that I had been nominated for a position on the Erie County Democratic Committee. I called the Erie County Board of Elections and was informed that the date to decline this designation was already passed. They were unable to provide me
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
CAMPAIGN LITERATURE (continued)
with the information as to who nominated me for this position. Although I requested that my nomination be withdrawn, I was told that my name would still appear on the September ballot. Obviously I was less than pleased with this and I asked that it be noted on the record with the Erie County Department of Elections. Today I returned home from the store to find the attached document in my door. As you can see, this document not only requests that I be supported for the democratic committee, it aligns my name with the individuals and positions on which I have not spoken publicly specifically related to the downsizing of the Town Board. I have worked hard in life to develop a good name and a strong reputation. I believe that my opinions carry weight and influence to my neighbors, friends and family. I am very upset that I have been placed in this position. Despite the fact that I would love to attend the Town Board meeting to speak on my behalf this evening, I will be attending a meeting at the Reserve Hose Fire Company, an organization which I am actively a member. I would be most grateful if this letter could be read in public.” Councilman Clarke commented that it was wrong to put a person’s name on something and say that they are supporting something that they are not supportive of. He thought this was illegal and should be considered identity theft. Councilman Clarke asked that Town Attorney Edwin Hunter research this to find out if it was illegal, and if so, find out who was doing this to the residents of West Seneca.
Mr. Hunter asked for a copy of the document Councilman Clarke was referring to.
Councilwoman Meegan noted that when she was running for office last year someone put out a piece of literature, and although Councilman Clarke may not have had anything to do with it, he was reflected in the literature. At that time, Councilwoman Meegan called the Erie County Board of Elections and democratic headquarters and was told that anyone could put anything they wanted out in the mail at whatever cost. Councilwoman Meegan stated that she also got things in the mail referring to “an old boys club” that she had nothing to do with, and she commented that someone had a lot of money to waste.
Councilman Clarke agreed and stated that he would like to see an investigation into this.
Mr. Hunter stated that they could possibly bring this under the harassment statute of the penal law, but if there were any thoughts of passing a local ordinance to prevent this, it was not possible.
Councilman Graber thought that elected officials were open to this type of thing where people could say whatever they wanted about them.
Councilwoman Meegan agreed but stated that the letter read by Councilman Clarke was from a resident that had nothing to do with public office and his name was being used. She suggested that they follow the permit number to find out where the mailings originated.
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Councilman Clarke, to recess to Executive Session to discuss the lease between the Buffalo Junior Sabres and the Town of West Seneca for the ice rink. (8:35 P.M.)
The Town Board returned from Executive Session at 8:45 P.M.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC