The current administration in Berne is like a slow-motion interstate pileup

To the Editor:

At the April regular meeting of the Berne Town Board, some disturbing proposals were brought forward. At the same time, cronyism in GOP hiring has recently resulted in a window looking into the disservice to the taxpayer.

The current administration in Berne is like a slow-motion interstate pileup. But where are the rubberneckers? Why are so few paying any attention to this train wreck?

In the open discussion of specific candidates for employment, one town board member disparaged a candidate as too young and stated a preference for the older candidates. Another stated a preference for younger candidates. Have these people ever heard of age discrimination? Think about this discussion in a public meeting. It’s just ridiculous.

The supervisor proposed a moratorium on industrial and utility-scale solar facilities. He says this could be accomplished by repealing the existing local law and not taking the steps necessary to progress and approve the currently proposed replacement law.  

From my perspective, this proposal is just the next step in the plan to manipulate the planning process to accommodate specific landowners. There is no legitimate reason for a moratorium. I believe any developer who can afford a lawyer would be able to build whatever he or she wants as I believe there is no way such a moratorium will stand up in court.

In the review process of the proposed law, it appears to me that if the planning board recommendations are considered the proposed law may not sufficiently accommodate the landowners who are apparently unethically targeted to benefit, so another strategy is necessary.

The answer? Throw both laws out and institute a moratorium that any developer can kick out of the way and build whatever they want, wherever they want.

Then the recently appointed town board member enthusiastically supports the moratorium idea and goes on to suggest that all we need is a document to guide the development of utility-scale solar facilities. That is precisely the function of the law they propose repealing.

You can’t make this stuff up — nobody capable of reason would believe this is where they are actually headed. It’s ridiculous. It’s also incredibly unethical in my opinion.

Then the deputy supervisor proposed evicting the unpaid caretaker at Switzkill Farm. No caretaker means the place will be robbed and vandalized, pure and simple.

Then the GOP can point to all the costs associated with all the damage that results as additional reasons to abandon the asset. They basically advertise that the place will no longer be watched because they are evicting the caretaker (under false pretenses I must add). Say goodbye to all the copper plumbing.

The newly appointed GOP town board member then, in an open town board meeting, declared the caretaker to be in breach of contract! Says he has not lived up to his responsibilities.

This is another ridiculously inappropriate and inaccurate declaration of guilt from town hall. There is no factual support for this declaration and there was no due process prior to the declaration. Another indication of ignorance of town board function and responsibility.

It’s not the responsibility or the function of the town board to declare anyone guilty of anything. There is a process.

Continued public, inaccurate disparaging of and accusing of residents and officials sends a message to the Bashwinger disciples who will believe absolutely anything these guys say. We have a lot of residents of Bashwingerville in the Helderbergs.

Facts, reason, and reality are not even a consideration. The GOP gets away with this slanderous nonsense because nobody is going to spend $10,000 to take them to court.

These people are ridiculous. The attorney, who observes these ridiculous politically motivated attacks on people and assets was not hired through any process I am aware of.

When and where did the interviews take place? Were résumés submitted for consideration? Was the attorney appointed this year? And he wouldn’t address my questions at the meeting. Is that breach of contract? Does he have a current contract? Try to FOIL what he is being paid to do. Top secret.

The other attorney who investigated all the alleged violations of the employee handbook by elected representatives was also hired with no open process I am aware of. The handbook does not even apply to elected representatives, yet multiple “official investigations” of Democrat representatives’ “violations” took place.

And the results identified no violations anyway! Tax dollars are regularly spent in the dark by the supervisor and deputy supervisor for purely political threats and intimidation. Think about it: $15,000 in your tax dollars to fund bogus, politically motivated investigations of false handbook violations?

Now more of the documented cronyism has come home to roost. Did I hear correctly? The dog-control officer, who was hired illegally with no process “verbally” resigned?

Does that mean there is no documentation that he resigned prior to the recent potential dog abuse case that had to be handled by someone else? Did the Democrat-appointed dog-control officer, who was illegally fired to accommodate the illegal hiring of her GOP replacement, step up to the plate?

This administration is an absolute train wreck, and it is all documented in case anyone cares.

Joel Willsey

Berne Town Board

Editor’s note: Supervisor Sean Lyons told The Enterprise last week, “It is very doubtful that we would see any [solar] moratoriums or anything other than the current law.”

The Switzkill Farm caretaker, Nelson Kent, who lives on the property for free in exchange for his services, told The Enterprise that he was discussing his contract with town officials and declined to comment further.

Lyons, who had tabled a vote to terminate Kent’s contract because of the closure of Switzkill Farm, said during the April 14 Berne Town Board meeting that he thought the caretaker could instead perform a wider variety of tasks while the property remains closed. Lyons told The Enterprise in an email last week that he felt “added duties (mowing, trail maintenance, light building maintenance, garbage removal etc as possible examples) along with contributions to the utilities like what used to occur may add more value to the caretaker position.”

See related story on Berne’s dog-control situation.

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