Due to ‘safety and security concerns’ Berne Town Board meeting nixed

BERNE — On Wednesday morning, Berne Supervisor Sean Lyons postponed a town board meeting and two public hearings scheduled for Wednesday night.

He told The Enterprise it was because of an incident that had occurred the day before, on Tuesday, regarding Wednesday’s meeting.

A notice was posted on the town’s website announcing that the Aug. 14 meeting, as well as two public hearings scheduled 30 and 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. meeting, would take place at the same time next week on Aug. 21, “due to recent safety and security concerns.”

Lyons said that an incident had occurred Tuesday afternoon, but declined to elaborate further.

 Last month’s town board meeting was heated after the board decided in a vote split along party lines to censure Lyons over a number of actions he had taken without town board input or approval, including amending a union contract.

At that meeting, Deputy Supervisor Dennis Palow shouted, “If you keep talking crap about me, Joel, I’ve got something for you.” The “crap” Palow was referencing were letters from Councilman Joel Willsey to the Enterprise editor critical of Palow, Lyons, and Highway Superintendent Randy Bashwinger — all Republicans. Willsey is a Democrat along with two other town board members, Dawn Jordan and Karen Schimmer, not seeking reelection.

“When’s this going to happen?” Willsey asked Palow.

“It’s going to happen right here,” Palow replied.

 When The Enterprise asked if Tuesday’s incident was related to last month’s town board meeting, Lyons declined to comment.

Palow did not return calls for comment before press time. Jordan and Schimmer also did not return calls for comment.

Willsey told The Enterprise on Wednesday afternoon that, after reviewing a recording of last month’s town board meeting, he had on Tuesday requested better security during meetings.

He added that he also reiterated to Supervisor Lyons that he has been threatened several times since he took office in January 2018.

“The intimidation and threats I experienced at last month’s meeting have weighed heavily on my mind since … ,” Willsey wrote in an email to The Enterprise. “I hope this helps restore decorum and objective discussion at our meetings.”

Lyons said on Wednesday afternoon that he had not notified police about Tuesday’s incident.

He said he was still “putting everything together” and planned to contact police in order to increase security at town hall.


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