Knox Councilman Nicholas Viscio resigns

KNOX — After 22 years, Councilman Nicholas Viscio submitted his letter of resignation Monday in the period between voters casting their ballots and a slew of new members taking their seats.

He served nearly two years of his four-year term.

A retired Albany policeman, Knox transfer station attendant, and member of the town’s conservation advisory council, Eric Kuck was appointed by the town board Tuesday to occupy the vacancy for one year. The seat will be determined in an election next November.

Viscio, 59,  is retired as a teacher and coordinator of media at Guilderland schools. He has long been the town’s deputy supervisor and served on the local Democratic committee that approached Kuck. He and Michael Hammond, the Knox supervisor for the past 42 years, are leaving the five-member board as three new members start in January.

“I think we’ve left the board in good order,” Viscio said, noting fiscal milestones in this year’s budget, including stipends for newly created positions focused on youth and elderly in the town, and the work ethic of Councilwoman Amy Pokorny.

Viscio said neither his loss in a county legislative race to incumbent Republican Travis Stevens nor the ouster of Hammond weighed on his decision to give up his seat.

Vasilios Lefkaditis, who beat Hammond in the November election, said he wasn’t consulted on Viscio’s replacement.

“I think it would have been nice, but every administration has their own style. It wasn’t in the cards,” said Lefkaditis.

Searching for a replacement two years ago, at the end of his term and 20th year, Viscio wasn’t satisfied with the candidates, he said; he decided to stay just two more years, whether or not he won a seat in the county legislature. Asked why he didn’t step down before the election last month, Viscio said that he wanted to leave his options open.

"I don’t really have an opinion on that,” Kuck said on the timing of his appointment. “My understanding was they had the vacancy that they needed to have filled and they approached me about it."

Pokorny said the transfer station attendant position for which Kuck was hired had been advertised, but, as a political appointment, Viscio’s vacancy was filled with a recommendation from the Democratic Committee.

“I’ve been very clear: Whenever possible, the community should have a say who represents them,” said Lefkaditis. “All positions should be advertised, all candidates interviewed, and the best candidate chosen.”

Asked about the impact of having the most experienced member leave, Lefkaditis said, “I’m very excited about working with the board members that are there, including Mr. Kuck. I’m interested in looking forward, not backwards.”

Viscio was hopeful that the board would work well without his and Hammond’s experience. Pokorny said she expects members will have to work closely together, expressing excitement for her new colleagues.

“I think there’s a lot to the job,” she said. “Dennis Barber and I are both fairly new as well. Nick and Mike are just a phone call away.”

Hammond could not be reached Wednesday.

Kuck

Eric Kuck is part of what he described as a new wind for the conservation advisory council, which is mapping local sinkholes and has produced a paper on the risks of hydraulic fracturing in the town.

Kuck, 48, moved from Delmar to Knox with his wife and daughter seven years ago, seeking the rural lifestyle he was raised in. He grew up in Glen, in Montgomery County, and studied English at the University at Albany. His career with the City of Albany Police Department was decided when he was considering traveling to Poland as an English teacher, sponsored by his church to attend seminary. In the meantime, he scored well on the police entry exam. Eventually, Kuck retired from the internal affairs unit, which investigates allegations of police wrongdoing and inspects police workplaces for safety.

When he applied to work on the conservation advisory council, Kuck had no background and wanted to know more about the environmental issues it tackled. Many people, he says, don’t realize the far-reaching impact actions that are historically common, like dumping motor oil, can have on an ecosystem.

"They don’t realize that, with our karst topography in the Hilltowns, that that oil could easily disperse to 50 wells or more,” he said.

Kuck plans to keep his seat on the conservation advisory council and give up working as a transfer station attendant.

He took the job at the transfer station — as a recycling guide and a pair of hands — to fill in just a few months ago and found it was a great way to meet people in the town.

Of his goals, Kuck said it’s too early for him to point out areas for improvement but said he would be focused on safety and quality of life for Knox, noting simple things like supplying the highway department and making sure the necessary road signs are posted can help with keeping roads safe.

Viscio

Nicholas Viscio started on the town board to work on townwide property revaluation — a sometimes controversial process of equalizing property value assessments.

Since then, he led the board as it ushered in a Section 8, federally funding housing program in the town, and oversaw its first comprehensive plan to guide decision-making.

Before joining the board, Viscio worked on Knox’s conservation advisory council and its cable television committee for several years.

“Nick’s a resource we’re really going to miss, but, Eric Kuck, he’s a really talented contributor to the community, too,” said Pokorny. “I think it’s big shoes for him to fill.”

Viscio said he was moved by the murder of a 5-year-old boy, Kenneth White, on Thacher Park Road in Knox last year and pushed to create posts to coordinate services for the young and old to extend the town’s awareness and have one-on-one contact with various residents.

For the new board members, Viscio said the job requires patience, a thick skin, and being available.

On the Christmas Eve after White’s murder, Viscio said, he was working for the town as the sheriff’s office had made requests to remove dogs from the boy’s home. He has missed grandchildren's birthdays.

“It’s time for me to turn a page,” said Viscio. “It’s a commitment for your family.”

More Hilltowns News

  • The Logan Nonfiction Program has been given $1 million by the Logan Foundation, with which it will explore ways to make use of a part virtual, part -in person program for its 2022 fellowship.

  • The project will modernize Albany County’s Department of Public Works facility in Knox, enhancing aesthetics, safety, and energy efficiency, says Albany County Legislator Jeff Perlee. It’s expected to be completed in the spring of 2023. 

  • Westerlo Deputy Supervisor Kryzak had ordered the town’s attorney to send out a notice to Viking Solar owner Jamison Corallo to let him know that, after an extended period of noncompliance, his relationship with the town as a commercial trash hauler was to be terminated. Corallo told The Enterprise this week that he’s working on compliance and will make an appeal to the town board.

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