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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 22, 2009

Grimm disappearance: Super erases town board foe

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND —Supervisor Kenneth Runion airbrushed Councilman Mark Grimm out of a picture that he posted on his personal campaign website.

Republican Grimm said the incident was partof a pattern of “erratic behavior” on the part of the Democratic supervisor.

Someone pointed out the airbrushed picture out to Grimm, and he said that he could see the humorous side of it. Robert O’Keefe, a Republican committeeman, e-mailed the picture to The Enterprise last Wednesday.

The picture had been taken in Altamont in September 2008, at an event for the Altamont Free Library. The Enterprise ran a similar photo on Sept. 25, 2008, in which Runion, State Assemblyman John McEneny, Grimm, Altamont Mayor James Gaughan, and State Senator Neil Breslin stood holding slates that would become a part of the library’s roof.

The picture on Runion’s campaign website showed himself, McEneny, Gaughan, and Breslin, with a noticeable blur in the middle of the photo where Grimm should have been.

“He didn’t want it to appear that I was at this great event. It’s a shame, because, as a town board member, you go to a lot of events that aren’t political. People were glad to see me there,” said Grimm.

“I’m a little shocked that Mark Grimm would expect me to put his picture on my website,” Runion responded through The Enterprise. He said Grimm and fellow Republican councilman, Warren Redlich, took his name and registered it as a website, and proceeded to use his picture and defame him on the website.

“As far as I am concerned, this is all about Mr. Grimm’s ego,” said Runion. “The picture is mine; it is on my campaign website, and it has been cropped in the manner in which I’d like it to appear. People crop pictures all the time; The Altamont Enterprise has cropped me out of a number of photos, so the only thing you could see was my shoulder or hand,” he said.

Runion said he was offended that his picture was used on Redlich’s website without his permission, and that he would not put a picture of someone on his own website without asking for permission.

“I wouldn’t ask for Mr. Grimm’s permission because I don’t think it is appropriate to have his picture on my website,” Runion said.

Grimm said he thinks the motivation for the edited picture is pettiness.

“It’s funny, but there’s a serious side to it. The actions speak for themselves. This is erratic behavior,” said Grimm. He likened it to other behavior, on the part of the supervisor, that he thought were erratic — refusing to take e-mails from the Republican town board members, and abruptly ending board meetings.

Shortly after rumors of the airbrushed picture began circulating through town, the photo was removed from Runion’s website. Runion said he took it down because he didn’t want to offend Grimm.

“Because he is so offended, I took it down,” said Runion. Grimm said Runion only removed the photo because he was “caught.”

Runion called the whole incident a distraction.

“I’ve been dealing with these distractions for two years,” said Runion, referring to the amount of time Grimm and Redlich have served on the Democrat-dominated town board.

“We’re facing a fiscal crisis. We should be focusing on the pension increase. Instead the supervisor is focusing on airbrushing me out of photos,” Grimm said.

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