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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 5, 2012

On New Year’s Day
Empty seat not filled on Knox Town Board

KNOX — Travis Stevens watched from the gallery — one among a half-dozen spectators— at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day as Knox officials took their oaths of office. Stevens, a Republican who won a seat in the county legislature, stepped down as Knox councilman, leaving an empty seat at the dais.

While routine appointments to other boards were made — all by unanimous vote of the four-member all-Democratic town board — no motion was made to fill Travis’s seat.

Asked after the half-hour meeting why no councilmember was appointed, Supervisor Michael Hammond told The Enterprise, “We’re following the political process…The committees have got to forward names.”

Hammond said the Republicans had put forward Michael Swain. “The Democrats are canvassing at this point,” he said. Asked when the appointment would be made, Hammond said, “There’s no timeline at this point.”

The Knox town board had been bipartisan, but Patricia Gage, the Republican chairwoman, did not seek re-election as a councilmember and Stevens resigned after winning the county race.

In the November elections, Democrats won both open seats in a four-way race with Dennis Barber garnering 27.84 percent of the vote and Dennis Decker right behind with 27.28 percent of the vote. Swain was a close third with 24.17 percent of the vote.

Knox has roughly as many unenrolled voters as Republicans and nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans.

The New Year’s meeting opened with the seven people who had been elected in November taking the oath of office:

— Supervisor Hammond, a Democrat, ran unopposed for his 20th consecutive two-year term; he is the longest serving supervisor in Albany County;

— Gary Salisbury, a Republican, also ran unopposed for highway superintendent and won his fourth two-year term;

— Kim Swain, a Republican, won a fourth two-year term as town clerk by eight votes, beating Democrat Renée Quay;

—Barber, a Knox native, who is retired from his job at the state’s Department of Transportation, made his first unsuccessful run for public office two years ago for highway superintendent, and stressed his community involvement during the campaign;

— Decker, who works for National Grid as a civil construction supervisor for underground electrical systems, was first elected to the town board in 1995, served for two terms, then lost an election; he was elected two years later and then, after another four-year term, he lost in 2009;

— James Corigliano, a Democrat, was appointed in 2010 to replace Linda Quay on the Knox bench; a retired music teacher, he met the requirements for training after being appointed judge and won re-election, running against Republican Bonnie Donati;

— Diane Champion, a Democrat, beat Republican Frank Fuss for tax collector, a post that opened up after Delia Palombo, at age 89, stepped down. Champion has had a 31-year career as a tax auditor.

Michael Swain sat next to Stevens in the town hall gallery on New Year’s Day. After the meeting, he told The Enterprise, “I submitted a letter of interest to the town board.”

Swain went on about the appointment, “I feel it’s being too politicized. They’re looking for a Democratic candidate. I was the next runner-up.”

At 36, Swain, who is married to the town clerk, has worked in telecommunications, and is now a mechanic at Berne-Knox-Westerlo. He said during his campaign, his first run for public office, that he’d bring “younger ideas” to the board and wanted to give back to the community.

He said on New Year’s Day that, if he is not appointed to the post, he will probably run again.


By unanimous vote, the Knox Town Board made these appointments on New Year’s Day:

The Altamont Enterprise as the official newspaper;

— Key Bank, Bank of America, Bank of New York, and First Niagara Bank as designated depositories;

— Mary Alice Geel as deputy town clerk;

— Helen Quay as registrar of vital statistics;

— Deborah Liddle as deputy registrar of vital statistics;

— Lee Martin as deputy tax collector;

— Cheryl Frantzen as town historian;

— Dennis Decker as emergency preparedness coordinator;

— Nicholas Viscio as deputy supervisor;

— Ed Nicholson as data collector;

— Robert Delaney as building/sanitary inspector and zoning administrator;

— Daniel Sherman as assistant building inspector;

— Louis Saddlemire as dog warden;

— Louis Saddlemire as park laborer;

— Deborah Liddle as court clerk;

— John McGivern as court officer;

— Loren Shafer Jr. as deputy highway superintendent;

— Catherine Bates as account clerk;

— David Quay as landfill attendant;

—Lewis Tubbs as landfill attendant;

—Richard Dexter as landfill attendant;

—Carol Barber as minutes recorder for the zoning board;

—Joan Bentley as minutes recorder for the planning board;

—John Dorfman as town attorney;

— Robert Edwards as chairman of the zoning board and named these members with terms to expire on Dec. 31 of the following years — Amy Pokorny (2017), Gail Burgess (2016), James McDonald (2015), Sue Mason (2013), Kenneth Kirik (2012), and Edwards (2018);

— Robert Price as chairman of the planning board and named these members with terms to expire on Dec. 31 of the following years — Earl Barcomb Jr. (2017), Betty Ketcham (2016), Daniel Driscoll (2015), Robert Gwin (2014), Thomas Wolfe (2013), Price (2012), and Brett Pulliam (2018);

— Timothy Frederick as chairman of the board of assessment review and named these members with terms to expire on Sept. 30 of the following years — Frederick (2015), Gerald Irwin (2014), Jocelyn Farrar (2013), Vall Pulliam (2012), and Howard Zimmer (2016);

— Councilman Dennis Barber as an ex officio member of the youth committee and named these members— Anne Payne, Jean Forti, Ed Schmidt, Grace Cunningham, Rich Matlock, Sue VonHaugg, Jean Gagnon, Brett Pulliam, Janet Viscio, and Laurie Picinich;

— Councilman Dennis Decker as an ex officio member of the conservation advisory council and named these members with terms to expire on Dec. 31 of the following years — Xena Pulliam (2017), Hank Donnelly (2016), Stephanie Baron (2015), Nathan Giordano (2014), Patricia Irwin (2012), and Chairwoman Cheryl Frantzen (2018).

The board agreed to advertise to fill two vacant posts for unpaid jobs — zoning board member, a post left vacant by Dennis Barber becoming a councilman, and conservation advisory council member.


The board also unanimously set these salaries for 2011, which Hammond noted had not been adjusted in three years:

— Supervisor at $16,346;

— Superintendent of highways at $52,180;

— Town clerk at $12,338;

— Deputy town clerk at $12.62 hourly;

— Tax collector at $4,676;

— Assessor at $12,360;

— Data collector at $4,120;

— Council members at $3,750;

— Judges at $9,944;

— Registrar of vital statistics at $1,164;

— Emergency preparedness coordinator at $218;

— Building/sanitary inspector and zoning administrator at $9,336;

— Assistant building inspector at $4,015;

— Town historian at $712;

— Court officer at $1,862;

— Dog warden at $6,556;

— Park laborer at $13.96 hourly;

— Landfill attendants at $11.17 hourly;

— Court clerk at $16.38 hourly;

—Account clerk at $20.56 hourly;

— Deputy tax collector at $12.62 hourly;

—Minutes recorder at $12.62 hourly; and

—Town attorney at $17,732.

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

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