Bonnie Conklin

Come Jan. 1, Joel Willsey will be the sole Democrat on the Berne Town Board, long a Democratic stronghold, as GOP-backed candidates again swept to victory.

Councilman Joel Willsey

Berne Deputy Supervisor Dennis Palow filed a complaint of discrimination against Councilmember Joel Willsey.

BERNE — As the two Democratic incumbents on the town board here are not seeking re-election, the town board race pits two Democrats — Frank Brady and Brian Bunzey — against two Republican nominees: Bonnie Conklin and Matthew Harris. All but Conklin are new to elected office.

Emails from Democratic town board members in Berne about their concerns over their fellow town board member and combat veteran Dennis Palow led to an angry crowd gathering in support of Palow at Town Hall on Wednesday night.

minivan plunged into an excavated site

Berne Highway Superintendent Randy Bashwinger said that the highway department followed the proper protocol when closing the section of Bridge Road where a vehicle recently upended itself, but Councilman Joel Willsey has written in a letter to the Enterprise editor this week that flaggers or barriers should have been in place to prevent an accident like this.

The town supervisor said that the Berne Town Board’s Wednesday meeting was cancelled due to safety concerns following an incident on Tuesday afternoon relating to that meeting. Councilman Joel 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. 

On Saturday morning, the Hilltown Triple Crown kicked off another season of three races in four weeks with the Fox Creek 5K in Berne. Over 100 runners took to the streets in Berne and ended in the Berne Town Park. The next race is on Saturday, Aug.

Four candidates were nominated at Berne’s Democratic caucus for town board. Frank Brady and Brian Bunzey bested Tim Lippert and Mathew Harris, who is running on the GOP ticket and is not enrolled in any party.

Berne Supervisor Sean Lyons

Last month, the town board held lengthy closed-door discussions over amendments to the town highway workers’ union contract that were approved by the supervisor without town board knowledge. This month, three of the town board members, all Democrats, voted to censure the supervisor for approving the amendments without their knowledge as well decisions he had made without board approval.

Agreements were made between the union representatives and the two Republican town board members; the three Democrats on the board were unaware of the months-old changes until last month.


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