politics

Thomas Spargo

At its reorganizational meeting on Jan. 1, the new town board of Berne removed several long-standing employees from their posts, stoking the ire of residents. Some of the board’s decisions are illegal, The Enterprise has learned.

Joel Willsey, Councilman Berne Town Board

The Berne Town Board ousted Emily Vincent, a Berne farmer, before she completed her term on the town’s planning board, breaking the law, to appoint Thomas Spargo as chairman. Vincent should be reinstated.

It is the first time that the Guilderland town board has had more women than men, according to former town historian Alice Begley.

Subcommittee member Daniel Centi said he thinks that the recent nomination of town-board candidate Laurel Bohl at the April 2019 caucus highlighted a flaw in the caucus system: that anyone can be nominated and become a candidate, without prior vetting by the Guilderland Democratic Committee. He wants to look into whether the party can legally find a way to require that anyone planning to enter the race at a caucus must be vetted in advance. 

The same day he set a hearing for a law that would make Berne a firearm sanctuary, Town Supervisor Sean Lyons posted a photo of himself displaying the hand-signs of a far-right militia group that has been described as “anti-government” and is connected to a failed 2017 bomb plot in Oklahoma.

In advance of the swearings-in of new Hilltowns board members the first week of January, The Enterprise spoke with three outgoing board members who reflected on their tenures and offered some advice for the newcomers. 

Michelle Hinchey

“It didn’t make sense to have two people with the same policy positions run against each other,” said Jeff Collins, explaining why he has ended his campaign to represent District 46 in the State Senate and will instead support fellow Democrat Michelle Hinchey.

At her last meeting, Councilwoman Patricia Snyder voted against supporting the county’s clean-air bill because of what she termed a “vacuum” of information.

“It was a half-hour of hell,” said Gary Greenberg of the sexual abuse he suffered at age 7, which led him to be an activist for the Child Victims Act. He’s now exploring a run for a seat in the senate he helped flip.

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