THURMAN -- The resignations of two Town Board members could create voids in the town's representation, but the town clerk read letters from two individuals Tuesday that indicated their willingness to serve.

Board member Albert Vasak was one of three remaining board members at Tuesday's meeting after Supervisor Lawrence "Red" Pitkin and Deputy Supervisor James Ligon recently resigned.

Vasak said he was sworn in as deputy supervisor at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

"Many of you can see there are three of us ... which is enough to run the town," Vasak said.

About 20 people attended the meeting, which lasted just under an hour, although many had waited an extra 30 minutes because a budget meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. could not be held.

Vasak apologized and said the budget meeting hadn't been voted on earlier so it could not officially run.

The resignations came during a meeting last month at which Katherine Schwarz said she had been promised the position of director of the Thurman summer youth program, but was unfairly removed and nearly replaced with Pitkin's wife.

Allegations were also made that Maria Ligon, then the head of the Youth Commission and James Ligon's wife, made hiring decisions without consulting the rest of the commission.

The town's new deputy supervisor outlined the options for filling the open positions, expressing concern over options that require some shuffling but also drawing laughs from the audience and a round of applause at the end of the meeting.

To fill the positions, the three remaining board members can appoint two others to the vacant seats or wait for the November election, Vasak said.

Because both terms last until 2011, candidates would need to run this November and next, he said.

Those interested would need to run on independent petitions, which require 20 signatures and can't be signed until Pitkin's resignation goes into effect, Vasak said. Petition filing dates for political parties ended July 15, whereas independent petitions can be filed Aug. 10 to 17.

If the board appoints an individual, that person would still have to run for election this year and next, Vasak said.

Further complicating the situation is that an elected board member's term would not begin until Jan. 1, 2011, whereas appointments can start earlier.

The supervisor vacancy might also create issues with representation on the Warren County Board of Supervisors, after Pitkin's resignation goes into effect Aug. 1.

The town could be without county representation for August, September and October, Vasak said.

The two who have expressed interest in serving as members of the board are Rebecca Hitchcock, a Warrensburg Central School and Adirondack Community College graduate, who submitted a letter of intent July 20; and Evelyn Wood of Athol, currently the town's cemetery superintendent, who submitted a letter July 7.

Vasak said the process of selecting a board member takes about two months, but that could be speeded up with special meetings.

Former Supervisor Jim Galusha, who served from 1978 to 1982, stood up at one point to say it would be wise to appoint a board member in case something happened to one of the remaining three.

Otherwise, the town could come to a standstill, requiring the state to intervene, he said.

 

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