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South Glens Falls Planning Board

After Planning Board member Nick Bodkin resigned to join the Village Board, this was the Planning Board, with two men and two women: David Linehan, chairman; Gayle Osborne, Thomas Wade and Debbie Fitzgibbon. Later, Brigid Martin was appointed to the vacant seat, giving women the majority on the board for the first time in at least 30 years. Linehan recently apologized and resigned from the board after making sexist comments.

Courtesy photo

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — A second person has resigned from the village Planning Board.

Board member Debbie Fitzgibbon handed her resignation letter to Mayor Harry Gutheil minutes before the start of Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting.

She did not stay to explain her reasoning to the board, but in her letter she said it was related to the uproar over sexist remarks made by Chairman David Linehan.

“I have always found David Linehan to be professional in all aspects. Because of 4 words, that did not offend me, he has been prosecuted through the media,” she wrote.

Linehan asked the village to “consider a male” for the next Planning Board appointment because there are three women on the five member board. He later cited the Biblical creation story to defend his request.

Linehan presided over Wednesday’s meeting and then resigned, as he had said he would do in an announcement Wednesday morning.

He was surprised by Fitzgibbon’s resignation.

Another board member, T.J. Wade, urged Linehan to stay, citing his 30 years of experience on the board.

He told Linehan to go to sensitivity training and “tear up that letter.”

But Linehan insisted that he needed to resign.

“No. I think I need to step down. It’s not a minor issue in this day and age,” he said. “I’m sincere about it. It’s something I need to address.”

He started the meeting by explaining what he said at the last meeting — that the mayor consider “a male” for the next appointment to the board — and that he had thought it was fine even though his wife told him it wasn’t appropriate.

When interviewed, he cited the Biblical story of creation to explain why men would do a good job on the Planning Board. He said that “men feel they need to be a little more considerate and mindful of what the rules are” because of their actions regarding the Tree of Good and Evil.

“I rationalized it for a month. I talk worse than this at work,” said Linehan, who is a landscaper. “It wasn’t until I read the headlines. I said, ‘This is totally inappropriate in this day and age.’”

Wade disagreed, saying The Post-Star “blew it right up.”

But Linehan said he had not been misquoted.

“I made a statement at the last meeting that I totally regret,” he said. “I said what I said and it was totally inappropriate.”

He apologized repeatedly to his fellow board members, the mayor, the public and his children.

The board now has two women and one man: Gayle Osborne, Brigid Martin and T.J. Wade. It has openings for two regular members and for an alternate.

Gutheil is welcoming any applications from residents who want to volunteer to help their community.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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