Councilman: Reconsidering Fallonville

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Councilman Bill Schirmer

Councilman Bill Schirmer

I thoroughly enjoyed your April 1 article on the transition of Saugerties to Fallonville. I think it was well researched and your coverage was extensive and concise. Unfortunately, there are some, in fact quite a few, in the community who didn’t take so kindly to the change. While I am well aware that it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time, it seems that the public outcry, or should I say outrage, was much greater than anticipated. My fellow board members and I are facing a barrage of criticism that may force us reconsider the name change. It seems the short notice of the special meeting to entertain this resolution was irresponsible on the part of the board and left little time for residents to voice their concerns. I must assert, in hopes of vindicating myself as all good politicians do, that I did not attend said meeting because I honestly didn’t know about it until the morning of April 2 when I received a call from an irate constituent in reference to the Board’s action, to which I could only reply, “What the hell are you talking about?” As the new member of the board I had to attribute the apparent oversight to the assumption that the supervisor simply forgot about me. Sh… stuff happens, although missing such an important vote will probably rear its ugly head in the next campaign cycle. (I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe Democratic Party Chair Mike Harkavy was involved in a conspiracy to purposely exclude me from the special meeting. But, conspiracy theories are a topic for another time.)

Now that I’ve had time to properly review the resolution it seems it was a bit presumptuous and probably ill conceived. Furthermore, it appears the grant money to change all of the signage will most likely not be forthcoming. While Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is “incredibly excited” about the prospects for financial gain, it seems he is very less than willing to part with any County funds to help accomplish this goal. There is no question that the anticipated 20 percent increase in tourism is hard to pass up, but the cost to the municipality to change everything will undoubtedly be exorbitant, rendering this conversion economically unrealistic.

As one alert reader pointed out, nobody will be able to find Fallonville without a firmware update to their GPS and all those free AAA maps will need to be revised. Historical Society President, and tourism guru, Marjorie Block will probably disagree, but it seems the cost to the town may very well exceed any economic benefit we could ever reap from this undertaking. Although I wasn’t fully aware of the immense burdens of public office, I knew I’d have to accept the ramifications of my actions. But, I never anticipated I’d be ostracized and outcast by my own family for an act as trivial as changing a name. It seems that roots run deep, and coming from a conservative thinking family with a long history in Saugerties this deed was viewed as nothing short of pure blasphemy. That seems to be the consensus of most constituents reaching out to me on the issue. I have been ridiculed, berated, called all kinds of distasteful and upsetting names, even threatened with bodily harm. If this were the 18th century I suspect I would have been tarred and feathered by now. And, as one kinder, gentler resident pointed out the “Fallons” just doesn’t have the same ring as the “Sawyers.” I couldn’t argue. I would ask that you kindly send to press an article that the Town Board is set to reconsider its action. Perhaps you could also enlighten your readers to the fact that the article first appeared online on April 1 before it ran in the print edition.


I mean no disrespect to Mr. Fallon, but I must extend my sincerest apologies to the residents of Saugerties for taking part in such a heinous act. Notwithstanding the fact that my initial involvement was entirely unintentional, I must have been a fool to think this was a good idea.

Bill Schirmer

Saugerties Town Board