The Lloyd Town Board held its reorganizational meeting on January 6 at 5 p.m., an hour later than the workshop meetings typically scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month. The time of those workshops was one of the areas where the new board’s fault lines showed, as now there are two Democrats sitting to supervisor Paul Hansut’s left and two Republicans to his right.
“During the election,” said new board member Joseph Mazzetti, “we talked about transparency and a small-town feeling.” Holding official meetings so early in the day, he felt, made it difficult for those working traditional hours or retrieving their children from after-school activities to participate. He even researched what happens in neighboring towns: “New Paltz holds their workshops at 7:30, Marlborough at 7,” he said. “None hold them at 4 p.m.”
Hansut explained that workshop meetings in Lloyd are held at that time so that department heads — who are expected to attend and report on their areas — can appear during the regular work day, which ends at 4:30 p.m. for most town employees. “They don’t have to leave and come back,” said Hansut. “Four o’clock seems to work. We live stream the meetings, and the recording is broadcast on the Friday, Wednesday, and Monday of the following week.” While votes are occasionally taken, Hansut said that it’s limited to those situations which must be acted upon before the next regular meeting.
Mazzetti wasn’t convinced. “There’s nothing like people being in attendance at a real meeting,” he said. “The department heads understand that they must show up, and we can’t cater to the few. Why not hold them at seven?”
“It could lead to overtime in some cases,” said Hansut, a point which Kevin Brennie agreed with.
“That could be expensive for the taxpayers,” Brennie pointed out.
Hansut also mentioned that the board’s present schedule — holding meetings in the first and third weeks of the month, rather than two weeks in a row as is done in other towns — has led to smoother governance. With workshops two weeks before the regular meeting, it gives council members ample opportunity to get feedback from residents and other stakeholders regarding any business being undertaken; in Hansut’s estimation, holding meetings in quick succession makes that process much more difficult to manage.
Neither Guerriero nor Mazzetti were convinced, and both voted against continuing to hold workshops at 4 in the afternoon.
There was no dissent about appointing Planning Board alternate member Peter Brooks to complete the term of Scott Saso, who has resigned; Brooks will now be on the board at least through 2020. Dave Plavchak was unanimously approved to replace Saso as chairman.
When it came to the ethics committee, however, another partisan split occurred when Hansut proposed naming attorney Peter Cordovano to that body. Guerriero was not concerned by the fact that Cordovano is a Republican, but that he is an active member of the party who works on campaigns. In the past, Cordovano also was chairman of the New Paltz Republican Committee. Jeffrey Paladino saw things differently, saying that Cordovano is an attorney, “an upstanding guy” and would be “an asset.”
“The point is that he is heavily involved with the Republican party,” said Mazzetti, after which he and Guerriero voted against the nomination.
The two Democrats also demonstrated an interest in reining in spending, questioning the amount earned by the recreation director and a raise — from $21.75 to $25 per hour — for court officers. In the case of the recreation director, the reason for his salary was explained as being because he has assumed some duties formerly performed by an outside cleaning service. Court officer positions, the board members were told, can be difficult to fill, and the raise was at the request of the town justices. In the past, police officers fulfilled those duties, and hiring dedicated court officers saves tax money.
Other routine motions to designate such things as official banks and newspapers, salaries of certain appointed employees and representatives to the annual statewide meeting of elected town officials were passed without comment, but those votes for which questions arose could be a harbinger of a different tenor in Lloyd Town Hall for 2016.