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Put dispute in the past

May 22, 2012
The Leader Herald

It was an unfortunate episode in Broadalbin town politics. Town Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo and the Town Board took town Highway Superintendent Lance Winney to court to stop him from cutting down trees near the town barn.

DiGiacomo claimed Winney - who took office in January - overstepped his authority with the tree-cutting project. The supervisor also claims Winney's management style has damaged morale among employees.

Winney, meanwhile, said his department was cutting down the trees to try to fix a water-runoff problem that had flooded part of the town barn. He also claims he inherited an inefficient department and accused DiGiacomo of encouraging employees to undermine his authority.

Fortunately, the legal fight appears to be over. Earlier this month, the Town Board agreed to drop the preliminary injunction against Winney. We suspect the arguing will continue, however.

Town officials don't have to be friends, but they should cooperate with each other. There's nothing wrong with disagreements and healthy debate, but in the end, town leaders should be looking out for the best interests of their constituents. There should be no need for costly litigation - at taxpayers' expense - when cooler heads can solve the town's problems. Personality clashes should play no role in town business.

Bickering is too common among the governing boards of our localities. We often see politicians throw wild accusations at their fellow board members and engage in unprofessional dialogue. Is that the type of behavior our citizens want to see among the officeholders representing them? We suspect not.

In Broadalbin's case, we hope town officials put their dispute behind them and move ahead in a positive direction.



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