I had been reading a lot about the contentious monthly meetings in the town of Broadalbin, so for the first time since retiring from office, I attended this month's session. Since there were only slightly over a dozen from the public present, and no press, I'd like to offer my observations here.
First observation: Some things never change. When going door to door for signatures, certain candidates promise to work "for the people." Once elected, they represent themselves, their preferences, likes and dislikes. Secondly, although New York state law clearly defines the duties of all offices under town law, these officeholders spend their entire term in office creating problems and then solving those self-created problems. None of this serves the almost 6,000 of us paying taxes and assuming all is well.
For example, the highway department is apparently mired in issues unrelated to maintaining our road system. Several times, the department head seemed so entrenched in his ideas that neither the counsel of the town attorney nor advice from the bookkeeper could convince him or his supporters attending that the ideas were neither legal nor practical and allow the meeting to move on. Though solutions were offered, there seemed resistance to understand. Comments from the public degraded into ad hominem attacks on certain board members and others not present to defend their names. It was ugly; it was a shame.
Joe DiGiacomo, who is the only supervisor ever to have first served on the council, is an able pilot of the good ship Broadalbin. In Jim Wheeler, he has a wise first mate. But while some of the crew are on-task, sadly, others seem busy drilling holes in the hull.
I urge you to attend a Town Board meeting. Put faces to the names in charge and observe how they handle themselves and town business. As taxpayers, we have a right to trust that those we have elected serve with the right motive, keeping personal negatives out, and being fair in their judgments. If they are following the law, if they are upholding the ordinances, support them. If, upon observation, they are not, remove them by election. Be fair in what you expect. Judge the sincerity of their commitment to your town and your best interests. Regardless of your experience, you will be a more informed voter - or better yet, a future candidate.