The Clifton Park Town Board appointed John Ryan to the Clifton Park Water Authority Board of Directors, Monday, April 21, despite objections by several Clifton Park Republican Committee members, who said the board was acting in direct opposition to Town Board Member Sandy Roth’s request to table the resolution.
I think the only responsible thing you could have done was tabled the resolution, said Anita Daly during public comment. A member of the Republican Committee, Daly said she was speaking Monday as a resident.
In a 4-to-0 vote, the board adopted Ryan’s appointment. Roth did not attend the meeting because he was recuperating from a Tuesday, April 15, heart attack.
`This action should not have been taken in the dark of night,` said Republican Committee member Hugh Burke, regarding the appointment.
Board members said the absence of Roth was being used as a cover to shade the real issue, which they said was the desire of the Republican Committee to control the Town Board’s actions.
Board Members Tom Paloucci, Scott Hughes and Lynda Walowit said they have been intimidated over the past several weeks to vote in step with the Republican Committee.
In defense of open and transparent government, the board decided to vote in favor of the Ryan appointment, according to Hughes.
`We are not a rubber stamp for any political party,` he said.
Bob Wilcox, chairman of the Clifton Park Republican Committee, in an e-mail sent Sunday, April 20, to members of the Town Board and Republican Committee, asked the board to table the resolution to appoint Ryan.
Wilcox said he had another candidate in mind, who is, he said, `a successful businessman and financial and volunteer supporter of yourselves.`
`What is set forth in these e-mails was wrong,` Hughes said. `I will choose the people of Clifton Park and not the political party.`
In comments read to the Town Board by Planning Board Chairman and Republican Committee member Steve Bulger, Roth stated, `As the Town Board liaison to the Clifton Park Water Authority, it is my responsibility to request that the appointment of John Ryan to perform the newly opened vacancy be removed, with no confirmation moving forward tonight.`
More than 11 years ago, Ryan expressed his frustration with the Clifton Park Water Authority in letters to the editor of several newspapers.
In an Oct. 24, 1997, letter that appeared in the Community News, Ryan said, `The CPWA has exhibited and has a well-documented arrogant and hostile attitude toward this community.`
He called the CPWA an `outlaw authority,` saying `outlaw because this authority could not get away with their current economic terror campaign against the citizens of this community if they were a private corporation or a purely public entity.`
Walowit and Paloucci defended Ryan’s earlier comments saying he was justifiably upset regarding a rate structure change and what he believed to be unfair treatment by the CPWA board.
Walowit said she served on the CPWA board at the time and that the rate structure change was a very contentious issue.
Town Board members have charged that other attempts to control the board have also been made by Wilcox.
Hughes said Wilcox proposed that all Town Board members attend political caucuses to discuss issues and vote among the committee on issues that were to go before the Town Board.
He said he believes all of this political outrage is linked to the Saratoga County water plan. The county is looking for Clifton Park to sign on to the $67 million county water system.
Attempts to reach Wilcox for comment were unsuccessful.“