Berne town government reorganized for 2021
Noah Zweifel is reporting for The Altamont Enterprise the Berne Town Board last week made most of its appointments for the year at its reorganizational meeting. Most notable was Jody Jansen’s reappointment as dog-catcher. Jansen was first appointed to the office in January 2020, replacing long-time dog catcher Cheryl Baitsholts. That appointment was one of the most controversial, and residents slammed the board in meetings, on social media, and in The Altamont Enterprise for replacing a much-beloved public figure with someone who has no known experience with animals. The board left the code-enforcement officer appointment vacant so the search for a replacement for Chance Townsend can continue. Townsend was said to be uncertified, but there is some confusion about his status. In addition to Townsend, applicants for the code-enforcement officer position included Timothy Lippert, who previously served as Berne’s building inspector and currently serves as Rensselaerville’s building inspector and code-enforcement officer, and Kevin Flensted, of Westerlo, who serves as the chief of the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company and is a plant manager at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. In a split vote, the board also appointed a new planning board member to replace sheep farmer Emily Vincent. Last January 1, the board demoted Vincent to an alternate post in order to appoint Thomas Spargo, a former judge and convicted felon, as chairman of the planning board. Vincent challenged the decision in state Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor, and she was able to retain her post until its expired December 31. The board has now appointed Bob Kipper to replace Vincent. The board also appointed Joe Martin to serve as planning board chair. Read the full story in The Altamont Enterprise.