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Catskill sticks to four councilpersons

Jan 05, 2011 6:33 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Town of Catskill official seal"][/caption]Bowing to its current two-two partisan split, the Town of Catskill opted at its annual reorganization meeting last night not to fill its empty fifth seat, vacated when former town supervisor Peter Markou won the county treasurer's position in November and started his job last month, and will continue as a four-man body until the November elections this year. Jim Planck of the Daily Mail reports today that the subject of a replacement came up at Catskill’s Tuesday night meeting when a town resident asked of the status of the fifth seat, and whether the board intended to appoint someone or have an election. Acting Supervisor Patrick Walsh said the board will stay at four members, and also clarified that he would remain as “acting” supervisor, noting that the determination was made because of the harmony of the board, as well as to avoid any possibility for the intrusion of partisan issues. Walsh and Councilman Robert Antonelli are Republicans, while Councilmen Michael Smith and Kevin Lennon are Democrats.

“We decided not to appoint me as Supervisor,” Walsh said, “so I’m still Acting Supervisor.”

“Rather than get into a political problem,” Walsh said, “we decided we get along well.”

“If all four of us could agree upon one person, we could possibly appoint that person,” he said, but indicated that was neither being explored nor anticipated.

Town resident Christopher Sutherland asked whether the town had been approached by any individuals interested in the seat, and Walsh said it had.

“There have been a few inquiries,” he said.

Antonelli clarified that because there is only one year left on the unexpired term of Markou’s seat, there is no requirement to fill it now.

“If this vacancy was going to be vacated for two years,” said Antonelli, “you would have to have a special election.”

Antonelli explained, however, that because not only Markou’s seat will be on the November 2011 election ballot, but also the two Council seats currently held by Walsh and Smith, it made more sense just to do it at that time, all at once.

“Then anybody who wants to can throw their hat in,” he said.

Smith agreed, also noting the board’s record of working well together.

“After we were elected, we were not partisan,” Smith said.

“We took our job,” he said, “with the task of fulfilling the problems of the town.”

“Over the last four years,” Smith said, “(that resulted in) success for the town council.”

“We opted to continue that,” he said, “because we have operated on the basis of agendas, rather than politics.”

“And,” he added, “we believe that will continue until the next election.”