Berne town officials after Vincent again
Noah Zweifel reports in the Altamont Enterprise about the ongoing political feud against farmer Emily Vincent by Berne's code-enforcement officer, Chance Townsend, and the highway superintendent, Randy Bashwinger. In 2018, Vincent installed a temporary greenhouse without a permit, because a permit was not required. But Townsend said she did need a permit and that Vincent owed the town money. Then Bashwinger, Berne Supervisor Sean Lyons, and Deputy Supervisor Dennis Palow tried to get Vincent to resign from the planning board, with false allegations and insinuations about her sexuality. Democrats, who held a 3-to-2 majority at the time on the town board, defended Vincent and kept her on the board. Until 2020, when Republicans took control of the board and illegally fired Vincent from the planning board, and replaced her with Thomas Spargo, a former State Supreme Court Justice who was disbarred after a bribery conviction, for which he served two years in jail. So Vincent successfully sued the town and was put back on the planning board. Earlier this year, Vincent wanted a building permit for a barn, only to be told that Townsend had “too much on the docket.” But after she called the town’s supervisor, Lyons, that she was able to get the permit. Now though, because a contractor poured extra shale over a driveway on her property, Townsend and Bashwinger are ordering Vincent to replace a culvert, even though it was installed by the town, runs underneath a town road, and appears to terminate away from her property. Townsend won't return her calls, and neither Bashwinger nor Townsend answered email or calls from the newspaper. Vincent has 30 days, as of Dec. 22, to replace the culvert. Read more about this story in the Altamont Enterprise.