In response to a past Letter to the Editor regarding the Chester Conservation Advisory Council

| 03 Jul 2024 | 10:00

    An opinion piece was penned by an individual, Jay Westerveld, regarding the Chester Conservation Advisory Council (CCAC). I try not to respond to every unfounded attack by this troubled individual but felt compelled to do so as he’s going after the integrity of the CCAC, individual members, and myself.

    To be crystal clear, the newly appointed chairwoman of the CCAC was recommended to the Town Board by an internal vote by the members of the CCAC. The vote was unanimous. No one was handpicked or pushed upon the CCAC by any means. The chairwoman joined the CCAC, participated in meetings, and got the nod by its members to become the new Chairwoman. Clearly, she earned it. That is the whole story. No Town Board member, including myself, attended the part of the meeting that a discussion and vote took place on who should be the new chair. I did not speak to CCAC members about my preferences as to who should be the new chair. Any unfounded claims to the contrary are just those, unfounded claims. CCAC meetings are open to the public, if you don’t believe me, feel free to attend the next meeting and ask the members yourself.

    Mr. Westerveld is unhappy that he is no longer on the CCAC. He was there for the first ever meeting earlier in the year and was included in the group’s email chains. Unfortunately, because of his many personal attacks and general rude attitude towards the other members of the group, I had to ask him to change his behavior or I would be forced to ask for his resignation from the group. Multiple members were coming to me in distress about how they were treated; confused about why any volunteer to the town would be treated the way they were treated by another supposed community member. He refused to respond at all to the request. I do not tolerate disrespect to members of a volunteer council/committee and thus took his lack of a response as his resignation. He clearly has not recovered since then.

    Everyone on the CCAC has shown they care about the environment and the conservation of our ecology/open space. We may not have “experts” according to some, but we have a group of dedicated community members who want to make a difference and already have been doing so. That being said, the CCAC is always looking for new members. Please reach out if you are interested in joining!

    Brandon Holdridge, Supervisor

    Town of Chester

    845-469-7000 x2