This week I learned that partisan politics continues to permeate the Town of Chester Town Board. At the April 14th meeting of the Chester Town Board, following Executive Session and more than likely, after people had left the meeting and logged-off the meeting, the Town Board came back from Executive Session and Councilman Robert Courtney nominated Anthony Ardisana to the vacant Town Board position.
After eight months of a vacancy on the Town Board, Councilman Courtney, likely following the request of the Republican Town Committee members, nominated Anthony Ardisana to the vacant seat, this nomination was seconded by Cindy Smith.
Councilman Becker voted no.
Anthony Ardisana was sworn in at the meeting of April 28.
It must be explained that at previous meetings, Councilman Courtney was adamant that individuals who are running for this office, this coming November, would not be considered to be appointed to this vacant position; Brandon Holdridge, Larry Dysinger, Tony Ardisana (all of whom are running in the November election for Town Board) and Robert Klein, who would not be running for Town Board, put in applications and with the exception of Mr. Klein, were interviewed, but on Wednesday night, April 14th, the Republican/Conservative Majority of the Town Board, did exactly that; they nominated Mr. Ardisana.
The fact that the Board would be making the nomination that night was not even on the agenda of the Town Board, and it came after an Executive Session which is a total lack of transparency on the Board’s part. Supervisor Valentine, more than likely, knew that Councilman Courtney was going to make this nomination on April 14.
During the Town Board comments section of the meeting of April 28, Tom Becker voiced his disappointment to Supervisor Valentine because the nomination was not on the agenda and because it followed an executive session.
Councilman Becker believes that it is important to have a transparent Board and to follow an agenda. He also requested that important votes take place prior to any Executive Session.
There was no response from Supervisor Valentine.
I applaud Tom Becker. Larry Dysinger also spoke and stated that the Board at a previous meeting, had an agenda item to appoint the Highway Superintendent. Why not do the same for the Councilperson’s seat?
The current Town Board should be making sure that the public is aware of all the items on the Agenda. The Town residents should be able to view the meeting or attend the meeting and know exactly what will be presented.
This was not an emergency, as the seat has been vacant since Orlando Perez vacated in September of 2020 so that his wife could be appointed as Deputy Town Clerk. There previously was no urgent need to appoint anyone to the seat until after Election Day, so why now?
If the Town of Chester Town Board can add non-emergency items to the agenda at every meeting, residents would never know what exactly is expected to be discussed at the Town Board meeting.
I urge Chester residents to watch the Town of Chester Board meetings to know what is happening in our Town. Board meetings can be seen on the Town website either the night of the meeting, or on YouTube after the meeting is over. I urge the Town of Chester Supervisor to set the Agenda for the Town Board meetings and keep to the Agenda. Partisan politics should not play a role.