MILTON – The Town Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to appoint Diane Turo as town justice, filling the unexpired term of Carlos Calderon.
Voting in favor of the appointment were Supervisor Dan Lewza, Councilman Frank Blaisdell and Councilwoman Barbara Kerr. Voting against were Councilmen Bruce Couture and Benny Zlotnick. Asked during a break in the meeting why they voted no, Couture and Zlotnick said they had nothing against Turo and thought she would do a good job, but had favored the appointment of John Frolish.
Back in December, the board had seemed likely to accept the recommendation of the town Republican Committee, which subsequently endorsed Frolish. Lewza noted then that the all-Republican board had traditionally deferred to the Republican Committee in making such appointments.
But in early February the board opened up the process, interviewing Frolish and two additional candidates, Turo and John Cromie. Turo, unlike Frolish, is an attorney, working for the state Office of Court Administration in Albany. She previously worked for Saratoga County and in private practice. Zlotnick noted that most town and village justices in New York are not attorneys, and cited Frolish’s long record of community service.
The board on Wednesday accepted “with regret” Frolish’s resignation from the Facilities Committee and the Planning Board, on the latter of which he served as chairman. He said in resignation letters that he wanted “to pursue other interests.” Larry Woolbright was appointed to replace him as Planning Board chairman.
Lewza denied during a break in the meeting that he had changed his mind about the justice appointment, and said Frolish is “a very good friend of mine.” But, he said, when he examined the matter he determined Turo was better qualified, and while “I always want to support the Republican Committee,” his wider responsibility is to “the whole town” of Milton.
In other business, it was determined to notify residents of a potential water district in the White Oak Path and Red Oak Lane neighborhood. According to a preliminary report from the town’s consulting engineers, The Chazen Companies, the most cost-effective water source would be the Saratoga County Water Authority connection on North Line Road east of Route 50.
The annual Milton Matters Award was presented to Carol Lang, for her fund-raising efforts to benefit animal welfare.
There was discussion about drainage and other environmental issues reportedly associated with buildings near the Pheasant Run development west of Saratoga County Airport. Lewza said he plans to meet with all parties concerned next Thursday. But Zlotnick questioned whether the Town Board should be involved, saying he regarded it as an enforcement issue for the Building Department. Kerr supported Lewza’s position.