Milton Town Board/Ballston Journal

Milton Board Debates How to Pick New Board Member

MILTON – The Milton Town Board on Wednesday voted 3-2 to place advertisements advising residents that they can apply to be appointed to fill a vacancy on the board.

The vacancy will be caused by the upcoming resignation of Councilman Bruce Couture, who voted against the resolution along with Supervisor Dan Lewza. Voting in favor were Councilwoman Barbara Kerr and Councilmen Benny Zlotnick and Frank Blaisdell.

Milton Town Board/Ballston Journal

Milton Town Board/Ballston Journal

All elected officials in town are Republicans, and the Milton Republican Committee has already issued a statement indicating its intention to interview candidates for Couture’s job, and recommend a candidate to the Town Board. The appointee would have to run for election in November in order to retain the position.

Traditionally, the Milton Town Board has accepted the recommendations of the Republican committee when filling a vacancy. On Wednesday, Lewza at first said that’s what he wanted to do, and that it would be improper for the board to discuss a political appointment. However, under pressure from Kerr, Zlotnick, and members of the public including John Olenik, Lewza agreed that anyone from any party or none could apply for the position and be considered by the board. But he said the town did not need to pay for advertising.

Last winter, there was a similar controversy about the appointment of a town justice. At first, Lewza made similar comments about going along with the Republican Committee’s choice. But ultimately he, Blaisdell and Kerr were in a 3-2 majority to reject the committee’s choice for justice and appoint a different candidate. That candidate, Diane Turo, was a Republican.

Couture said his last meeting would be Feb. 15, two weeks later than he had previously announced.

In the village of Ballston Spa, most of which is in the town of Milton, there will be an election on March 21 for two trustee positions and the village justice. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are expected to run candidates for all three positions.

In other business at the Town Board agenda meeting, the board set a Feb. 15 vote on authorizing the purchase of a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado for $26,543.20, to be bought under state contract. The pickup will replace a 2004 Ford F-150, which has failed inspection and will be auctioned.

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Reporter Bob Conner has worked 21 years in various positions at the Gazette of Schenectady, and before that four years as a reporter at the Glens Falls Post-Star. He won two first-place writing awards from the New York Associated Press Association for newspapers with circulation between 50,000 and 250,000. Bob has a Phi Beta Kappa bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University, and an associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling from HVCC. He is a published author and is currently writing a historical novel about the last four months in the life of Ulysses S.Grant

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