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Rotterdam Town Board to name new member as Martin is eyed for county seat

Friday, February 1, 2013
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— Town Board member Matt Martin is expected to get the nod for the Schenectady County Legislature seat vacated by now-state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

Martin is expected to resign his position on the board on Saturday in anticipation that he’ll be appointed by the legislature’s majority on Feb. 12. The vacancy created by his resignation is expected to be filled by former board member Nicola DiLeva following a special meeting in Town Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday.

DiLeva, a Conservative, will serve out the remaining year on Martin’s four-year term after her appointment is ratified. Martin, a Democrat, will need to run for the remaining two years on Santabarbara’s term in November.

Santabarbara was elected to what is now the 111th Assembly District. The seat was previously occupied by Republican George Amedore Jr., who waged an unsuccessful run for state Senate instead of vying for the seat.

Rotterdam Supervisor Harry Buffardi was pleased DiLeva will be rejoining the board. He credited her for helping to craft a budget that reinstated a number of town employees slated to be laid off by the administration of Frank Del Gallo in 2011.

“She’s interested in the job and she’s obviously very experienced,” he said Thursday.

But the appointment isn’t sitting well with everyone. Board member Robert Godlewski blasted Buffardi and his allies for ramming the appointment through during an uncharacteristic weekend meeting.

“These guys bring new meaning to open and transparent government,” he said mockingly. “I think it’s an insult to the public, to be honest with you.”

Godlewski questioned whether the public was given proper notice about the Saturday meeting, which was announced late Thursday afternoon. He said Buffardi had no justifiable reason to schedule a meeting on such short notice, since the board has its normal business meeting in less than two weeks.

“You have all of next week you could do it,” he said.

Buffardi said having the meeting on Saturday was to accommodate Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder, who is expected to be out of town starting Monday. Absent Calder, the remaining three board members would need to approve DiLeva’s appointment for it to be ratified.

DiLeva served four years on the county legislature after securing a four-year term as a Republican in 1997. She lost the seat in 2001, when she was beaten by former city mayor Karen Johnson.

She remained politically inactive until the Rotterdam Democrats nominated her for the Town Board in 2009. DiLeva beat out incumbent Republican Stan Marchinkowski and independent Michael O’Connor for the seat, which carried only two years.

DiLeva’s discourse with Del Gallo soured shortly after she took office. She accused his administration of being secretive and unresponsive to the needs of residents, including Godlewski, who was Del Gallo’s deputy at the time.

The meltdown between the two board members reached a peak in November 2011, when DiLeva introduced a series of 11th-hour amendments to Del Gallo’s proposed budget that reduced the tax increase by nearly 4 percent. DiLeva also introduced a last-minute resolution to name a private law firm as the new town attorney without first consulting Del Gallo or Godlewski.

Buffardi blamed this history for Godlewski’s ire toward DiLeva’s appointment. He sees nothing wrong with having a meeting on Saturday so Calder can support DiLeva.

“This brings a more complete quotient of the board to play,” he said.

 
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