Republican Mark Seber has been accounts commissioner for less than two weeks, but he already has some new ideas for the City Council.
Seber is settled into his new office in City Hall, but he said he is still learning the city’s software. He defeated Democrat incumbent Stacie Salvi in November’s election.
“The transition went pretty well,” Seber said. “I have to thank Stacie for her help in the transition. She met with me several times, provided me with information, so it made the transition easy.”
Seber chose to keep Salvi’s staff, including Deputy Accounts Commissioner Emilia Foard, who is entering her 11th year in that post.
“I think it was important that the transition go smoothly and the office run like nothing has changed,” Seber said. “What I was told and what I observed is that they do a very good job on a daily basis.”
Foard said that although she had concerns about keeping her job after the election, she was secure in the work that she does.
“Mark comes in with a great personality every day,” she said. “He’s made us feel very welcome since he’s come on board.”
At the last City Council meeting, Seber announced his intentions to propose a resolution next month to extend the time for public input at meetings from three to five minutes and to add a second public input session after the resolutions are considered.
Seber also wants to move the second meeting of the month held on the third Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“I just think it starts to open up the process a little bit for more public input,” Seber said. “Whether I get any support on that or not remains to be seen.”
Seber opposed all of the resolutions at the last meeting because he said that he did not get a copy of the agenda until the day of the meeting.
An organizational measure passed at the last meeting stated that commissioners would get two days’ notice before considering a resolution.
At the time, Seber said that he intends to continue to oppose resolutions if he doesn’t get proper notice, except in cases of emergency resolutions the city needs to pass.
Since taking office, Seber said, he has observed very little communication in day-to-day operation among the commissioners, something that Salvi also brought up as a campaign issue.
“You almost have five governments running simultaneously,” Seber said. “It seems to be when everyone is in charge, no one is in charge. I don’t think it makes for an efficient way to run anything.”
Seber, 58, was on the Mechanicville school board for nine years in the 1980s and again for five years in the 1990s. He was also the school’s business manager for three years before retiring.
“I do believe that my budgetary experience in the school district helps me here,” he said. “Having coming from the school environment I have a sense of what goes on in a government office.”
Although the staff is still getting to know Seber, Foard said that he is very accessible.
“Stacie was involved in a lot of activities outside this office,” Foard said. “He seems to more staying in the office and issues that pertain to this office.”
Salvi was a member of the city’s rescue squad and also was involved with the library and community center while she was accounts commissioner. She remains active in all three.
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