Montgomery County

Open seat on Palatine Town Board filled

The Palatine Town Board has appointed vocal resident Sandra McCullough to fill an open seat on the b

The Palatine Town Board has appointed vocal resident Sandra McCullough to fill an open seat on the board. The seat was vacated on March 26 when former board member Shawn Cotton, who often disagreed with Town Supervisor Sara Niccoli, left to take a full-time position with the Montgomery County Department of Public Works.

During a special meeting on Monday, the board voted 3-1 vote to approve the appointment of McCullough, with only Niccoli voting no.

During the meeting the board also interviewed several other candidates who expressed interested in the position, Niccoli said.

McCullough, who is a former police officer in Florida and Montgomery counties, has repeatedly voiced her support for a new town hall in Stone Arabia. And during a previous board meeting she publicly called Niccoli a liar but never specifically said what she had lied about.

On Thursday, however, McCullough said she looks forward to working with Niccoli and the rest of the board.

“I think that there is a lot of potential in this town and we all need to work together,” she said. “We all need to put this town hall project behind us and move forward. I hope the supervisor is ready to do that.”

Niccoli threw her support behind Aaron Rorick a town resident who told the board he was undecided on the construction of a new town hall and could see the pros and cons of the project.

“I thought the process was rushed and the board knew who they were going to appoint before they even started the meeting,” Niccoli said.

Board member Michele Whiteman said that McCullough is aware of the issues that are facing the town and has knowledge of the community.

“The board took its time making a decision and we think Sandra is the right person for this position,” Whiteman said. “We have other issues that we need to put our time and energy into. It was important we took a step and put this behind us.”

Whiteman, who has also been at odds with Niccoli for several months, said the “in-fighting” in town government must come to an end.

“We all need to start working together and remember that we are here to serve the residents of this town,” she said.

The town hall proposal has created a schism between the Palatine Town Board and Niccoli. During a March board meeting, Niccoli announced her opposition to the project, but the four board members unanimously approved it in a December vote.

During a February board meeting, Cotton called for Niccoli’s resignation following a highly contentious public hearing at which residents voiced concerns over building a new town hall on a three-acre parcel in Stone Arabia. Three board members voted in favor of the motion, one abstained and Niccoli opposed, but the board couldn’t legally force the supervisor to resign, so their vote lacked any impact.

Niccoli and board members are due to appear in state Supreme Court in Fonda on April 20 after a town resident filed an Article 78 petition claiming the board and town officials deleted emails and correspondence regarding the new town hall project.

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