GLOVERSVILLE — Mayor Dayton King appointed two new members to the Gloversville Housing Authority board at the city’s Common Council meeting Tuesday night.
The appointments follow a four-week period in May and June during which two members resigned, citing political interference from King and a general lack of productivity.
Former 2nd Ward Councilman John Castiglione has been appointed to fill James Del Savio’s seat. Del Savio, who resigned as the board’s vice-chairman May 17, said the board was hampered by interference from King, and general inaction by the board regarding several concerns raised by tenants led to his exit.
Local small-business owner Beau Kicinski has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Greg Gottung’s June 8 resignation. Gottung said there was no point serving on the board, as nothing ever gets done.
Del Savio was appointed by King in August, and Gottung was appointed in March. King appoints five members to the seven-member board and said he only became involved in the board’s work because of friction between the board and authority employees and tenants.
The board and authority have weathered significant turmoil this year, including calls by tenants and employees for the resignation of authority executive director Timothy Mattice. Since January, several employees have been fired by Mattice and reinstated by the board. A federal investigation was also launched into alleged ethics violations by Mattice.
Authority employees also unionized under the Civil Service Employees Association and launched a $10 million lawsuit against the board and Mattice for allegedly violating whistleblower statutes.
King said he hopes the appointments of Castiglione and Kicinski will quell tensions on the board.
“What I’m looking for is someone to ratchet it down a bit,” said King. “I’ve worked with (Castiglione) before, and he listens. He can come in with one opinion, listen, and change his mind. I’ve seen him do that before; he doesn’t come in with any preconceived ideas.”
King said Kicinski, who owns The Pizza Joint in Gloversville, is “cool, calm and collected.” He further praised Kicinski as a local business owner who provides jobs and is well regarded in the city.
King said he still respects Del Savio and Gottung, despite them having bailed from the board after 10 and four months, respectively.
“The people that resigned, maybe it wasn’t for them, and I respect that,” King said. “I think sometimes discussions can get heated, and people have strong opinions, and some people don’t want to be part of that.”
He said he hopes Housing Authority board meetings can “go back to being boring,” after the new appointments.
“Hopefully, I’ll stay out of it and let the board do what they need to do,” King added.
Castiglione, 77, served on the Common Council from 2008-12 and said he’s got a lot of learning to do but is excited to join the housing board.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity of working with the people on the board and making the living conditions better for those that live there,” he said.
Castiglione added that he’s aware of the friction that’s afflicted the Housing Authority recently.
“I’m concerned about it, and I’ll be more aware of what’s happening and after going around and listening [to the other members],” he said.
Castiglione’s cousin is GHA tenant Bob Castiglione, who is a frequent and staunch critic of the board. A board meeting in May resulted in the police being called after Bob Castiglione reportedly continued to speak outside of the public comment period. No arrest was made.
John Castiglione said he’s known board chairman Michael Ponticello since Ponticello was 8 years old, and that he coached Ponticello in youth football.
Kicinski did not respond to a request for comment.