Two Glenville Town Board members, both Democrats, said they are upset about not being notified a meeting Wednesday had been canceled.
However, some people were notified that the board’s work session was canceled.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle, a Republican, called the criticism about the cancellation a political ploy.
“If it was negligence it was unprofessional,” said board member Mike Godlewski, who is seeking reelection this November. “If it was purposeful, it was pretty juvenile.”
Godlewski said board members will usually either get an agenda for the work session or a notification from Koetzle or the clerk that the meeting had been canceled.
He said this time neither of those actions occurred.
Godlewski said he checked the town website early Wednesday morning and saw nothing about the meeting. He looked later in the early evening to see that it had been canceled.
By that time, board member Michael Aragosa had left dinner with his family to attend the meeting. When Aragosa arrived at town hall, he found the doors were locked.
What made matters worse, Godlewski said, was Koetzle had attended the opening of the Republican campaign headquarters that evening. Deputy Supervisor Gina Wierzbowski was also at that event.
But Koetzle said the opening of the Republican headquarters had nothing to do with canceling the meeting. That event took place at 5:30 p.m. and the board’s work session had been scheduled for 7 p.m.
“It’s been an issue we’ve brought to [Koetzle’s] attention a number of times over the past four years that him being both the chair and de facto leader of his county political party while also being the town supervisor is a problem,” Godlewski said. “It kind of came to a head yesterday, where he either forgot or purposely didn’t let the two Democrats on the board know a work session was canceled to go out and do Republican political things.”
Koetzle announced on July 2 that he would be stepping down as chairman of the county’s Republican Party.
Aragosa, who is running against Koetzle for supervisor, posted about the meeting cancellation on Facebook.
“I guess supervisor Koetzle is too busy campaigning for four more years to inform the board of this cancellation,” Aragosa said in his Facebook post.
However, on Thursday he wouldn’t go as far as to say the failure to notify the members was intentional.
“Maybe he was busy and it slipped his mind or maybe he didn’t feel like he needed to tell me I should figure these things out for myself — I just don’t know,” Aragosa said. “I don’t attempt to figure out how other people think.”
Many people commented on Aragosa’s post, including board member Jim Martin, who indicated that as someone who is running for town board, Aragosa should have a better understanding of what’s happening.
Both Godlewski and Aragosa said the failure to notify them about the cancellation was not respectful.
Aragosa also said the work sessions provide an opportunity for board members to have input on things that are happening in the town.
“To cancel it kind of leaves us without a voice basically,” Aragosa said.
Koetzle said the cancelation notification is a courtesy and that board members are responsible for knowing if a meeting is happening or not.
“When you are expected to show up to be an active participant at a meeting and you don’t get an agenda on that meeting you’re either showing up unprepared and unconcerned or you haven’t thought enough to call the supervisor or the clerk and say ‘Where’s my agenda?’” Koetzle said. “We’re all big boys and girls and we have to take responsibility for ourselves.”
Koetzle said a notification was posted to the town website and sent to people on the town’s listserv. The website shows the notification was submitted around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
The time the notice was posted is later than normal, Koetzle said. However, he said, having Labor Day and other projects going on has kept the town busy this week.
Koetzle also said Aragosa voted on a resolution at the town’s organizational meeting to only hold work sessions when needed.
“Therefore, if there is no agenda posted, then there is no meeting,” Koetzle said.
The meeting was canceled because the board has established that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not have work sessions if there was nothing major to discuss, Koetzle said.