CLIFTON PARK – After the Clifton Park Town Board had two resignations this past week, the town has started the process of filling those positions.
Hours prior to a town board meeting this past week, former Councilwomen Amy Standaert and Amy Flood resigned from their positions. Although both resignation letters did not give a direct reason for the resignation, the letters came only days after it was made public the women were involved in an alleged misuse of town resources.
“The resignations were sudden,” town Supervisor Phil Barrett said Friday. “We weren’t given any indication that the two board members would be resigning Monday before the town board meeting following the Gazette story that clearly outlined misuse of office that was taking place with the two board members.”
The two board members’ resignations came after they had allegedly misused town resources, and for their alleged involvement in fabricating two events — an allegation of physical assault against Barrett, and an allegation that he had not properly followed COVID-19 rules after testing positive earlier this year.
There is not a definitive timeline yet of when the town board will appoint new members to fill the former seats of Flood and Standaert, Barrett explained.
“We will be working on the process of appointing two new board members very soon,” Barrett said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the town to move forward, and put the smearing, the negativity and disgusting collusionary tactics behind us, put that in our rear-view mirror. That’s history now, and we’re going to move forward in a positive nature.”
Committees will play a role in suggesting potential people to fill the seats, and the decision of who will be appointed is up to the town board, Barrett explained. At this point in time, it is too early to know who may fill the seats.
The two individuals who will eventually fill the positions will do so until the next election next fall, when the terms for those seats will be up. At that time, the two appointees would be able to run for election for the seats.
“Obviously it’s necessary to gain the support of a political party to get a candidacy off to a positive start,” Barrett said. “So whenever you’re running for office there’s a distinctive advantage if you are supported by a political party.”
The board has never had a situation like this, Barrett explained. People have previously left for various personal reasons, but not suddenly resigned under circumstances like this.
“We’ve never had a situation like this where questions of ethics and legality have surfaces and elected officials have soon thereafter resigned,” Barrett said. “This is nothing that we have dealt with in the past. This is very new territory for Clifton Park.”
The town is continuing its internal investigation into the situation. As information is being uncovered it is leading in “different directions,” Barrett explained. The town will see the investigation through to conclusion, which he hopes will be in the near future.
“We don’t want this entire negative, disgusting episode to linger on any further then it has to,” Barrett said. “People in Clifton Park are asking a lot of questions about the situation as it has evolved, so I want to make sure we can answer those questions as soon as possible and the direct evidence that we’ve uncovered, and that we continue to find is leading us in different directions. Different directions, as in discovering new paths.”
Town of Clifton Park attorney Thomas McCarthy said there is not a definitive timeline on when the vacancies will be filled, but explained the town is hoping to have them filled sometime early next year.
The three remaining members on the town board are members of the republican party, so it is likely the Republican party would be nominating individuals for the position. McCarthy explained a nomination from a political party to fill the seats would not be binding in any way, as the final decision of who will be appointed is up to the town board.