Salem approves formulating two policies in Christmas Eve meeting

The Salem Town Board approved creating policies to govern where town supervisors, individuals and groups can engage the public at Town Hall and for allowing supervisors to add items to a meeting agenda at a special meeting at 8 a.m. this morning.

Supervisor Dennis Faber, with the support of Supervisor Joseph Meier, called the meeting. State statutes says a special meeting can be called by the town chairman or by two supervisors.

Faber said he attempted to have the items added to the agenda of a special meeting held last Tuesday, but they were not added. He then moved to call the special meeting because he felt there was urgency to see if board members wanted to create a policy immediately.

Chairman Linda Valentine, who typically sets agenda items, said Faber’s items were not added to Tuesday’s meeting because he did not follow proper procedure available to every town resident and that she had already vetted the agenda with other board members as having a single item to be discussed in closed session, as allowed under state law.

The board first approval was to establish a policy with regard to where supervisors are allowed to engage citizens in the Town of Salem public building during all hours. The vote was 4 to 1 with Valentine voting no.

Faber said he felt such a policy was needed after receiving complaints about Valentine sitting at a card table in the vestibule of the Town Hall in recent weeks while people have come in to pay taxes. Some of these people have told him they have felt intimidated by Valentine’s presence, Faber said.

“They say, what is she doing there … how can you allow her to do that?” Faber said.

In addition, Faber and some others said they are concerned that without a policy, inappropriate electioneering can be take place within Town Hall.

After the meeting, Valentine said she has been sitting at a card table in the vestibule of Town Hall during times in which residents are coming in to pay taxes, when she does not have other commitments.

Her intent is to answer questions about tax bills or other town matters at a time when she is likely to encounter town residents, Valentine said.

She is not campaigning , she said.

The discussion about the item was lengthy, running over an hour. It include a general citizen comments sectiona dn several commetns from audience members once the first agenda item discussion was under way.

Valentine said she will continue to be available in the vestibule during tax bill season as her schedule allows.

The board acted much quicker on the second item. That motion called for the town to establish a policy allowing any supervisor to add items to any agenda.

That motion also passed 4 to 1, with Valentine dissenting.

A third resolution proposed by the agenda was not acted on because after discussion it was felt that it is already addressed by state statutes

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7 Comments

  1. Jack says:

    Remember to vote in the next election. Keep in mind the problems created by the chairman.

  2. Matt says:

    It seems to me that Salems issues will never be resolved as long as Linda Valentine is in there. She seems to create issues rather than solve issues. I think when it comes time for re-election, she must go! It is amazing the amount of bickering that goes on with small town politics.

  3. Chris Skrzynecki says:

    I don’t think the Chair creates problems, she just brings up items that are worthy of further review.

  4. Carl says:

    I was at the town hall lobby, in and out for almost 2 hours on Wed. doing recylcing of paper and cardboard and saw Linda talking to a few people that came up to her. And not once did I hear her talk about the upcoming election. I thought that Fri. meeting was a big waste of time. The only sensible comment was by Pat O’connel at the end who said special meetings should be for an urgent cause.

  5. valentine says:

    Remember all, it was not the Chairman who set up this meeting on this special day at this most inappropriate hour on a day that the town offices are CLOSED!
    .

    That blunder can be claimed by both Faber and Meier. We can thank them for a very obvious error in judgement and misuse of employee and board and audience members’ time. … and the time of the reporters!
    .

    Nothing, absolutely nothing at all that was discussed needed to be discussed this day.

    It was a flagrant disrespect to everyone by two board members who should know better.

    Wonder who will be running for chairman come Jan 4th 5pm!

  6. salemethics says:

    We can only hope it’s not you.

  7. Chris Skrzynecki says:

    ” We can only hope it’s not you”??? How about ‘ We can only VOTE it’s not you. ‘ Lest we forget that it was the majority of the Salem Voters who picked Mrs. Valentine to be the Town Chair. ( The majority of Voters, not the majority of the Town Citizens. Remember, if you don’t vote you really can’t complain.) For all of you who don’t like what Linda Valentine is doing or more importantly, what she represents, put up your own candidate who represents what you want out of local goverment. I want some one who cares enough to see that the system is broken. One who see’s that it can be better. One who is willing to stand in front and take the name calling and the ridicule that comes with change. My candidate, Linda Valentine, is standing up in front, where’s yours?
    Lastly. Just who are you, salemethics? Not that I care, it’s just that I don’t understand why people who feel strongly enough about something to want to say their piece, won’t then stand behind it with a name.
    Salem resident and voter, Chris Skrzynecki

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