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Town’s new broom starts early sweep in Chatham


CHATHAM–The Chatham Town Board held a special meeting Monday, December 7 and voted to issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for town attorney, town land use attorney, town accounting firm, and town engineer. The board will also advertise for candidates for code enforcement officer, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals members to fill the upcoming vacancies. Each board will have one vacancy.

Councilmen Bob Balcom wrote in an email that the motions passed 4 to 1. Councilman Henry Swartz was the only person to vote against the motion, according to Mr. Balcom.

Supervisor-elect Maria Lull, who is currently a board member, requested the meeting, which Mr. Balcom says lasted all of 8 minutes. There was an announcement on the town’s website about the session.

In an email to The Columbia Paper, Ms. Lull said, “To ensure a smooth transition, we want to give professionals and the public an opportunity to become involved in town governance. While we value all the good people who serve on our boards, one should not be re-appointed indefinitely. Therefore, we are accepting applications for one seat each on the Planning and Zoning boards. After interviewing by the Town Board, a decision and appointment will be made early next year.”

Current Supervisor Town Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt announced last month that the town’s code enforcement officer, Walt Simonsmeier, was retiring at the end of the month. The board hired Ray Preusser as comptroller in September for a term to last through December 31. Tal Rappleyea was appointed town attorney last January. He has served in that position for several years.

Mr. Balcom wrote about the motion, saying, “These are all critical positions in our town and we want the public to know they are available and that we are hoping for a broad list of candidates with diverse experience to appoint from.”

Mr. Balcom won reelection to the council in November. His fellow Democrat Landra Haber also won a seat on the board. Ms. Lull ran with Mr. Balcom and Mr. Haber on the Democrat Party line, though she is a registered Republican.

Ms. Lull has scheduled a swearing-in ceremony at noon January 1 at the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall in the Village of Chatham. The board will host an organization meeting at 10 a.m. January 2 at the Town Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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