Town meeting starts rocky, ends smoothly
By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published March 28, 2007
The first meeting of the town's newly elected commission started much like the old commission with accusations against a town employee.
It ended, however, on a much different tone with commissioners sounding quite collegial as they decided how they would address future issues facing the town.
The discordant note at the beginning of the meeting came when Anna Yadevia, who was defeated in her recent bid for re-election, accused Mark Davis, the town's public works director, of "malicious vandalism" when he covered an official seal on a town truck with spray paint.
The truck was recently sold to a town resident and auto wholesaler for $5,000.
The town's attorney, Todd Burbine, defended Davis' action, but acknowledged the buyer had not been notified the town decal would be painted over.
Yadevia, who spoke during the public forum, demanded that the town reimburse the truck's buyer $1,000.
She led the previous commission in deciding to sell the truck, effectively denying Davis personal use of a town truck.
Commissioner Leslie Peck-Epstein, who supported selling the truck, said the spray painting was "absolutely awful" and said the seats had been damaged. She suggested "something else is going on."
This view was sharply countered by new Commissioner Mark Deighton who said the buyer, an auto wholesaler, knew the truck could not be sold with a town decal on its door.
The long-standing truck debate began several years ago when resident Gladys Rock argued that Davis should not have personal use of a town truck.
Former Mayor Linda Wilson calls the truck sale a "bad decision" that created a "hardship" for Davis and reneged on a long-standing benefit granted to Davis by previous commissions.
The new commission declined to offer the buyer a reimbursement, but did authorize Commissioner Fred Steiermann to investigate the matter.
The balance of the meeting was devoted to appointment of commissioners to areas of supervision and the election of a vice mayor.
When Commissioner Deborah Bradbeer nominated Peck-Epstein to serve another term as vice mayor because of her "long tenure" on the commission, none of the new commissioners would second her motion.
Peck-Epstein seconded her own nomination. "I don't think we'll see that one passed," she said.
Instead, former commissioner and mayor, Mark Deighton, was elected vice mayor.
New Mayor Nick Simons also appointed Deighton to oversee the town's finances.
Steiermann was put in charge of public works, while Peck-Epstein and Bradbeer will be in charge of public safety and building, respectively.
Simons said he will be re-instituting a special finance committee to review the towns' finances, its recent audit, and recommendations for possible changes in how the town's finances are handled.
"Our financial records are in disarray," says Simons, pointing to the recent audit which cost the town more than $55,000, nearly three times the normal fee.