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ACCORD REACHED ON APPOINTMENTS TO TOWN PANELS

The long-simmering issue of appointments to Orchard Park's volunteer town agencies was settled Wednesday:

The solidly GOP board outvoted Supervisor Toni Cudney, a Democrat, to name two Republicans and one Conservative committeemen "alternates" to the Planning and Zoning boards and to the temporary commission now rewriting the town's zoning code and master plan.

The alternate postions were first discussed last year, Councilman John Mills said, "because it is eminently unfair to applicants to have to wait for a quorum if a member is absent." Alternates attend all sessions of their respective boards and vote in the absence of a regular appointee.

Mrs. Cudney asked the board to wait until last January to act so applicants could send in resumes and letters of intent.

Last month, a heated exchange between Mrs. Cudney and Councilman David Buyer raised the issue of "party politics" -- a point not mentioned again Wednesday when the Town Board named Remy Orffeo, 73 Ventura Drive, a Conservative committeeman, the planning alternate and Republican Committeemen Paul F. Gregory, 5753 Lake Ave., alternate planner and William J. McNamara Jr. of of 141 Stonehenge Drive to the zoning commission.

Also appointed to a vacancy on the recreation commission was David R. Bray who "holds a master's degree in gerontology and who has been waiting longer than any other volunteer to serve his community," Buyer said. "at least three years since he first volunteered."

Maintaining that several of the appointments were "sprung on" her and that she had no chance to either read the resumes or interview the candidates, Mrs. Cudney abstained in three of the votes.

Noting the board discussed these appointments since March "and their resumes were available since then," Mills said: "As senior board member I felt it was my duty to move these appointments forward and not wait any longer."

After the meeting Councilwoman Nancy Ackerman noted that Bray "was a real find, and will be a boon to our Seniors Program. All of these men are eminently qualified, and although Bray, who just became a Republican committeeman, and the others have political affiliations, they are good guys. They will all be great assets to the community and we are lucky to have them willing to serve."

In other business, the board set two public hearings for Oct. 20: One to rezone a parcel of land on Southwestern Boulevard between Westgate Boulevard and Cherokee Drive to business from residential for a gymnastics facility; the other to get public input on programs worthy of federal block grant funding.

"We participate in the Erie County Consortium and can apply for three projects that could get a total of $90,000," Mrs. Cudney said.

"Last year we sought $45,000 as a matching grant for the Boys & Girls Club and I am happy to say that they raised their $45,000 share."

That allowed the facility to rebuild entrances and restrooms, making them wheelchair friendly, and install an elevator and ramps so that handicapped children can use all the facilities in the building located in the old Lincoln School.

To be eligible projects must have some component affecting the lower-income segment of the community, the handicapped or the elderly.

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