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Bill-paying for one? Town 'out of luck'

It almost sounds like a bad joke: How many Orchard Park Town Board members does it take to pay the bills?

Answer: Two.

And what happens when there is only one board member?

"You're out of luck," Town Attorney John C. Bailey told board members during Wednesday's work session.

Supervisor Janis A. Colarusso said she asked Bailey to research the issue, which is one of the potential problems with a three-member Town Board.

Colarusso will be out of town April 25, and she said that got her thinking. If the board had to pay the bills on a night that one board member would be out of town, and another board member couldn't make the meeting, what would happen?

"You're out of luck," Bailey said again. "Sadly, that's the case. There's no emergency provision."

He said that if the board knew in advance that there would not be two members available for a quorum and a meeting, it could authorize the bills to be paid, but it could not issue a blanket authorization.

"I don't think that's going to happen very often," Councilman Eugene L. Majchrzak said. "I don't think we're going to be late paying anyone."

Office Manager Karen Bernas said utility bills can be paid without board approval.

"I just wanted to bring it to the surface, so everyone knows there's a problem here," Colarusso said.

Also Wednesday, police officers briefed the board on plans for operating the metal detector outside the courtroom. The proposed protocol came from the state Office of Court Administration, and the Evans Police Department, which has a similar policy, Lt. Mark F. Pacholec said.

Those entering the courtroom must walk through the magnetometer, undergo inspection with a hand-held wand detector or submit to a pat-down to prevent weapons from being taken into court, he said. Some may have medical issues and may not want to go through the magnetometer or the portable metal detector, he said. If they want to go into the courtroom, they would have to undergo a pat-down search, he said.

"This is not something we expect on a regular basis," Pacholec said.

Many attorneys have Uniform Court Service identification cards, and may show those, allowing them to bypass the magnetometer, he said.

There are a few items that the town must purchase before the system is ready to go, but town officials are hoping the new system will be in operation next month.

Councilman David R. Kaczor suggested doing a dry run of the system and equipment at a Town Board meeting before a court session, which typically is attended by many more people than a meeting.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com