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Without quorum, Hamburg is left with no meeting but some irritation

One Hamburg Town Board member showed up for the regular meeting Monday night, but it wasn't enough to hold a meeting.

The three-member board did not have a quorum, and no meeting could be held.

Supervisor Steven J. Walters was out of town, and Councilman Joseph A. Collins walked out of an executive session unexpectedly, saying he was ill. That left Councilwoman Amy J. Ziegler holding the agenda.

Department heads and residents assembled for the 7 p.m. meeting, but Ziegler told them that there would be no meeting.

"As you can see, I'm up here alone tonight," she said.

The meeting was the first in Hamburg to be canceled on short notice since the Town Board was downsized from five members to three Jan. 1, 2011.

During the board's executive session, which was called about 6:15 p.m., raised voices could be heard in the lobby from behind the closed door of a conference room down the hall. Collins came out of the meeting at about 6:20 p.m., carrying his folder. He walked to a group of reporters and Town Clerk Catherine A. Rybczynski, and said that it was a "kangaroo court" and that he wasn't going to listen to any more allegations being made against him.

Collins, agitated, walked part way down the hall, then came back, and said he was leaving because he was worried about his blood pressure. He has been under a physician's care for hypertension.

He never came back, and efforts by the town attorney to reach him by cellphone were unsuccessful.

The nonmeeting seemed to get its start in the board's 6 p.m. work session, where Collins said he had been accosted May 30 by Brian D. Doyle, the former deputy town attorney who is the town's human resources consultant. The two had words in a hallway during a break in the disciplinary proceedings against Assistant Police Chief Stephen E. Mikac.

"I was in the Town Hall, and I was harassed, confronted face to face," Collins said, adding that "everybody heard [Doyle] screaming."

Collins said the town should be on notice that "we have an individual who cannot control his temper."

Town Attorney Kenneth J. Farrell said Collins' complaint has been forwarded to Mary W. Eisenhauer, the town's employee assistance director.

"You have a personal issue with him now," he said.

Collins said he had been told by Assistant Police Chief John P. Conlin that there will be no criminal investigation into the report on the incident he filed with police. He also brought up a water and possible mold problem in the courtroom, where Town Board meetings are also conducted.

"I was approached by a number of employees concerned about mold," Collins said.

He said he told the supervisor, who said that it was a water problem, not a mold problem.

"The water is what causes the mold," Collins said, adding that the town should have an expert test the area to determine if dangerous mold is present.

Then Collins and Ziegler moved into executive session, and the town attorney, deputy town attorney and Police Chief Michael K. Williams stayed for the closed session.

The town clerk said the board will have to start its next meeting by adjourning from executive session.

Ziegler said the board's next meeting is June 25.

It's possible the board could call a special meeting to deal with some or all of the 20 items on Monday's agenda, including the approval of a contract with a concessionaire at Hamburg Town Park. Hiring of employees in the Recreation and the Buildings and Grounds departments probably could take place on an emergency basis before the board's next meeting, she and Farrell said.