Seven proposed appointments by Mayor Kenneth Pokorski, including the village attorney and village clerk-treasurer, were voted down by the Sloan Village Board on Tuesday. It was the third time the appointments failed to gain approval.
Immediately following the vote, Pokorski vowed to no longer address the issue during a Village Board meeting.
"The statement I'm going to make is that we are no longer going to discuss (the appointments) at any board meeting," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is a dead issue. And if the (board majority) would like to, they can settle it in the courts. They are not going to discuss it at a meeting anymore."
Prior to the vote, Village Attorney David Dale cited several village laws and court opinions stating that defeated appointees retain their positions and that the Village Board does not have the authority to make its own appointments.
"I'm still stating you're wrong in what you're saying," said Trustee Denis Sommerfield, who voted against the appointments with fellow majority party members Diane Radomski and Dean Lach.
The three trustees retained their own attorney -- Fred Rarack -- during a May 25 meeting held in the Municipal Building parking lot. Rarack did not attend Tuesday's meeting, at Sommerfield's request.
Tuesday's 2 1/2 -hour meeting took its first chaotic turn during the first 10 minutes when Sommerfield threatened to walk out with the other majority members after Dale announced he would make a presentation on the appointments.
Lach protested the presentation, and Pokorski told him, "I'll have you removed from the meeting."
"This is what makes this village a joke," Lach replied.
"This was done to end the issue," Pokorski said. "We're hoping to put this to bed."
When questioned by Dale, Sommerfield acknowledged that Rarack would be paid from village funds for services performed for the village. Pokorski said he would refuse to pay the fees.
More than 50 residents and a uniformed Cheektowaga police officer attended the meeting.
Several residents pleaded with the board members to work together and to cast aside the politics that have plagued the meetings since the March election, when the board majority shifted from Pokorski's party to the People's Choice Party.
Chet Banach of Francis Street read several published items that referred to the board infighting. "We're tired of this," Banach said. "We'd like to see our tax dollars at work."
He also asked the mayor to provide keys for the Municipal Building to the three majority party trustees as a sign of cooperation. The request was denied.
"You don't think this would help the relationship with the board?" Banach asked.
Several times during the evening, the mayor threatened to have a resident or a board member thrown out of the meeting for speaking out of turn.
The board followed, at most times, Robert's Rules of Order. A request by Trustee Leonard Szymanski to rescind the resolution of Robert's Rules was not acted on.
In other business, Pokorski said he would pursue federal grant money for fire equipment through Rep. Jack Quinn's office. One resident said the village had missed the filing deadline and criticized the village's failure to apply.
The village needs 10 residents for a committee to further study formation of a municipal electric utility.
The mayor also presented a certificate of appreciation to former Deputy Mayor Eugene Karp for his years of service to the village.
The board announced the Griffith Street Park pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Saturday; and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, beginning Saturday.