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Village Board may consider downsizing

The Depew Village Board may once again consider reducing its size from seven members to five.

Mayor Joseph G. McIntosh on Monday stopped short of saying that a public referendum to reduce the size of the board will appear on the ballot in March, but McIntosh said he supports a reduction.

"In the past, I'd always felt that we needed seven board members. However, the last two years have demonstrated to me that we need only five," McIntosh said after Monday's regular Village Board meeting.

Resolutions to jettison two seats on the board were twice defeated in 2004. Only board members Sandra Pieczynski and William Maryniewsi voted in favor of the measure then. McIntosh joined the rest of the board in voting against it.

"Two years ago, when I voted against it, there were a couple of reasons: One, I felt those motions were made for no other reason than to get political mileage and, two, that was at the time when people were saying it was a way to save money instead of through other means," McIntosh said.

Since then, the Village Board has operated often with at least one absent member. Trustee William M. Dillemuth Jr., who was absent from Monday's meeting and has missed several meetings, previously cited work obligations that prevented him from attending. The frequency of those absences sparked complaints from some residents attending a July 10 Village Board meeting.

Last summer, Trustee Eugene Molinaro resigned his seat on the board for medical reasons but was reappointed a month later. During that time, the board operated with four trustees and the mayor.

McIntosh said he has instructed Village Attorney James Vallone to research the matter of reducing the size of the board and to draft a resolution.

If the board approves it, the resolution would then be put to a referendum.

Columbia Avenue resident Irvine Reinig suggested Monday that the board act quickly. "If it's going to get on the referendum for the 2007 election, I guess I would recommend that the board move hastily on this," said Renig.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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