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Officials agree, finally, on nominations to boards

Civility broke out at the Hamburg Town Board meeting Monday night.

After nearly two years of quibbling -- or worse -- over routine and not-so-routine items, Republicans and Democrats seemed poised to appoint members to the Planning and Zoning boards.

That's in stark contrast to the reorganization meeting in January 2010, when the two Democrats, Jonathan G. Gorman and Joseph A. Collins, voted against two Planning Board appointments they considered political. But they were out-voted by the three Republicans on the board.

Since then, numerous other appointments have been questioned and challenged. This year, since Kevin Smardz left the board to become an assemblyman, the board has been evenly split, 2-2.

Collins has brought several names to the Town Board in the past year to fill vacancies on the Zoning and Planning boards, but none has gained the required three votes.

He pre-filed a resolution in June that would have reappointed Shawn Connolly and James Sortisio to five-year terms on the Zoning Board. Councilwoman Amy Ziegler objected to considering the appointments at that meeting, saying the board had agreed to discuss possible appointments before putting resolutions on the agenda.

Collins pre-filed the resolution again for Monday's meeting, and he readily agreed when Supervisor Steven Walters suggested amending it to add more appointments: Joseph Sacco and Richard Dimpfl to the Zoning Board and Douglas Schwal to the Planning Board.

So it looks like board members are willing to appoint a mix of Republicans and Democrats to the boards.

No appointments were made, however, because board members did not know how long the terms should be. The supervisor said the seven-year terms on the boards are staggered, so only one term should expire on each board every year.

The board agreed to have resolutions ready for its next meeting.