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Clarence Town Board may take up Weiss' seat at next work session

Clarence Town Councilman Joseph N. Weiss' resignation took effect Wednesday, leaving the Town Board with four voting members.

The question now facing the board is whether to leave Weiss' seat vacant until his term expires at the end of the year or to appoint an interim replacement and, if so, how soon?

The board did not take up the topic at its Wednesday meeting. Supervisor Scott A. Bylewski said afterward that the board likely will discuss, but not act on, the issue at its work session next Wednesday.

Bylewski said he has heard from some residents who want the seat left vacant until Weiss' term expires and others who want it filled by an appointee before then.

If an interim appointment is made, Bylewski said he does not expect that would happen until after the Nov. 8 general election. But he noted the board has to talk about the vacancy and make a decision as a group.

Weiss finished third earlier this month in the Republican and Conservative primaries for two Town Board seats. He announced shortly afterward that he was resigning.

In unofficial results, he was the runner-up in the Independence Party primary, giving him a line on the ballot in the general election.

Weiss was asked in an interview last week why he decided to resign before his term expired.

"Why should I have the taxpayers pay for me for an extra three months?" he said.

Weiss said he plans to participate in candidate forums, with the intention of helping David Hartzell, who is running against Bylewski for town supervisor.

If an interim appointment to the Town Board is made, would Robert A. Geiger be the choice? Geiger finished first in both the Republican and Conservative primaries. He also has the Democratic endorsement for the general election, putting him in a strong position to win a seat.

It will be up to board members to decide.

"I hesitate to rush to add someone to the Town Board since Joe Weiss is still on the ballot," Councilman Peter DiCostanzo said in a recent interview.

"You never know what might happen until after Election Day, but if we assume Bob Geiger will be joining the board in January 2012, it would be good for him to get some on-the-job training for a few weeks this year."

At the end of Wednesday's board meeting, some residents raised questions about a proposed ice rink complex at the Eastern Hills Mall and the potential impact on taxpayers.

"I find very little information coming out of the the town about the skating rink," said Deb Sabbatis.

Bylewski said town officials are still reviewing whether to retain a consultant to examine the feasibility of such a project. Whether an ice rink project would ultimately go before voters, rather than the Town Board, is also yet to be determined, he said.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com