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Silver Creek mayor accuses trustees of plotting to dissolve village

SILVER CREEK – The mayor of Silver Creek charged Thursday night that three trustees are involved in a conspiracy to dissolve the village.

At the special meeting of the Village Board, Mayor Nick Piccolo accused trustees Vincent Tampio, John Burt and Warren Kelly of holding illegal meetings and even trying to seek state funds to assist with efforts to end the village form of government. 

“I simply do not understand how any official could take the trust of the residents and then conspire to do away with the village they have promised to serve,” Piccolo said. 

“Since the election they have held an illegal meeting, without any notice to the public and outside of the village, in what was an obvious attempt to conceal their efforts,” he said. 

Tampio and Burt were elected in November.

Tampio, the only trustee to comment on the mayor’s allegation, said, “I think your statements are off base, and really not true.”

Piccolo said that the trustees have been talking about options to remove certain employees from their positions.  He said they also have tried to meet with union officials. 

“They have not been open and honest with the people they have pledged to serve and therefore ‘conspiracy’ is the best name I can give their actions,” Piccolo said. 

He said his statements were meant to, “end their petty conspiracies and re-commit themselves to working with me for the benefit of our residents and the village we all call home.”

Tensions between the mayor, Burt, Tampio and Kelly were made obvious at the reorganizational meeting and a special session held on Tuesday morning.  The three trustees questioned appointments made to committees. 

The group approved the list with modifications at the meeting on Thursday. They approved Piccolo’s appointment of Dan Gard as village attorney.  Tampio urged the mayor to take a close look at job descriptions for several employees.  

In other business, the board agreed to request a one-year extension with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department at the current rate. The annual agreement calls for a payment of $377,652 plus gasoline costs of about $15,000 annually. The contract expired on Dec. 31. The extension must be approved by the County Legislature. 

Burt said he would like the village to sell the surplus equipment that was left when the village police department became inactive in June 2013. Piccolo said that the equipment cannot be sold until voters have a chance to decide on whether to have a local police department. He said that the issue must come before a public referendum. 

“Basically the equipment belongs to the people,” the mayor said.  The village has three police cars and other equipment that was placed in storage after sheriff patrols started.  

The mayor asked that village residents take time to clear snow away from hydrants near their homes.