A pair of new appointments – and the presence of state troopers – highlighted what should have been an ordinary Marilla Town Board meeting last week.
The first board meeting of the year is generally known for the dozens of routine appointments that are made as part of an annual organizational procedure.
However, residents arriving at Town Hall on Thursday couldn’t help but notice the two State Police vehicles parked outside.
Town Constable Wayne W. Wolf deferred to Supervisor Earl A. Gingerich Jr. to explain the police presence.
Gingerich said he requested the police as a precaution due to the changes in personnel.
Among the changes was the board’s appointment of Bonnie S. Waterman as assessor-clerk, succeeding Mary Furman.
Later, Gingerich reappointed Hubert L. Kutter as town historian and Gregory R. Jankowiak as disaster coordinator. However, he didn’t appoint a deputy town historian and named Wolf assistant disaster coordinator.
The deputy historian and assistant disaster coordinator posts have been vacant since the November council meeting when Gingerich relieved Jeffrey J. Lewinski and George J. Gertz from those positions, respectively.
Gingerich removed them after several instances in which he said “misinformation” about the town’s position on legal matters was made public.
Specifically, Gingerich said the amount of money that Marilla had spent trying to keep sewer sludge and other biosolids out of the town was inflated by nearly three times the actual cost.
In addition, he said comments were made that contradicted the town’s legal position.
“There’s a responsibility of all town officials to act in an appropriate manner and not disseminate information or in any way jeopardize the town’s standing in these situations,” Gingerich said. “This is erroneous information, and it damages the town’s credibility.”
Gingerich hinted that there could be other personnel changes if town employees or official representatives are found to be making inaccurate comments about legal proceedings or incendiary and inflammatory remarks.
As examples, the supervisor pointed to veiled threats and comments on social media sites about “getting even” that have circulated through the town.
“I will not tolerate insubordination from any town official,” Gingerich said.