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Ex-Supervisor Walters on tap to become Hamburg town attorney

Former Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters is in line to become town attorney Monday evening.

That's one of the changes in political appointments listed on the agenda for the Town Board reorganization meeting.

When a new board takes over,  changes often occur. And Republicans will take control from Democrats when the newly-upsized five-member board meets 7 p.m. Monday.

Walters would move from the supervisor's office, which he left at the end of the year, to the town attorney's office according to the agenda. Kenneth Farrell, who served as town attorney under Walters when the GOP controlled the board, is down for deputy town attorney, and Daniel Henry would become town prosecutor.

Walters brings his experience in the supervisor's job, and that's something that appeals to some board members, like Michael Petrie.

"Steve Walters has been the supervisor for the last 12 years. He's an attorney. He knows all the ins and outs about what is going on in Town Hall," Petrie said.

That is important to him, because while Petrie comes to the board with experience as Blasdell's mayor, he does not have the town experience. Four of the five board members are new this year, and Councilman Tom Best Jr. has been on the board for just two years.

The part-time town attorney makes $62,500 a year, and the supervisor makes $82,123 plus a stipend as

Not everyone favors Walters. Best, who has clashed with Walters in the past, said he plans on voting no on Walters, although he has no problem with Farrell and Henry.

"It's like hiring Obama to be Trump's attorney general," Best said.

He noted that the town's five unions had votes of no confidence in Walters as supervisor in 2016, accusing him of unethical and deceitful behavior. Best also said he believes the town attorney should have experience practicing law instead of being a town supervisor the last 12 years.

There had been speculation that newly elected Town Board Member Beth Farrell would be prevented from voting for her brother for deputy town attorney, but the sibling relationship does not create a conflict of interest, according to state law. So Kenneth Farrell could be appointed without the support of the two Democrats, Supervisor James M. Shaw and Best.

Shaw said he wants to appoint Best as deputy supervisor, without any stipend. Shaw would serve as budget director, he said, but he wants to create a budget committee with a Town Board member and three members of the community that he would appoint to help look for savings in the budget. Creation of the committee is on Monday's agenda.

Also on the agenda is a change in public comments. There would two public comment sections instead of one at the end of the meeting: One comment period would take place before the board votes on pre-filed resolutions, and would be limited to agenda items only, and the other comment period would take place at the end of the meeting.

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