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Murray doesn’t reappoint outspoken critic to Planning Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 1:39 pm

Robert Miller named to fill vacancy on Town Board

MURRAY – Joe Sidonio, an outspoken critic of the Murray town government in the past year, was not reappointed to his position on the Town Planning Board last week.

Sidonio also represented Murray on the Orleans County Planning Board for more than a decade. But that tenure came to an end because he wasn’t backed by the Town Board to return in that role.

The Town Board approved a list of appointments last Thursday during an annual organizational meeting. The board chose to appoint Elaine Berg to the Town Planning Board and as Murray’s representative on the Orleans County Planning Board.

Berg had been serving on the Zoning Board Appeals. The ZBA meets infrequently and Berg, a former Holley Board of Education member, wanted a more active role with the town, said John Morriss, the Town Supervisor.

Morriss said Sidonio was not targeted by the Town Board due to his criticisms the past year. Sidonio has written frequent letters to the editor and spoken out in town meetings, questioning taxes that have exceeded the rate of inflation. He also has questioned the financials in the water districts’ budgets and suggested the town needs to work harder to safeguard the water system from any outside contamination.

Sidonio took an unusual step in forcing a primary to be on the Murray Republican Committee. He won a seat on Sept. 13.

A committee with board members Paul Hendel and Kathy Case interviewed candidates for the Planning and Zoning boards. The committee suggested Berg, Morriss said today.

(Case has since resigned from the Town Board to serve as an Orleans County elections commissioner.)

Morriss said he has had concerns about Sidonio “overstepping his bounds” as a Planning Board member.

“The committee interviewed candidates and we felt it was time for a change,” Morriss said.

Sidonio said he enjoyed being on the two planning boards. He acknowledged there has been a strained relationship with the Town Board the past year.

“The town and I have been at odds over specific issues,” he said. “I will leave it at that. I serve at their pleasure.”

With Berg moving to the Planning Board, her spot on the ZBA was filled by Bob Cone.

The Town Republican Committee also interviewed candidates to fill Case’s vacant spot on the Town Board.

Robert Miller, who is retired from the state police, was picked for the final year of the term. Sidonio said he also was interested in the position and was interviewed by the Committee (with Sidonio abstaining from that process because he was interviewed.)

The remainder of the term is only one year. The Town Board position will be up for election n November.

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