Murray’s new deputy town supervisor isn’t on Town Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 October 2023 at 9:13 pm

MURRAY – The town has a new deputy supervisor and he isn’t a member of the Town Board.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio on Monday announced Eric Collyer would be the new deputy town supervisor, replacing Mike Mele who resigned from the Town Board after being named an Orleans County elections commissioner on June 27.

Michael Christopher has been appointed to fill Mele’s seat on the Town Board as a councilman, but the deputy supervisor was unfilled until Monday’s Town Board meeting when Sidonio announced Collyer would be in the role.

Collyer is the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals chairman. He also is running with Sidonio to be on the board. They are both endorsed by the Conservative Party. They campaigned together for the Republican primary in June.

Sidonio lost the primary to Gerry Rightmyer, 350-237. The incumbent Town Board members, Lloyd Christ and Randy Bower, topped Collyer with Bower receiving 319 votes and Christ 314, to Collyer’s 274.

Sidonio said he is comfortable with Collyer stepping in as town supervisor if Sidonio is unavailable. Collyer will be given keys to the town hall and the supervisor’s office. He can sign checks and documents, and run town meetings if Sidonio can’t be there.

Sidonio acknowledged he is often at odds with the other board members.

“I got a hostile board,” he said. “With Eric, he shares the same values I do fiscally.”

In the other towns in Orleans County, the deputy supervisor is a member of the Town Board. Sidonio reached out to the Association of Towns of the State of New York for a legal opinion about whether a person can be appointed deputy town supervisor without actually being on the Town Board. Lori Mithen-Demasi, general counsel for the Association of Towns, said in an email to Sidonio the deputy doesn’t have to be a Town Board member.

A Zoning Board of Appeals member or Planning Board member also can be the deputy town supervisor, but a Town Board member cannot be a member of the ZBA or Planning Board, according to the legal opinion. In Collyer’s case, he is on Zoning Board, and can serve as the deputy town supervisor because he isn’t on the Town Board.

Collyer’s appointment as deputy town supervisor is good until Dec. 31.

In Murray, the upcoming election includes all five positions on the Town Board. (Early voting is from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5 with the general election on Nov. 7.)

For town supervisor, Sidonio has the Conservative line while Rightmyer has the Republican and “Community” lines for a 2-year term.

The other four Town Board seats also are up for election. Lloyd Christ and Randy Bower are unopposed as Republicans for four-year terms.

There are two other two-year terms with Michael Christopher and Elaine Berg running as Republicans and Eric Collier backed by the Conservative Party.