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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I do solemnly swear...

...that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office...

So, according to town board minutes, the Parks Commission Local Law was adopted at the March 7, 2018 town board meeting.

In accordance with General Municipal Law 243, the Town of New Hartford Code for Local Law 1 of 2018 states:
A. The Commission shall be managed by a Board of Commissioners, consisting of five (5) members who shall serve at the pleasure of the Town Board. Each Commissioner shall be appointed by the New Hartford Town Board as follows:

(1) The initial membership of the Commission shall be made up by five (5) members for initial terms as follows:

a. “Member 1” shall be appointed through December 31, 2018

b. “Member 2” shall be appointed through December 31, 2019

c. “Member 3” shall be appointed through December 31, 2020

d. “Member 4” shall be appointed through December 31, 2021

e. “Member 5” shall be appointed through December 31, 2022.

Town board minutes show that five (5) people were appointed at the May 23, 2018 town board meeting as follows:
No. 1..... Daniel J. Trevisani .........5 year term ending 12/31/22

No. 2..... Arthur W. Ellis..............3 year tern ending 12/31/20

No. 3..... Victor J. Fariello, Jr. .....1 year tern ending 12/31/18 (Victor was not reappointed at tonight's meeting.)

No. 4..... Jane P. Blaszczak............2 year term ending 12/31/19

No. 5..... Michael A. Kennedy...........4 year term ending 12/31/21
I don't know...does the order of appointment and term lengths seem to match the local law or did they use some other method of handing out the terms of office. Almost looks like some favoritism at play...but what do I know!

Guess it really doesn't mater at this point because none of the appointments are valid...all of the spots are considered vacant because they never took the oath of office that is required of certain appointed officials.

According to the Association of Towns:
..."the courts have defined public office to include those where “… the functions and duties directly affect the citizens of the [town] and involve the exercise of the powers of the political subdivisions.” Thus, any office where the duties involve some exercise of the sovereign power is a public office."
Section 25 of the Town Law provides for taking oaths of office prior to taking office. Before he enters on the duties of the office, and within 30 days after the commencement of the term of office for which he is chosen, every town officer shall take and subscribe before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths in his county, the constitutional oath of office and such other oaths as may be required by law, which shall be administered and certified by the officer taking the same without compensation and such oath shall be filed in the office of the town clerk. [Emphasis added.] Public Officers Law, §10 similarly provides for filing the oath of office with the town clerk."
Sure enough! Local Law 1 of 2018 sure describes a Parks Commission that qualifies as a public office which would require an appointee to take the "Oath of Office" within 30 days of the appointment (the town clerk confirmed tonight that oaths were not filed in her office for any of the appointed members of the Parks Commission.).

Next, on July 11, 2018, the town board adopted a local law to increase the membership of the Parks Commission from five (5) to seven (7) members which is the maximum number of members allowed by General Municipal Law 243.

However, actual board minutes of the Parks Commission posted on the town's website seem to show that eight (8) persons are considered commission members although town board minutes do not contain any resolutions to even appoint the two (2) members to fill the additional spots created by the July 11 local law let alone three (3) extra people which would be one (1) more than allowed by law.

Since the extras apparently haven't been appointed by the board; it is safe to say they have not taken the required "Oath of Office" either.

So, in a nutshell, we have seven (7) Parks Commission vacancies. According to the Department of State:
"If a public officer fails to take the oath of office in an appointed position, the office and decisions made are valid, but the public officer can be replaced at any time since a vacancy was created in the office when the oath of office was not filed within 30 calendar days. The person or body with the power of appointment may reappoint or replace the officer."
Might be a good time to possibly bring some discussion out of the closet and to the board table and discuss in the public view whether to amend the Parks Commission Town Law or decide to just hire a full-time Parks Director who reports to the town board instead, eh?

Things always seem to work much better when everyone is on the same page!

Salute! Cin! Cin!

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