SARANAC LAKE - It took a little more drama, but the Harrietstown Town Council was finally able to reach an agreement Tuesday on what to do with its supervisor vacancy.
The board voted 4-0 to appoint Mike Kilroy to the position until the election in November. Kilroy, a Democrat, is currently the town's budget officer. He's also the budget officer for the town of St. Armand and is the former business manager for the Saranac Lake Central School District.
The appointment comes just over a week after Bob Bevilacqua resigned as supervisor due to a family medical issue. Bevilacqua had held the town's top post since January 2013.
The board met last week to discuss the vacancy, but board members were split about what they should do. Deputy Supervisor Ron Keough and Councilwoman Nichole Meyette favored continuing as a four-person board until the election. Councilmen Ed Goetz and Howard Riley felt a five-person board is needed.
Riley pushed for the appointment of Kilroy as interim supervisor. Former state Supreme Court Justice Jan Plumadore, a Republican, also expressed interest in the job. Neither said he had any plans to run for supervisor in the Nov. 4 election.
On Friday, Keough wrote a letter to his fellow board members saying he would call a special meeting Tuesday to resolve the deadlock by moving to a five-person board and appointing a supervisor.
"I'm glad we can come away feeling the same about that, that we need a five-member board," Riley said at the start of Tuesday's meeting.
Before voting on a resolution to go with a five-member board, Goetz said he wanted to correct an editorial in Tuesday's Enterprise that said the newspaper preferred the board appoint another town council member rather than a supervisor.
"The legal ramification is the position that's open is supervisor, not a council person," Goetz said.
"Our attorney said the editorial was not legal or possible, the suggestion that was made," Riley said.
The board then voted 4-0 to move forward as a five-member board, although Riley said he didn't think the vote was necessary because the town has a five-member board by statute.
Goetz then moved to appoint Keough as supervisor until the election, and Riley seconded it. If Keough accepted, Riley said he would then move to appoint the next highest vote getter in the last election, Patricia Meagher, to Keough's vacant town board seat.
But Keough said he didn't want the supervisor's job.
"I'm sorry to say, that's not going to happen," he said.
Other members of the board seemed puzzled.
"I thought it was what everybody wanted, especially you," Riley told Keough.
"No," Keough responded. "I never said I wanted to be supervisor, ever. I said I would function as a deputy supervisor with a four-man board. If I were to be appointed supervisor, it would mean I'd have to give up my position as councilman. I'm not doing that. I'm very effective at that. I like doing that. I'm not going to run again for election this year."
Goetz asked Keough to reconsider, but when he wouldn't, Goetz withdrew his motion.
Riley then moved to appoint Kilroy to the supervisor vacancy. The discussion that followed regressed into a debate about the merits of a four-member versus a five-member board until Meyette interrupted it.
"I think we need to move on," she said. "Last week's meeting got very contentious due to the fact that none of us had the opportunity to communicate. We need to keep an open line of communication here if we're going to do what's best for the town. Let's continue to move forward and let the past lie in the past."
The board then voted to appoint Kilroy, who wasn't there for the meeting, as supervisor. Board members also extended their appreciation to Plumadore for stepping forward to volunteer for the job.
Before the meeting adjourned, Keough said he'll continue to function as deputy supervisor until Kilroy names someone to the position.
"If my presence is going to be a contentious issue for him, he can pick someone else as deputy supervisor," Keough said.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.