Hamburg Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr. chastised Hamburg Town Board members Monday night for discord and controversy in town government.
“We’ve got to take a good look at what we do and who we serve,” Moses quietly but firmly told the three-member board at the end of its regular meeting. “I don’t like what I read in the newspapers and see what’s going on here, because we have to serve the people of this community. I don’t think that, overall, that you people are doing this in an orderly fashion.”
Recent events include papers filed by a resident in State Supreme Court to remove Councilman Joseph Collins from office for allegedly breaching his duties to the town, and the recent release of a settlement agreement between the town and former Assistant Police Chief Stephen Mikac that settled departmental charges against him.
Town Board members have disagreed over ethics charges filed against Collins, and the board censured him on two occasions after finding him guilty of ethics charges. There also have been divisions over budgeting at Woodlawn Beach State Park and appointments to the Zoning and Planning boards, and a fight in a hallway between Collins and Human Resources Consultant Brian Doyle that led to board subpoenas of an audio tape.
“I hope we can straighten this around and start the right process for the new year,” Moses said.
Hamburg, a village of 9,400 within the Town of Hamburg, had its own brush with negative publicity about 10 years ago, when several residents opposed the requirement to put garbage in clear plastic bags.
“I know when we had the garbage bag issue in the Village of Hamburg, we were looked down upon very drastically with what was going on there,” said Moses, who was serving as recreation director of the village at that time.
Moses serves on the town Rejuvenation Committee, which organizes the spring cleanup, National Night-Out activities, Blast on the Beach, Light Up the Town and Christmas at the Cabin.
“We as a village are considered part of the Town of Hamburg. I just don’t like it when we’re out that people categorize all this within the community,” he said.
Collins said he is making an effort to get along, and he would welcome an unbiased third party to help improve relations on the board.
“I don’t know if you need that or not,” Moses said. “I think that hopefully something internally can be done to get this rectified.”
Collins then thanked those who have supported him in the past several years. He also said the events in the past months have been emotionally draining for his wife. He said he will stand up to fight attacks made against him and will try to reach out and cooperate with other board members.
Monday’s regular meeting saw little discord, and board members appointed and welcomed three new police recruits to the town: Matthew C. Sherry, Jonathan Cross and Mindy L. Jendrowski.