A Hamburg resident is criticizing a town councilwoman for putting her name on a program to publicize town recreation programs.
The town distributed a news release in which Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor Amy Ziegler announces the creation of “Amy Z’s Kidz Club” to promote special activities and events for children offered through the town’s Recreation Department and Woodlawn Beach State Park.
“Children of all ages are encouraged to join the club and the fun,” according to the announcement, which included a circular logo with a handprint and the name of the club. Applications are available in Town Hall, the Recreation Department, the Highway Department, Woodlawn Beach State Park Gift Shop and Treasure Island Souvenir Shop.
But at Monday’s Town Board meeting, one resident said having the councilwoman’s name on the club is inappropriate.
“It seems to me Councilwoman Ziegler’s bid to associate her name with a town program in an election year seems politically motivated,” Karen Rogers said. “At the least, it is inappropriate and unprofessional.”
Ziegler, who is running for re-election this year, bristled at the notion that creating the club with her name was political, telling The Buffalo News that the last time she checked, children don’t vote.
Councilman Joseph Collins said it was inappropriate and that she is using the town’s name to campaign. But Supervisor Steven Walters said Ziegler should be commended for sponsoring the program.
“She’s spending her own personal money to help benefit the kids of this community,” he said.
Ziegler said children fill out an application and get an email notification of town events at Woodlawn Beach and the recreation center.
“It’s a way to get information to the children about town programs. I paid for it out of my pocket,” she said. She said she paid for bracelets that were distributed to children at the town’s Easter egg hunt March 24 at Woodlawn Beach.
Ziegler further explained the program in an email to The News, calling it a promotional and marketing tool. She said children were not required to sign up to receive a bracelet; they were left on a table and were available to all children, whether or not they lived in the town.
She said it was no different than if the town were to send out fliers or other printed material containing her name as deputy supervisor and liaison to the Youth, Recreation and Senior Department.
“The club was very well-received by the many people who attended the Easter event, people who may not otherwise have been aware of all of the programs and activities offered in Hamburg,” Ziegler said.
Rogers asked the town to change the name of the program.
“It could be called the Town of Hamburg Kids Club,” she said.