UPDATE: Board starts process of booting Wormuth
Following Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth's arraignment in federal and local court today the town board has begun the process of removing her from office.
The other members of the board, which called on Wormuth to resign in September, is petitioning the court, pursuant to the state's Public Officer's Law, for the removal of Wormuth based on her misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance and/or malversation in office, according to a release.
"The decision is based upon not only the recent charges filed against the town supervisor, but also her failure to appear at meetings, her failure to attend to the daily business of the town of Halmfoon and the town board's previously expressed concerns regarding her ineffective leadership," the other board members said in a statement.
Town Board member John Wasielewski, speaking on behalf of board members Craig Hayner, Paul Hotaling and Walter Polak Jr., noted in a statement that Wormuth already declined their initial offer to resign. "Clearly, her actions prove that she has no intention of fulfilling her duties," Wasielewski said. "We are acting in the best interests of the town."
The effort to remove her from office came shortly after Saratoga County Republican Committee Chairman John Herrick called on Wormuth to resign. In a statement, he said he was disappointed and appalled by Thursday’s developments. “The public must have complete trust and confidence in their elected officials,” he said. “Mindy has now lost that confidence.”
Herrick called on the board to begin removing her from office if she didn't resign.
The town board has already begun acting without Wormuth. Town Board member Craig Hayner previously told the Gazette that the members of the board have stepped up their activities with the ongoing budget process.
Halfmoon resident Deanna Stephenson, a vocal critic of Wormuth, who ran against her unsuccesfully in 2011 and is now running for a seat on the town board, argued that the investigation into Wormuth represent systemic issues plaguing the town. She accused a majority of town officials of being in pay-to-play relationships.
The Halfmoon Republican Committee said in a statement that their slate of candidates this fall, including presumptive new supervisor Kevin Tollisen, and the current officials are all committed to protecting the town’s character. Committee Chairwoman Regina Parker, a long-time ally of Wormuth, said in a statement, “Our Republican team had no knowledge or involvement in Ms. Wormuth’s alleged wrongdoings, and we are looking forward to giving town residents a fresh start in January.
Below are the full statements from Herrick, Stephenson and the Halfmoon Republicans.
John Herrick: I am deeply disappointed and appalled with the arrest of Supervisor Mindy Wormuth on Federal and State charges. I feel very strongly that Mindy must resign as Supervisor of the Town of Halfmoon. The public must have complete trust and confidence in their elected officials. Mindy has now lost that confidence. If an elected official violates the public trust they cannot be effective in office. The Federal and State indictments are very disturbing, the citizens of Halfmoon deserve better from their Town Supervisor. Mindy needs to devote her time to resolving her legal issues and should allow the Town Board the opportunity to appoint a Supervisor to conduct the town’s business. If Mindy does not resign I would urge the Town Board to take appropriate steps to remove her from office.
Deanna Stephenson: This current investigation of the supervisor is only part of a bigger systemic issue plaguing this town. A town where majority of their officials are involved in pay-to-play relationships, Councilmen Walt Polak and Paul Hotaling have been around long enough and did not ask the hard questions when they needed to. Now in a last ditch effort for their own self preservation they cast the one lame duck out hoping the public will applaud them. If I had not run two years ago and continued to stay vigilant I am not sure any of the rubber stamp politics or decades of political favors would have come to light. It is my hope that residents will now see the writing on the wall and come out for balance and a new direction for Halfmoon on November 5th.
Halfmoon Republican Committee Chairwoman Regina Parker: The Halfmoon Republican Committee spoke very clearly several months ago when we overwhelmingly voted to support new leadership in town hall. We nominated Kevin Tollisen, a man of impeccable credentials and unquestionable integrity who has spent a lifetime making Halfmoon a better place, because we knew that a change needed to be made. Last month, the Republican members of the town board requested Supervisor Wormuth's resignation in order to allow the town government to better focus on the issues that matter to Halfmoon residents.
Today's news that Supervisor Wormuth is being brought up on charges sickens us.
Our candidates and current elected officials are committed to protecting Halfmoon's character, improving town services and preserving the Halfmoon advantage of having no town or highway tax. Our Republican team had no knowledge or involvement in Ms. Wormuth's alleged wrongdoings, and we are looking forward to giving town residents a fresh start in January.
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