Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 1, 2013 Issue
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Dan Hust | Democrat

Smallwood resident and former highway superintendent Bernie Cohen (standing second from left) joined the Bethel Town Board earlier this month after being elected to the council post in November. The reorganizational meeting also saw Vicky Vassmer-Simpson (sitting at right) named deputy supervisor and the Sullivan County Democrat named one of the town’s official newspapers. Also present for the meeting were Councilman Richard Crumley (sitting at left), Town Clerk Rita Sheehan (standing at left), and (standing next to Cohen) Supervisor Dan Sturm and Councilwoman Denise Frangipane.

Bethel employees agree to no raises in 2012

By Dan Hust
WHITE LAKE — January 4’s Bethel Town Board meeting doubled as the town’s reorganizational meeting, where Supervisor Dan Sturm noted that the town came in 3.8 percent underneath its budgeted expenditures and more than $100,000 over its projected revenues for 2011.
Nevertheless, he said the town’s employees agreed to take no raise for 2012, in recognition of many taxpayers’ bleak economic plight.
“It’s a shared sacrifice,” he explained.
Also during the reorg, the board agreed in a split vote to maintain town board meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Duggan Community Center in White Lake.
Some members of the board and public had pushed for changing those dates, arguing that Monday, Thursday or even weekend meetings would encourage a greater turnout.
“When I first came on the board, we met on Thursday nights,” recalled Councilwoman Denise Frangipane.
“I would like to see a Thursday meeting,” added new Councilman Bernie Cohen.
“Wednesday nights have fit perfectly with other involved groups and users [of the Community Center],” Sturm replied, saying he personally couldn’t make it on Thursday nights.
Councilpeople Dick Crumley and Vicky Vassmer-Simpson also preferred Wednesdays, with the vote turning out to be 4-1 – with Cohen opposed and Frangipane giving her assent, conditioned on keeping open the possibility of a date change in the future.
“No matter what day is chosen,” acknowledged Sturm, “somebody is going to be inconvenienced—and that can’t be helped.”
The board, however, declined Crumley’s suggestion to cancel the second meetings of each month from January through March, citing a need to convene on a variety of matters, even if it turns out to be a short agenda.

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