Choosing Millbrook’s interim mayor is a bit of a sticky wicket for trustees

MILLBROOK — In a Village Board meeting held at Village Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 11, more questions came up about finding a new mayor than were answered. The announced, but unplanned early vacating of the mayor’s post by former mayor Rodney Brown, has been complicated by several factors, namely this being an election year, the fact that one trustee has recently been absent for health reasons, and the fact that one possible interim mayor, Trustee Tim Collopy, is planning to run for mayor in the November election.

Under Brown, Collopy was the deputy mayor. However, the deputy mayor only has the title as long as the mayor remains in office. When the mayor’s job is vacated, the deputy position is also considered vacated. Collopy led the Aug. 11 meeting as a trustee. He announced, though, that he is planning to run for mayor in November, which complicates things. Collopy prefers not to sacrifice his trustee position, which he would have to do if he was appointed by the board as the temporary mayor, to fill in the position until the end of Brown’s term, when the election will be held and a newly elected mayor will be chosen to fill the role for the next two years. 

If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. No one can be the mayor and a trustee simultaneously. If Collopy were to become mayor until the election, he would give up his trustee position; if he then lost the mayoral race, he would be out of luck and no longer be a part of the Village Board.

The two trustees who are running for reelection this year are Mike Herzog and Joe Rochfort. Kevin McGrane, currently taking a leave of absence due to illness, and Collopy, have two years left on their trustee terms. At the end of the board’s discussion on Aug. 11 it was decided that Village Attorney Josh Macklin will be asked to look into all legal options and the board planned to meet on Aug. 25 (after presstime) to try and resolve the problem.

Miscellaneous village news

Also on the agenda, the new fire truck was described by fire department President Matt Rochfort as “beautiful,” and is due to be delivered in two to three weeks. Rochfort also made the announcement that the planned block party in September will not take place, leaving them without a major fundraiser this year. 

The Guertin Gym at Village Hall is available for rent for community events, and discussions with Town of Washington Director of Recreation Chelsea Edson, the Boy Scouts and possibly the school system are taking place, which may also be interested in using the gym. A set rate has not been established; more research among other facilities must be done.

Changes to the Village Code are being made and will be applied to the website. Rochfort and Collopy have been working on this and said there may be as many as 30 changes made; the first five have been identified and involve local laws. There will be a public hearing, likely on Zoom due to COVID-19, with a link on the website and required public notices. 

The Knights of Columbus Council 381 of Millbrook has asked permission to have a procession on a Sunday, either on Sept. 13 or Sept. 20, for the purpose of blessing the village; it would take from 35 to 40 minutes and engage Franklin and Merritt Avenues. The organization said it will apply for a permit, and the New York State Troopers will be alerted to help with traffic, etc. 

The board agreed that the Millbrook Golf and Tennis Club does not need a permit for a fireworks display on Sept. 5, with a rain date of Sept. 6, because it will take place on private property, but the board said Police Sgt. Jared Witt will be notified to arrange some form of traffic control, as many residents like to watch the display and often park their vehicles along local roadways.

Rochfort discussed a Thorne Building Planning Committee meeting he attended on July 31. Thorne Building architect Michael Sloan gave a presentation; Rochfort said he was impressed with the plans and said the idea is to move full speed ahead. The parking area and plans to move the Band Shell have been laid out.

The public tennis courts have been repaired; the village contributed $500 toward the work.  Further work will be necessary in the near future, estimated at about $20,000. Money is being contributed from private citizens, but how the fund will be set up is still being determined.

Some discussion of the recent Tropical Storm Isaias on Aug. 4 showed that many local customers of Central Hudson and Optimum were unhappy with communications during its aftermath. County Executive Marc Molinaro will talk to the Public Service Commission and will discuss the utilities’ response within 21 days, said the board.

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