ENDICOTT, NY – The first meeting of the new Endicott Village Board of Trustees got off to a rancorous start on Friday.
During the New Year’s Day organizational meeting, Mayor Linda Jackson proposed hiring longtime former trustee and deputy mayor Cheryl Chapman as a part-time clerk.
Jackson wanted Chapman, who lost her bid for re-election in November, to stay on at 12 hours per week to finish work on some grants that could benefit the village to the tune of $300,000.
Plus, the Mayor was willing to convert her secretary from full-time to part-time in exchange, saving the village $27,000 in salary and health insurance costs.
However, 3 trustees, Ted Warner, Pat Dorner and Nick Burlingame, voted against the proposal with only Trustee Eileen Konecny supporting Jackson.
The Mayor claims the dispute is rooted in the fact that Warner, Dorner and Burlingame oppose the proposed lithium battery rceycling facility in Endicott, while Jackson, Chapman and Konecny have supported it.
“It’s all because they don’t want to vote with me. They want to show that they can run the village, because they do have 3 votes, that they can run the village and do whatever they want. And they’re not doing what’s best for the village. They’re doing what’s best for their own agendas,” says Jackson.
Burlingame, the newcomer who took Chapman’s seat, says he is actively opposed to the SungEel battery recycling project but that’s not why he voted against hiring Chapman.
He says the voters rejected her so it’s time for her to go.
Burlingame says he and the other trustees can pick up the grant work where Chapman left off.
He says Mayor Jackson needs to adjust to the new reality that she no longer has a solid majority to back all of her wishes.
“We are more than willing to work with the Mayor on any issue that is appropriate for Endicott. We will forget the SungEel issue when it is over. Until it’s over for certain, we’re not backing down. We’re going to stand strong and we’re going to stand together. But, we do hope that we can move on for the betterment of Endicott and continue our great service to the community,” says Burlingame.
Jackson says she doesn’t believe SungEel will end up coming to the village anyway due to the public opposition.
SungEel did not respond to a request for comment.
She says she’s eager to tackle other important issues, such as the village’s finances and the revitlaization of the Washington Avenue business district.