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Pitkin sworn in as Thurman's new leader

THURMAN - Einstein once said that the only requirement for wisdom is to understand that you know nothing. This sentiment resembles the outlook of Thurman's newly appointed town supervisor and political newcomer Lawrence 'Red' Pitkin. Repeatedly, he has said he will have to listen and learn before he sets a course for the town he just took charge of.

Following last month's felony conviction of former Supervisor John Haskell the seat has been held by Deputy Supervisor Leon Galusha. Galusha said that he was unable to take on the job for the remaining 11 months of Haskell's term due to other obligations.

The task of appointing a new supervisor then fell to the town board, who publicly interviewed and scrutinized five candidates for the position.

At the Dec. 16 town board meeting, the town board unanimously decided and announced Pitkin's appointment to the office. Pitkin has previously served on the Warrensburg Central School Board and the town Zoning Board of Appeals.

"I was surprised by how we all seemed to be on the same wave length," said Councilwoman Ruth Keller in reference to the selection process. "The actual selection process itself was a lot easier than I thought - I am looking forward to having a fresh face in office."

For his part, Pitkin is faced with concrete town issues relating to a 25 percent tax hike due to budgetary shortfalls, an upcoming state audit of town accounts and abstract issues related to 'healing the community' after the divisive fall-out following Haskell's conviction.

"An 'us verses them' approach will not solve anything," Pitkin said at the public hearing earlier this month, highlighting his conciliatory world view.

The stress the situation put on the community was not lost on board members either.

"I received so many phone calls and e-mails from concerned residents," said Councilman Jim Ligon. "It was certainly a tough decision - we had a lot to think about."

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