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Rookie town chief says he's comfortable in new role

LAKE GEORGE - For 26 years, Lou Tessier - a strong-willed and often controversial politician - has presided over town board meetings as Lake George supervisor.

Monday night, his understudy and successor Frank McCoy wielded the gavel and called the shots for the first time.

After his initial meeting, McCoy said he had recently lost some sleep over the new role, but now he was comfortable reading resolutions and calling for votes.

"I'm not as nervous as I thought I'd be, after 19 years of town meetings," he said, referring to his service on various town boards. "I must have picked up stuff by osmosis - all the words rolled off my tongue as I got going."

The lack of Tessier at the town's organizational meeting Monday wasn't the only change in routine.

The board decided to switch its liability insurance - traditionally issued to McPhillips Insurance of Glens Falls - to a competing firm Jaeger & Flynn Associates, also of Glens Falls.

McCoy said the board had decided to seek bids for municipal liability insurance to save taxpayer money, rather than merely award it to McPhillips, the town's insurance carrier for about 20 years.

The move to Jaeger & Flynn saved $7,000 in annual premium, bringing the cost down to about $63,000, while providing more comprehensive coverage - $12 million per occurrence rather than about $8 million, McCoy said.

"McPhillips has been great, but it was our fiduciary responsibility to put it out for bid," he said. "And we were pleasantly surprised with the results."

Upcoming meetings in January now under consideration include a meeting on the possibility of extending sewer mains up Rte. 9 from the village, streetscape planning and beautification efforts at the entrances to town, McCoy said.

Monday's meeting offered McCoy and the board a breather from the bevy of government critics who routinely have been showing up to air their concerns. Only one local citizen showed up for Monday's organizational meeting.

The next town board meeting is set for Monday Jan. 11, and McCoy said he expected to take whatever occurs in stride, considering his performance Monday with the gavel.

"I didn't get crossed up - it went pretty smooth," he said. "The other board members helped out, and it was easier than I anticipated."

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