Listening to government watchdog and critic John Salvador speak during the town of Lake George’s organizational meeting held Tuesday Jan. 3 are (front, right to left): town board members Marisa Muratori, Vinnie Crocitto, town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson and board member Fran Heinrich. The board enacted a controversial shakeup of the planning board — under Muratori’s initiative — and fired all the town’s financial staff members. Both action were decided in split votes.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued The changes on the planning board were announced by Marisa Muratori, who was appointed by the supervisor to be the point person on the board for planning and zoning. She asked the board to rename her panel from “board committee” to “commission.”
In early 2009, Muratori had been beaten by Mastrodomenico in a campaign for a seat on the Lake George Village Board. Also, Muratori and Carr had been competitors in November 2009 for a seat on the town board, representing opposing parties.
Both Carr and Mastrodomenico said after the town board meeting they hoped the actions replacing them weren’t prompted by political motives.
“I hoping Marisa’s appointments have nothing to do with me beating her for village trustee,” Mastrodomenico said. “Our boards have to be working together cooperatively in the future.”
Mastrodomenico challenged the method in which the decision was made.
“The new majority on the town board campaigned on a platform of transparency and open government, but there was no transparency here,” he said.
Muratori defended her decision, which was opposed by Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson as well as Crocitto.
“Change is what the community wanted,” Muratori said. “There were a lot of concerns about planning and zoning.”
Dickinson said he was particularly unhappy to see Carr replaced.
“John Carr was a really good board member, very knowledgeable and thorough in his research of issues, and he provided good input,” Dickinson said.
Crocitto offered similar comments.
“The new appointments shouldn’t have been made at the expense of two very competent long-term planning board members,” Crocitto said. “John Carr was outstanding on the board, which had not one lawsuit filed against it since he was on the board. He was knowledgeable about buildings and construction, and concerned with the environment, and we will truly miss him.”
Carr was known for assuring that proposed developments followed ordinances, met standards, and he often had developers commit to planting more trees and establishing landscaping buffers larger than the minimum, town officials said. His extensive knowledge of the ordinances allowed projects to move to completion faster and with less conflict between developers and the town, they said.