It’s time to get to work.
For newly elected Whitehall Town Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon, the work started on Wednesday, Jan. 6, when he was sworn in to his new position alongside newly elected board member Richard LaChapelle and returning board members David Hollister, Jim Putorti and Farrell PreFountaine.
Even before the oath was taken, Gordon was busy working on his first priority, developing a relationship with the New York State Canal Corp. as the town looks for a new home.
“Getting a new building is at the top of the list,” said Gordon. “One thing I can tell you is that the Canal Corporation is not going to evict us. I have been talking to them and they have put off the date for us to move until the end of 2010.”
Gordon added that the new date for leaving was not as set in stone, which previously had been the end of the 2010 tourism season.
“If we need more time, they are not going to have a problem with that,” said Gordon. “They want to make sure that we are making the attempt. They don’t have anyone else that has done this in the state and they don’t want to start down this road and allow us to set a precedent.”
Gordon said he was looking forward to working with the Canal Corp. and director Carmella Montello throughout the coming year.
“I have had some good discussions with the Canal Corporation, and they have said that they are going to come up for another meeting,” said Gordon. “As soon as I know when they are coming, I will let everyone know.”
As for a solution to the Town Hall problem, Gordon said, his first priority would be to move to the former Garden Time and Off-Track Betting building located on U.S. Route 4.
“I am personally leaning toward Garden Time,” he said. “It is a building that is already there, and I want to move the town in there along with the courts and police. It is already wired for security from the OTB being there, so it’s a good fit.”
Gordon said he understands there would be a rather large price tag attached to the building, but that he felt something had to be done.
“Nobody wants to spend anything, but we have got to get going on something,” said Gordon. “We want to get this done as soon as possible. I have already talked to a couple of board members and they want this done by December.”
Gordon’s first official act as town supervisor on Jan. 4 was to attend the Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting, where, based on his seat being the last in line alphabetically, he cast the deciding vote in the race for county budget officer, turning the seat over from incumbent Gayle Hall (Fort Ann) to Hebron’s Brain Campbell.
Gordon said that while he accepts his responsibility at the county level, his top priority would be the town.
“My first priority is the town and getting some morale built up,” said Gordon. “I am hoping to put together a landlord/tenant committee that will go out and find out who these absentee landlords are and force them to get their properties cleaned up and get some morale back.”
Gordon said that he was ready for the challenges facing him and the board in the coming year.
“Everyone thinks that this is going to be a tough year,” he said, “but I have confidence that we can get through it.”