Friday, November 13, 2015

Update on Tied Board Seat via Post Star

After tie, Thurman board will fill seat

THURMAN  Because two candidates tied for a seat on the Town Board, the seat will become an open vacancy in 2016.
That means it will be up to the Town Board to appoint someone to fill the seat after the oaths of office in January.
Two of the four Town Board seats were up for a vote. Incumbent Gail Seaman and Joan Harris were tied with 241 votes after absentee ballots were counted Tuesday.
The Town Board can choose to appoint one of those candidates or someone else to serve in the position in 2016.
Retired Psychologist John Youngblood won a seat. The other candidate, Debra Runyon, finished out of the running.
Initially, Warren County Board of Elections thought the candidates would be headed to a state Supreme Court judge to determine a fair way to break the tie.
When election officials heard back from the state, they learned that a tie in a village goes to a judge but not in a tie in a town election.
“The only time it goes to a state Supreme Court justice is if it’s in a village,” said Warren County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Mary Beth Casey.
“With a tie, no one can take the oath of office, so come Jan. 1, there will be a vacancy. The town will appoint someone to fill that term until Dec. 31, 2016,” Casey said.
Voters will determine in November 2016 who will fill the remainder of that term.
Casey said the legal term for what happened was a “failure to elect,” which means the town has an open vacancy and the board can appoint whomever it chooses.

“I’ve never had this happen before, so this was a wonderful learning experience for me,” Casey said. “No two election years are ever the same.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Absentee ballots (Unofficial results)

Today a little over half of the Absentee ballots were counted; here are the unofficial results


Hyde - 239

Wood - 243

Town Board

Harris - 235

Runyon - 124

Seaman - 232

Youngblood - 244


Sprague - 254

Templeton - 170

Highway Superintendent

Wood - 352

write in - 22

The final Absentee ballots for Thurman will be tallied on Tuesday, November 10 at the Warren County Board of Elections office located at 1340 State Route 28, Lake George, NY 12845

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I do not often editorialize on this blog, today’s entry is the exception to that rule; with the General Election just a week away I feel it is important that a few things be brought to light.

It is important to have a diverse town board; not only to create a realistic setting for discussion, but also to encourage the growth of a town while stepping outside the boundaries to entertain exploring new ideas.

A town board that always agrees is not necessarily a good thing if it means it keeps the town at a standstill and does not move towards the future. It is the obligation and sworn duty of each elected official to make decisions for the whole towns future, not simply to agree and go with the flow.

Furthermore, is having a board that always agrees and does not discuss issues of the town a wise way to approach the situation….  This strategy would be a great detriment to the town. At some point the issues that had been avoided would wait no longer and need to be addressed. What then?

Thurman has some concerns in a couple areas and we need elected officials who will work for the whole town, not a select few. Our town needs board members that can agree to disagree and still maintain to see it through for the betterment of the voting public.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bio's and Platforms welcome

The following is an open invitation to all Thurman Candidates seeking election to present themselves to the voting public with Bios and Platforms.

The purpose is to make a level playing field for all Candidates to present themselves.

To inquire further or submit a Bio or Platform please email or

Below please find Bio and/or Platform links of some of the Candidates and we look forward to more.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Defining Values

     This blog has been up for a little over two years.
     Recently, we were offered the opportunity to receive three cents per pageview.
     We have had, so far, about 11,000 pageviews.
     We will not enroll in that program. We believe folks should be able to get good, factual information without it being commercialized or having to deal with distractions.
     We are going to continue to do our best to give the voters the information they need to make an informed decision when voting.

Written by Andrew Templeton

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What is a Debate

   This post is about Debate/Rational Arguments.
   In a debate speakers must justify their claims.
An argument or debate is not a fight or a quarrel.
Debating/arguing is a creative and productive activity.
   Think not of a shouting match, but of a group of people seeking the best solution to a problem.  It is a creative and productive activity that stimulates critical thinking.
   Although, formal debate can develop critical thinking, its weakness is that it can turn argument into a game of winners and losers rather than a process of cooperative inquiry.
   Argument/debate entails a desire for truth; it aims to find the best solutions to complex problems.
   It will be beneficial to the voters to see and hear all the candidates at the debate on Oct 21.

Written by Andrew Templeton

Monday, September 28, 2015

Videoing vs. Security Cameras

There seems to be some confusion about the videos of the Board Meetings. There are two different recordings at Town Board Meetings. There are security cameras, yes. At the recommendation of the Sheriff’s Office, but they are not used for anything other than security footage of the meetings. Anyone who has ever seen security camera footage knows it would not be suitable for high quality video like the videos of the meetings that are posted online.
The videos posted online are taken using Evelyn’s personal video camera. She does this at her own initiative, and it is not town related. She is not using town equipment, funds, or time to supply the town with the videos. She posts them on her own YouTube channel and it is has nothing to do with the town website. And she started videoing the meetings before the security cameras were even installed. Even before Warren County started videoing their meetings. The security cameras and the video of meetings provided to the public are two different things entirely.
The Board cannot stop anyone from videotaping their meetings. News crews, cable TV, or people with cell phones or tablets could all videotape meetings. There was a court case about it and in 1994 the court ruled that videotaping could not be banned at public meetings just because the board didn’t want to be recorded. A lot of opinions from the Committee on Open Government also talk about videotaping being permitted at meetings, especially now that the cameras are so small they can record video without disruption.
Bottom line, Evelyn spends her time and effort to give us better access to our government, and that has nothing to do with the security cameras.
Court Case: Mtr. of Peloquin v. Arsenault, 162 Misc. 2d 306 - NY: Supreme Court, Franklin 1994

Written by Andrew Templeton

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Facts about the New York State Award Winning Thurman Whitespace Project

The following is information that was provided to us by Fred Engelmann of Rainmaker Network Services.

Here are some facts that should be public. Anything different is not accurate information.

Property classifications and street addresses are from the tax assessment rolls.

The current coverage area makes service available to about 40 households (see map and property addresses linked below). Of those, 13 households have subscribed so far.

A second pole has already been installed further west up Garnet Lake Road. Electrical and equipment will be installed through July, by multiple contractors and National Grid, depending on their schedules.

This will make service available to another dozen or so households in that area.

Two more poles are scheduled to be installed on Monday 22 June. Electrical and equipment will be installed through this summer, by multiple contractors and National Grid, depending on their schedules.

This will make service available to about 40 households available in those coverage areas (see map and property addresses linked below).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thurman Clerk accepts petition for public vote

THURMAN  In an upcoming special election, town voters will be asked to decide whether to move money from a reserve fund to the Highway Department’s budget to make up for a six-figure shortfall.
The shortfall was caused when bills from the last two months of 2014 were paid using money set aside for 2015.
On Monday, Town Clerk Cynthia Hyde certified the 39-signature petition to trigger a referendum on the money transfer and accepted it for filing. The town clerk is responsible for determining whether a petition, on its face, meets the minimum legal requirements.
Hyde said she took several weeks to certify the petition after consulting the town attorney and said it’s not her job to validate it.
“It’s not my job to decide if it’s valid or not. It’s only my job to accept it,” Hyde said. “The petition meets all the basic requirements, and therefore, there’s nothing I can do but accept it.”
A special election will have to be scheduled for 60 to 75 days from the date the petition was filed, which was March 30.
“This was the first time I’ve ever had to deal with a permissive referendum,” Hyde said.
In 2011, the town established a reserve fund for road repair after the damaging storms of that year.
That fund has grown to roughly $174,000, plus accrued interest.
Two resolutions in January were unanimously approved by the Town Board — to reduce the reserve fund from $174,024 to $10,000, and to use the $164,024 to pay highway bills from 2014 and create a machine reserve fund with the rest.
Supervisor Evelyn Wood said the roughly $101,000 in unpaid bills were paid in January with money from the highway fund, leaving the highway fund short that much for this year.
Then in March, Wood said the board learned the action to transfer money from the capital fund was subject to permissive referendum. So the board had to adopt a resolution at the March 11 meeting that gave residents 30 days to submit a petition to send the action to a vote.
Town Board member Michael Eddy voted no on that resolution and worked on circulating a petition to push the matter to a referendum.
The wording in the March 11 resolution states that the Town Board wishes to keep $10,000 in the reserve and also states “any monies currently held in the fund in excess of ($164,024.50) shall be returned to the general fund from which they originated.”
Eddy said he objected to the idea the money would be transferred from a reserve account to the general fund. He voted against that resolution.
“You shouldn’t be taking out savings. You should be looking at your budget for 2015,” Eddy said, adding that the Highway Department has run into shortfalls over the past four years.
“Unfortunately, the law says it has to go back to the fund from which it originated, but the board did in its earlier resolution indicate we wanted to transfer that money to the Highway Department,” Wood said last week.
Wood said she expects the issue to be discussed at the May 12 meeting.
“There’s some town law, municipal home rule law, a combination of many. What I’ll probably end up doing is conferring with the town attorney on what he sees the next step being. This is my first run-through. We’re just trying to make sure we do it right. I’ll be talking with the town attorney to make sure of that. He should be able to point us in the right direction and keep us on track,” Wood said.

This was originally posted by Post Star correspondent Amanda May Metzger on April 22, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Petition for Permissive Referendum on transfer of funds

 Below you will find a copy of the Petition for Permissive Referendum on the transfer of funds to the Town of Thurman Highway Dept.
We obtained this copy on Wednesday April 15, 2015. It had not been redacted, meaning it still had signers residence. It has since been redacted as you will see under the heading "Residence" for the privacy of those signers.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Post Star Permissive Referendum Article

Transfer of funds may be up to voters in Thurman
THURMAN u Voters in Thurman may be tasked with deciding how to make up an approximately $101,000 shortfall in the town Highway Department’s budget.
If the petition circulated by Town Board member Michael Eddy carrying 39 signatures is deemed valid, it will trigger a townwide referendum on the Town Board’s decision to transfer about $164,000 from a “capital improvement capital fund.”
The transfer would leave just $10,000 in the capital fund but provide enough money to replenish the Highway Department’s budget and establish a reserve for machinery costs. The capital fund was created for road repairs after the damaging storms of 2011.
Highway Superintendent Patrick Wood said if residents vote on the transfer and deny it, layoffs to the seven-person crew and cuts to services will likely ensue.
“Everybody’s got to work together on this. I just feel we need to work together and spend a lot more time on fixing the problems rather than fixing the blame,” Wood said following at least an hour of heated debate at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.
The debate took place among the town’s leaders, who are frequently at odds.
“There are men sitting out there who want to know if they’re going to have a job and if they’re going to be able to pay their bills,” said Town Board member Gail Seaman.
Seaman asked Eddy what his plan was for funding the Highway Department if the money transfer is prevented by the public’s vote, which can’t happen until at least June.
“My plan is to have a permissive referendum,” Eddy said, adding after the meeting that he felt “scare tactics” were being used by the supervisor.
The public comment — about 30 people attended — was equally lively, with one woman suggesting Eddy should step down from the board.
Because of the uncertainty of funding created by the possible referendum, Patrick Wood said he cannot submit a paving schedule to the county.
Supervisor Evelyn Wood expressed a concern about cash flow.
“My concern is if he expends that money for paving, this fund might run out of money before the (CHIPS) reimbursement comes in. If the fund is out of money, he can’t pay the staff,” she said.
For the last two months of 2014, the Highway Department went over budget by roughly $101,000. In January, the Town Board was faced with making up the shortfall to pay the bills.
Wood said the department has gone over budget in year’s past, but has been able to work through the shortfalls by finding places to cut back.
The shortfall last year was caused by a number of things mainly related to the harsh winter, such as rising salt costs and overtime.
Wood said she cannot find any way other than the transfer to make up the money, and the town only has about $80,000 to $90,000 in its general fund now.
Two resolutions in January were unanimously approved by the Town Board — to reduce the road repair reserve funded after storms in 2011 from $174,024 to $10,000; and to use the $164,024 to pay the highway bills from 2014 and create a machine reserve fund with the rest.
Evelyn Wood said the roughly $101,000 was paid in January with money from the highway fund, which left it short that much for this year.
“The funds that we appropriated and raised for 2015, we actually used to pay the 2014 bills, which is what is going to cause the shortage. We anticipated the transfer coming through. Now that that is not the case, it will have an effect on operations,” Wood said.
After the January meeting, Wood said, she spoke to the town attorney and found out if the board was going to move money from the capital improvement fund, it had to adopt a resolution saying the transfer was subject to permissive referendum, meaning a petition could send it to a townwide vote.
At a March 10 meeting, the resolution stating the transfer was subject to permissive referendum passed 4-1, with Eddy in opposition.
Eddy then circulated a petition to send the transfer of money to a vote.
He took issue with the wording of the resolution because it stated the money would be moved back to the general fund.
“I don’t see us taking savings money and putting it back in the general fund,” Eddy said. “It should have been paid out of 2014.”
Wood said it has to move to the general fund first, because that’s where it originated.
Eddy collected 39 signatures, which was enough. In Thurman, at least 25 signatures are required to trigger a referendum. The law calls for 5 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election, or at least 25.
The petition was submitted at the end of March, but Town Clerk Cynthia Hyde said Tuesday she was in the process of determining its validity.
“I guess I don’t really know what we’re talking about this for. When I’m ready, I’ll tell you and you can take it from there,” Hyde said Tuesday after Evelyn Wood asked her about the petition’s validity.
It is the town clerk’s sole responsibility to assess whether such a petition meets legal requirements.
“You’re trying to invalidate this petition,” Hyde said.
Wood said the board needs a decision from Hyde because an election has to be scheduled 60 to 75 days from the date of the petition’s receipt if it is valid.

 This article was originally posted in the Post Star at