By JOHN PURCELL
Recorder News Staff
Ronald Barone will likely get a second chance to fill a vacancy on the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Commission as his appointment is planned to be re-introduced.
During the Amsterdam Common Council meeting last week, Deputy Mayor and 3rd Ward Alderman Chad Majewski, 1st Ward Alderman Edward Russo and 4th Ward Alderman Rodney Wojnar voted against appointing Barone to the golf commission. Wojnar and Majewski had expressed staunch opposition to appointing Barone.
Russo, however, said Thursday he was confused about the resolution he was voting on and inadvertently voted against placing Barone on the golf commission. Russo said he was not opposed to Barone’s appointment.
Russo plans to reintroduce the resolution appointing Barone at the city council meeting next week.
Mayor Michael Villa said Tuesday his immediate plan to fill the golf commission vacancy was for aldermen to re-vote on Barone’s appointment after talking with Russo. Villa said approval from the city council was needed despite the mayor’s authority to appoint members to the commission.
Villa said he does not “lobby” aldermen for appointments to various boards, so Barone failing to garner a majority of support last week did not upset him. He said, however, finding people willing to serve on a volunteer board is not easy.
“It’s hard to fill these positions,” Villa said. “A lot of people don’t want to do them.”
Barone said Tuesday he would “always be interested” in serving on the golf commission, but he declined to comment further at the moment.
Matthew Ossenfort resigned from the golf commission last month, citing a lack of time to commit to the volunteer board.
Ossenfort had said his decision to resign from the golf commission, which he served as chairman, was spurred by the demands faced as county executive and his desire to focus more attention on his family.
Wojnar reiterated a claim he made following the city council meeting last week that some of the four members serving on the golf commission members would resign if Barone is appointed.
“I know two or three of the golf commission members are going to resign because of it,” Wojnar said Tuesday.
Wojnar, who serves as the council’s liaison to golf commission, said he was also opposed to appointing Barone because of how he had “conducted himself” while serving on the Common Council, along with a prior stint on the commission.
“He’s not a responsible person, he’s very belligerent and he doesn’t do things with the city’s interest at heart,” Wojnar said about Barone. “The golf commission and the golf course cannot afford to go backwards.”
Golf Commission Vice Chairman Matthew Beck said Tuesday he was unaware of any opposition from commission members about the possible appointment of Barone.
“I could work with Ron Barone easy,” Beck said. “I worked with him at the county. I’ve known him for a long time.”
Fellow golf commission member Michele Russo echoed Beck’s remarks and said she was not opposed to Barone serving on the commission and was unaware of opposition from other members.
Beck, the defacto leader of the commission following Ossenfort’s resignation, added he was not aware Barone was eyed prior to the council’s vote last week.
“It’s totally the mayor’s call and the council approves, so I don’t expect anyone to reach out to us to ask us about potential members,” Beck said. “My decision whether or not I would be on the golf commission wouldn’t be dependent on the other golf commission members.”
Majewski, a Democrat, had defeated Barone, a Republican, in the 2015 election to represent the city’s 3rd Ward. Majewski is unopposed in his re-election bid this year.
Wojnar and 5th Ward Alderman James Martuscello are the other Democrats serving on the city council, with Russo and 2 Ward Alderman Paul Ochal being Republicans.
Martuscello said while he supported appointing Barone, he had some reservations about it.
“I told the mayor I’ll vote for him, but I’m not going to put up with the grandstanding,” Martuscello said. “I’m always for giving somebody a second chance.”
Villa said Corporation Counsel William Lorman was continuing to research whether there was a requirement for golf commission members to reside within the city. Villa said there did not appear to be a residency requirement.
Villa had said there was a person in mind to fill Ossenfort’s vacancy who lived just outside the city limits. Barone lives within the city.