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Serving the public is Job 1

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - Updated: 8:29 PM

The shoving match taking place during the past few months in the town of Broadalbin has grown tiresome for spectators and embarrassing for the participants. It's time the two sides buried the hatchet and got back to being adults.

The main participants include the town's superintendent of highways, Lance Winney, and its supervisor, Joseph DiGiacomo; with supporting roles being filled by town council members and highway department employees.

Since taking office, the relationship between Winney and his employees has resulted in two grievances being filed, both of which were settled in the employees' favor by the town board. DiGiacomo and Winney have faced off in a brief legal battle over Winney's attempt to clear some trees from town property. A letter voicing Winney's concerns over winter snow plowing was recently sent to Fulton County Superintendent of Highways Mark Yost, which could result in the county pulling its plowing contract from the town. Last week, Winney said an employee left his post as a flagman; he filed complaint directly to the union. There have been other dust-ups. Several residents, including a former supervisor, have offered to mediate (read: referee) the whole mess.

Does another party really need to get involved?

The thing about small-town politics is that -- setting aside the horrible taste it leaves in the mouth -- it is the engine that drives our little communities. Our roads need to be plowed, shoulders mowed, culverts cleaned out and potholes filled, all within budget and while our tempers are kept in check. Personalities are going to clash. Get over it. The problem (one of them) with small-town politics is that our neighbors get to decide who is responsible for these tasks. Not everyone is going to get along all the time, not everyone is going to do the job as proficiently as we would. All of the people will not be pleased all of the time. Ever.

But that should be the goal. And that goal should be the focus of our efforts. We will not side with one or the other in this spitting contest -- if people are burning more calories arguing than working, then they're doing it wrong. And everyone is at fault.

Seems to us that adults chosen by their peers to serve the public should do so without kicking sand upon one another at every available opportunity. No one benefits, no work is accomplished, and the good name of a fine community is tarnished in the process. Not only is the issue embarrassing for the community, it's embarrassing for the individuals involved. We are surprised this is not more evident.

For if it was, perhaps the participants in this schoolyard shoving match would step back, take a look at themselves, apologize to those around them, and then get back to doing what they have been asked to do -- to serve the public. And if this is not motivation enough, how about, at the very least, we get back to acting like adults? Is this really too much to ask?


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