Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 03.10.22

On Keith Hammond’s Ethics Issues

With respect to Andy Gilchrist and the subject of his major-league conflict of interest based on his representation of Polaro in Poestenkill and the Town of Brunswick which sells water to Poestenkill and thus benefits from contaminated ground water in Poestenkill requiring an extension of the existing water district at Poestenkill taxpayer expense, and at the same time, sends its garbage to Poestenkill, where Keith Hammond and his ruling Junto make money off of it, again, at our expense, if one goes to Article II of the Poestenkill Town Code, which is the Code of Ethics, one finds in § 28-3 the word “Town” defined as “(T)he Town of Poestenkill and all of its boards, commissions, councils and other departments or units of government,” and “Town Employee” defined as “(A)ny officer or employee of the Town of Poestenkill, whether paid or unpaid, whether service is in a full-time, part-time or advisory capacity,” which definition would include Andy Gilchrist himself.

When we next go to § 28-4, we find that every Town employee, which would include Andy Gilchrist, “shall strive to ensure that his or her duties are always performed independently, impartially and in the public interest, free of conflicting personal interests,” and right there is a test that Andy Gilchrist cannot pass which makes him unfit and thus ineligible to be our town attorney.

When one goes to § 28-5(D), wherein stated “(A) Town employee shall not, by his or her conduct, give reasonable basis for the inference that any person can improperly influence him or her or unduly enjoy his or her favor in the performance of official duties, or that he or she is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person,” there is another test Andy Gilchrist cannot pass, as well as (E), “(E)ach Town employee shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he or she is likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of his or her trust.”

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Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Support of Law Breakers?

I am appalled that you want us to feel sympathy for illegal immigrants. My ancestors were Native American. I want to make it clear that I am not racist. Illegal immigrants that pay the coyotes thousands of dollars to get the golden ticket are still illegal. I grew up on a farm where my father made $25.00 a week for the five of us. I know what it is to grow up poor and fight to get educated. I worked hard in school and many odd jobs to get a college education. In my professional career, 

I worked with many who came from Ghana, Haiti, and other South American countries, who waited 10-15 years to come here legally. We denigrate them for their patience and hard work to come here legally. I give 15-20% of my income to charity within our borders and outside the country. We are losing the sovereignty of our country for WHAT? To benefit a political party! To get cheap labor! To propagate social contracts! Right now I am at the end of my life, but fear for the loss of the great values and ethics that our country has had for centuries coming to an end for my children and grandchildren. I am taking a stand against this insanity of destroying our country in the name of empathy for all. I know many of you will disagree with me. That is your right. BUT, ILLEGAL IS STILL ILLEGAL!

Adele Harrris, Castleton 

Has the Rensselaer County Attorney Approved the Legislature’s Restrictions on Speech?

Those of you who are old are familiar with the “Four Freedoms” paintings done by Norman Rockwell during World War II. One of the most memorable of these, “Freedom of Speech” depicts a man standing up to address a public body. 

The ability to address elected officials in a public forum is one of the most cherished rights of Americans. While this right is not unlimited, unfortunately many situations arise in which citizens are silenced because of the content of their speech. Unfortunately, this appears to be the case with the Rensselaer County Legislature’s new public forum policy. The first Wednesday of each month residents are invited to address the legislature on topics of concern. 

The legislature has recently determined that no more than 3 people can comment on any one topic during each public forum. So, if 5 residents show up to address the legislature about PFOA contamination in Poestenkill, only 3 will be permitted to speak about this serious topic affecting public health. The Rensselaer County legislative majority is silencing speakers based on the content of the comments, which is impermissible under the First Amendment. Has the county attorney reviewed this policy for its constitutionality? 

Or was he forced to sign off on it to shut down extended criticism of county leaders who are besieged by escalating criminal investigations and scandals? Ask your county legislator. 

Mary Frances Sabo, North Greenbush

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