County makes ethics appointment

FONDA – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors appointed a new member to the Ethics Commission.

Ken Mazer, of 2 Highland Road, Amsterdam, was nominated to the position Tuesday. His nomination came after a motion passed to replace former commission member Justin Knudsen, whose term expired in December.

Knudsen was not reappointed to the commission after concerns were mentioned during a committee meeting Jan. 8. Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald J. Barone and 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler, all Republicans, expressed their concerns about reappointing Knudsen, a Democrat.

The three supervisors’ concerns about Knudsen stemmed from statements he allegedly made about them while on a radio program in November.

The debate Jan. 8 intensified after a heated exchange between members of the board.

At the time, Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeff Stark, chairman of the city of Amsterdam Democratic Committee, questioned why Republicans would nominate the Democratic post.

“Are we going to try to work together this year or [will we] keep settling scores? We need to do the will of the people and get along,” Stark said. “I’m tired of people acting sanctimoniously.”

“I’ll match you any day of the week on ethics,” DiMezza snapped back to Stark.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush said Jan. 8 if someone had negative or positive things to say about a supervisor, it might be problematic if the supervisor was due to appear before the committee.

“Even if the statements were all positive, and [the supervisor] appeared before the committee, the committee member might say ‘There’s no way I could find against him, because he’s a great guy.'” Quackenbush said.

The board’s three appointments have to be broken down by party, with one Democrat, one Republican and one Conservative, Quackenbush said.

Quackenbush said he doubted the disagreement was caused by party differences.

“I can understand the position and why [those supervisors] might feel uncomfortable appearing before him,” he said.

Mazer was suggested by Stark on Tuesday, providing an alternative for the group.

The vote was unanimous among the members present. Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito “Butch” Greco was absent.

Mazer said he is proud to take over the position.

“I’m honored by it,” Mazer said.

Mazer said he would strive to be as non-partisan as possible.

Mazer has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and as a member of the Waterfront Commission for the city of Amsterdam, and currently serves as a health inspector.

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