Fultonville interim mayor appointed

FULTONVILLE — The Village Board of Trustees appointed Linda Petterson-Law interim village mayor Monday night.

Village trustee Linda Denton said the board was unanimous in its support for Petterson-Law, and for trustee Robyn Rose to serve as deputy mayor.

“[Linda] gave this a lot of thought and put a lot of time and energy into this over the past few weeks and she decided this is something she wants to do, and she’s doing a great job,” Denton said.

Petterson-Law now becomes the fourth mayor the village has had over the past seven months. She became the acting mayor earlier this month when former mayor Ryan Weitz resigned.

Village attorney Bethany Schumann McGhee said the village has now received signed resignations from Weitz, village clerk/treasurer Tom DiMezza and his wife, deputy clerk Kathy DiMezza.

Weitz had won a special election in March to fulfill the remainder of former mayor Robert Headwell’s last term in office. Headwell resigned in January to take a county legislator position, a job formerly held by Weitz.

After Headwell’s resignation, the village trustees appointed George Donaldson to be interim mayor, and, although Donaldson had planned to run in the special election in March, he was unable to get onto the ballot due to a petition disqualification, leaving Weitz unopposed.

Weitz’s administration was then embroiled in controversy shortly after he was sworn in regarding his backing of former clerk/treasurer Tom DiMezza. The village trustees had appointed Kelley O’Kosky interim village clerk and given DiMezza a $4,000 a month raise for January, February and March to train her and install software program related to the village’s water and sewer system. The training never took place, O’Kosky was dismissed by Weitz, the DiMezzas were retained, Weitz proposed giving the couple $18,000 worth of raises, most of which would be applied to Kathy DiMezza’s salary. The village board balked at the amount and attempted to block the raises by resolution during the village’s 2017-18 budget process. Denton stated the village’s practice of paying most of the combined compensation for the two positions to Kathy DiMezza involved a financial maneuver to avoid interference with Tom DiMezza’s police officer pension. Tom DiMezza threatened to sue all of the village trustees, including Denton and Petterson-Law, for discussing personnel matters in open session of a village meeting.

About two weeks ago, Weitz and the DiMezzas announced their intention to resign.

Denton said she has not yet received any notice of claim indicating a lawsuit from DiMezza.

“I’m not concerned,” she said.

Petterson-Law did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday evening. She told the Leader-Herald two weeks ago she had no desire to serve as mayor on a permanent basis.

Denton would not comment on whether the village board would continue its appointment of Schumann McGhee, or attempt to reappoint O’Kosky. She said she believes it is the inclination of the village board to appoint a bookkeeper/treasurer and a clerk to operate the village office during regular hours, a stated goal of the village trustees during the budget process and long a bone of contention during the DiMezza’s tenure.

“The bookkeeper/treasurer will probably be filled within the next week and the clerk we are actively looking for somebody. We’d like to get somebody who lives in the village who would like that opportunity,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the way things are going. I’m very pleased with the position the village is in. We’re headed in the right direction, and I foresee nothing but positive results from this change.”

By Patricia Older

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