Former trustee’s appointment to zoning board rescinded

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Trustee Doug Essek talks to Mayor Athanasia Landis regarding the zoning board appointment of Phyllis Jones during Monday’s special meeting. Essek told the board that Linda Malcom, longtime zoning board member, was never notified that her term expired. The board last week approved Jones to the zoning board to fill the open position. That was rescinded Monday.

The recent appointment of a former trustee to the Fredonia Village Zoning Board was rescinded during Monday’s special meeting of the village board.

The 3-2 vote to nullify the resolution, which was approved last week, came after it was learned that a longtime zoning board member was never notified that her term expired — nor was she asked if she wanted to return, according to Trustee Doug Essek.

Last week, board members unanimously approved Phyllis Jones to the village Zoning Board for a five-year term. No issues or concerns were raised at the time over Mayor Athanasia Landis’ suggested choice.

On Monday, Essek took issue with the approved appointment after learning that Linda Malcom, zoning board chair, was never asked by the village to see if she wanted to stay on. Essek said the way in which it was handled was inappropriate and motioned to rescind Jones’ appointment.

“I have a problem because Phyllis is replacing Linda Malcom, and she’s been on the board for a long number of years,” Essek said. “She’s a well respected person. She was not asked. I believe the common courtesy would have been to ask her if she was willing to continue on as our chairperson.”As Essek discussed the issue, Landis interrupted and said that he should have come to her regarding the matter before openly discussing it. But Landis responded to Essek by stating that her term was up and she never expressed interest. Trustees went into executive session to further discuss the matter.

Landis did say she regretted the fact that Malcom did not receive any communication regarding the term expiration. Landis said she waited until the end of her term — plus a month and half after it expired — to fill the vacancy.

“I did not think through it,” she said. “I thought (Malcom) was going to receive a letter. The letter was not received. I apologize for that. I regret that.”

Landis told the board Malcom could be offered an alternate spot on the board. But there’s a vacancy on the zoning board with ‘yes’ votes from Essek and Trustees Roger Britz Jr. and Kara Christina to rescind Jones’ appointment. Christina said she voted ‘yes’ for a variety of different reasons.

“I just feel like it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

James Lynden and Michael C. Barris voted ‘no.’

Essek said he regrets that he didn’t do more due diligence and ask more questions at the time of the appointment to see if Malcom was interested in the position.

“We made a decision without asking the proper questions,” he said.

With the resolution rescinded, the mayor will need to suggest a candidate to the village board to fill the vacant position.