At the beginning of every year, deep down you hope that in some instances, real change will be made in some areas that need obvious fixing.
The Hamburg Town Board is a perfect example of this. Three bright people with a lot to offer as representatives to those people who voted them in three years ago.
Somehow, in the end, the fractured board comes together like oil and fire and something is bound to eventually explode.
On Monday night, the board held its final regular meeting of the 2012 calendar year. The next time they reconvene for a regular meeting will be the annual organizational meeting on Jan. 7, 2013 (there is a year-end meeting on Dec. 28 at 8 a.m. for last minute budget/business). The beginning of an important year for the three current members of the board, including Supervisor Steven Walters and Councilmembers Amy Ziegler and Joe Collins.
The only thing we can say with certainty is that at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 2013, the current terms of the three members will expire. Over the course of the next nearly 11 months, we will learn the fates of these three people. Will they run again? If so, who will the opposition be? Will voters be satisfied with their current performances or will they feel a change is needed?
The only thing that will definitively answer that question is time.
But as we say goodbye to a year of squabbling, a meeting that never took place with Walters out with an excused absence and Collins storming out of an executive session then leaving for the night because he was not feeling well, all we can be left with as we inch closer to ringing in the new year is hope.
This year’s hope hinges largely on the fact that 2013 is an election year for the Town of Hamburg, and that all three seats are up for election.
But the question now becomes, will anything really change?
At certain points of the year, town board meetings do tend to quiet down. We are not saying that the squabbles take place at every single meeting.
Having said that, there is always that certain sense that when the three members go about their business and get along, it is only a matter of time before the oil and the fire meet and the explosion takes place.
On Monday night, it happened again. Collins was censured by the town board for two violations. One involving a harassment charge brought about by Brian Doyle, the former deputy town attorney who was hired in January as a human resources consultant. The other said Collins violated the confidential nature of executive sessions by “disclosing to a Town of Hamburg employee the nature and substance of discussions” that allegedly caused undue stress, anxiety and fear of job loss.
This was the second time Collins has been censured during his time as councilman for similar discretions.
One of the decisions Collins must make is whether serving on the town board is in his best interest. His one hope is that there is also the chance if he does run again in 2013 that in just over a year, he could become part of a majority board. If not, then more years of misery. Is it worth it to him? Time will tell.
There is nothing we would like more than for 2013 to come, and the members of the board to find a way to get along. Or at the very least to check their personal differences at the door and allow their differences of opinions be solely on what they feel are the best decisions for the town.
Deep down, there is always that slight glimmer of hope that with a new year, there will be positive changes to the board.
But when optimism quickly changes to reality, sometimes all you can do is shake your head and wonder why? Until proven otherwise, all we can say is, some things will just never change.