Group wants state to investigate Reading board
READING—Some concerned citizens from the area want the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Committee on Open Government to look into the actions of the Reading town planning board concerning the proposed $40 million Inergy LLC liquid gas facility.
Pulteney resident Joseph Campbell said he is planning to ask the two agencies to look into the planning board this week. He added his group, Gas Free Seneca, will have their attorney, Richard Lippes, review the request before it is sent. He explained the group’s concerns stem from the recent changeover in leadership of the board, Thursday, July 28. Campbell added he wants the two agencies look into if the possibility of an illegal quorum of planning board members in deciding the leadership.
At the Thursday meeting, Campbell said the board voted 5-0 with an abstention to elect Frank Gigliotti as chairperson and Wanda Centurelli as vice chairperson. Gigliotti replaces Gordon Wright, who resigned last spring. Centurelli succeeds Bill Newell as the planning board’s vice chairperson.
When asked about the situation, Committee on Open Government Executive Director Robert Freeman explained to hold the vote, the planning board would have needed at least four members, a majority of the seven member board. Planning board member Newall arrived late to the meeting and missed the vote due to a car accident. The previous chairperson, Gordon Wright, left the planning board last spring. Freeman added to approve anything, the board would also need at least four affirmative votes.
Campbell said Gas Free Seneca’s second concern is that the planning board refuses to hear any public comment on the proposed gas facility until it is during a public hearing mandated by law. He added at the July 28 meeting, Gigliotti almost skipped the public comment period on the agenda.
Freeman explained a board meeting is open to the public to attend, listen, and observe. However, he added there is no actual guarantee that the public can comment during a regular board meeting.
Campbell said Gas Free Seneca has gathered a total of 3,000 signatures against the Inergy project: 1,300 online and 1,700 on paper. He added the group has 102 local businesses as part of the coalition.