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Wilmington board accepts clerk’s resignation, approves 2021 salaries

WILMINGTON — Wilmington’s town council conducted its annual organizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

The board accepted the resignation of town clerk and tax collector Gerald Bruce. The longtime office holder had, until recently, hoped to serve out the remainder of his four-year term, but decided to resign due to ongoing health concerns.

The board appointed Nancy Randall as the town’s interim clerk and tax collector at an annual salary of $24,638 and appointed Bruce as her deputy.

Bruce held the elected position for 22 years. His last day on the job was Jan. 13. Reached by phone that afternoon, Bruce said he will serve as the town clerk’s deputy “Until I die, or they don’t want me.”

A lifelong resident of Wilmington, Bruce is the former Lake Placid Police chief. Prior to his tenure as Wilmington’s town clerk, he worked for the community as an assessor for more than two decades. He also worked for the town’s highway department when he was a teenager.

Wilmington’s voters will have the opportunity to elect a new clerk in November. They will also cast votes for town supervisor, highway superintendent, assessor, and for two seats on the town council on Election Day.

Salaries

The board approved the following salaries for town employees:

– Highway Superintendent Louis Adragna: $53,000

– Town Supervisor Roy Holzer: $25,708 (Holzer is also paid $20,607.91 by Essex County for his work as a member of the Board of Supervisors.)

– Town Justices Hope Smith-Holzer and Jim Selkirk: $9,010

– Assessor Alphonso Smith: $8,204

– Council members Paula McGreevy, Dawn Stevens, Darin Forbes, and Rarilee Conway: $4,986

– Assessors Blanche Peck and Marcel Bruce: $4,968

– Cemetery Superintendent Douglas Nemec: $2,775

– Water Superintendent Ed Orsi: $23.10 (hourly)

– Deputy Highway Superintendent Travis Holzer: $22.44 (hourly)

– Parks Superintendent John Langford: $21.84 (hourly)

– Account clerk Nicole Forbes: $21.21 (hourly)

– Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Douglas Nemec: $19 (hourly)

– Landfill attendant Douglas Nemec: $19 (hourly)

The town council reappointed Jerry Bottcher and Michael Goddeau to volunteer positions on the community’s joint planning and zoning board and reappointed Allison McGahay as the town’s attorney.

Monthly meeting

After concluding its annual organizational meeting, the board held its normal monthly meeting.

Holzer reported that the ice-skating rink at the town park has attracted a lot of interest and enthusiasm — too much, in some cases. The rink has become overcrowded, especially when recreational skaters and hockey players seek to use the ice simultaneously. Holzer said he is looking into borrowing rink dividers from the state Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Holzer noted that the town is seeking chaperones for its youth skiing program. If the town is unable to find volunteers, parks department employee Ashton Winch will serve as the chaperone.

Pandemic update

As of Tuesday, Jan. 19, Essex County’s public health department had recorded 24 COVID-19 cases in Wilmington since the start of the pandemic.

“I think we’re all affected by this,” Holzer said, responding to a question about the pandemic’s impact on the council members’ lives. “The vaccines they’re rolling out – they’ve had quite a few issues.”

“There’s a vaccine shortage,” interjected council member Paula McGreevy, who works as a maternity nurse in Saranac Lake. “According to Kinney Drugs, they’re only allotted 18 vaccine doses per day. Essex County Public Health — they are getting flooded with phone calls. They still have no idea when the vaccine’s coming in.”

Of the 23 COVID-19 cases recorded in Wilmington, Holzer said he is aware of three town residents who became so ill that they required hospitalization, including 16-month-old Riley Sedgwick, who spent almost two weeks at Albany Medical Center.

Holzer set up a web page to collect donations for Riley’s family. The page raised $15,925 in a week.