Proceedings of the Middleburgh Town Board descended into chaos Thursday evening when Town Councilman Brian DeFeo accused Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon of improperly conducting himself against the wishes of the town board.
Positioning himself before his colleagues in an unusual display, Mr. DeFeo opened his statement by saying he had "become more concerned about the conduct of our town supervisor," before spending nearly an hour airing several of his grievances.
Accused of not one, but four charges of misconduct by the town councilman, Mr. Buzon at first listened patiently before barking back at each allegation in turn. Councilman DeFeo accused the town supervisor of:
- Taking it upon himself to make committee appointments without the council's knowledge.
- Approving unsanctioned work to be conducted by contractors without previous board okay.
- Entering into discussions with Constitution Pipeline without informing the town board.
- Misrepresenting the town board's official position on an administrator to the county board.
Addressing each malfeasance in response to DeFeo, Buzon defended his actions on each account while decrying the councilman's attempt to make policy disputes personal. The supervisor would later insist that he felt insulted during the hostile exchange.
Arguing on the first and third charges respectively that he had asked a resident to serve as a last second consult in place of a sick committeemen, and had held discussions with Constitution as part of a group of supervisors, Buzon denied any misconduct.
Further stating that he had made his statement indicating the council's support for an administrator after polling a majority of the board in favor, Buzon pointed out that DeFeo had himself "stood before the county board and said we needed an administrator."
On the second charge, where he was accused of authorizing additional work to be conducted by an outside firm upgrading the Town Hall's security system without receiving town board approval first, the supervisor admitted his guilt by remarking he was "unauthorized to spend $200 to fully secure the building."
Town Councilman David Lloyd suggested Buzon should have made a couple of phone calls before making the authorization, while DeFeo persisted that the supervisor had "circumvented the board." Town board members had approved the additional work earlier that evening.
Buzon, Chairman of the Flood and Re-licensing Committees on the county board, then accused DeFeo stirring sentiments of collusion at the town hall, where a Power Authority truck had been seen parked on multiple occasions during business hours.
Mr. DeFeo is employed by the New York Power Authority.
Questioning why DeFeo hadn't offered the town supervisor, "The respect to go into executive session," Councilwoman Sue Makely commented that she was beside herself, and, "horrified," by the exchange her colleague on the board had initiated. Town Highway Superintendent Dale Nunamann walked out in disgust.
The next day DeFeo sent out sent out an email to town officials and members of the press expressing his apologies for the manner of which he conducted himself the previous evening.