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McDougall named to Gouverneur Board of Trustees

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GOUVERNEUR — Central Trades and Labor Council President Ronald P. McDougall was appointed at a special meeting Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the village Board of Trustees created when Carl A. Petitto resigned.

Mayor Christopher A. Miller said Mr. McDougall has a lot of experience and will be an asset to the board. Mr. McDougall is a former town justice and is the husband of Dierdre K. Scozzafava, state deputy secretary of state for local government, a former assemblywoman and former Gouverneur mayor.

Mr. McDougall was sworn in immediately and took his seat with the board.

“I’m here to listen. I’m here to help,” he said.

After the meeting, during which trustees also accepted the resignation of part-time Administrator Dorothy L. Vorce, Mr. McDougall said he wants to assist in bringing calm.

“It goes without saying there were some conflicts here,” he said. “Maybe we’ve bottomed out. I’m willing to help and I appreciate the appointment.”

One of his own priorities is to return the Police Department, which had its budget slashed a few years ago, to full coverage if it can be done without great cost.

“There’s been some times we’ve had gaps,” Mr. McDougall said. “We’d like to be able to fill that somehow. I think we can work that out and do it in an efficient manner.”

Mr. McDougall said he also wanted to make sure the village was doing everything it could to help meet the needs of its largest employers, Kinney Drugs and E.J. Noble Hospital.

Trustee Charles W. Newvine said he hoped Mr. McDougall’s appointment would stem the tide of bad news about Gouverneur.

“I hate to see Gouverneur’s name dragged through the mud. To see it portrayed in a bad light is very disheartening,” Mr. Newvine said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

Mr. Newvine said board members also should think about people who might take over Mrs. Vorce’s position as administrator in case trustees decide to fill the post.

Mr. Miller, who defeated Mrs. Vorce in the mayoral election, thanked board members for sticking it out and said he wanted the public to know his inability to sign checks is not a stumbling block in doing his job.

The board earlier voted to remove Mr. Miller as a village representative able to sign checks because the village’s insurance will not bond him. Mr. Miller had felony convictions in North Carolina for drug possession and forgery and misdemeanor convictions in New York for petit larceny and criminal trespassing.

“That’s all you’re hearing, that I can’t sign checks,” he said. “It’s not customary for any mayor to sign checks.”

Village Clerk Jennifer R. Link said Mrs. Vorce signed a few checks when she and Deputy Treasurer Barbara A. Finnie had family emergencies.

In the event that happens again, Mr. Newvine, as deputy mayor, can sign checks.

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