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.
Im here to listen. Im 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 weve bottomed out. Im 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.
Theres been some times weve had gaps, Mr. McDougall said. Wed 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. McDougalls appointment would stem the tide of bad news about Gouverneur.
I hate to see Gouverneurs name dragged through the mud. To see it portrayed in a bad light is very disheartening, Mr. Newvine said. I think were headed in the right direction.
Mr. Newvine said board members also should think about people who might take over Mrs. Vorces 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 villages 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.
Thats all youre hearing, that I cant sign checks, he said. Its 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.