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Town councilman no longer living in Norfolk

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NORFOLK - A Norfolk town councilman’s residency has raised the ire of a local landlord.

Councilman Kevin M. Enslow confirmed at Monday night’s town board meeting under questioning from town resident Roger Conte that he is currently living outside the town of Norfolk due to personal reasons.

Mr. Conte, who owns rental property in the municipality, brought up the residency issue as he railed at town officials over increased assessments on several of his properties.

“I know a councilman that’s not living in the town of Norfolk,” he said.

Mr. Enslow then said it was he who was no longer living in the town. He fired back at the comments, suggesting he never dragged Mr. Conte’s personal problems into the spotlight.

Mr. Enslow declined further comment on his residency Wednesday. He was first elected to the council in the fall of 2007 and was unopposed in his re-election bid last fall.

State public officer’s law requires elected officials be a resident of the municipality they’re running in on election day, according to John W. Conklin, spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections. And “residency” can be a gray area, he said.

“It depends on the proof being offered,” he said.

St. Lawrence County Board of Elections Commissioner Jennie H. Bacon said some municipalities pass local laws with further residency stipulations. Town attorney Eric Gustafson said he was not aware of any Norfolk law requiring elected officials live in the municipality.

“There may be some provision in the public officers law, but I don’t think there’s anything local,” he said.

Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said the town had researched Mr. Enslow’s situation and a 1977 New York state Attorney General ruling appeared to indicate Mr. Enslow could continue to serve despite currently living outside Norfolk. He said Mr. Enslow was continuing to address the issue.

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