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Massena Town Council votes to fill vacant positions

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MASSENA - The Massena Town Council has approved the filling of two Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Manager positions.

At its organizational meeting Wednesday, the council approved the retirements of MMH board members Gerald Soulia and Shelly Jacobs, and the appointments of Gary Borgosz and Melanie Cunningham to fill those vacancies.

The town council also approved the retirement of planning board member Lee Harper, who does not have an immediate replacement. Councilman Charles “Chuck” Raiti said he’d been in contact with an individual who’s previously expressed interest in filling the position, but declined to name that individual because he’d not been in contact with the person for several months.

The council also unanimously approved the reappointments of zoning board member Harry Cullen; Town Museum board members Pauline Boyce and Ann Page; Massena Public Library trustee Linda McDonald; Massena Volunteer Emergency Unit board member Roger M. Bennett; Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena board president Daniel S. Pease; and Massena Joint Recreation Commission board member George Hammill.

In a separate motion proposed by Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, the council voted on the reappointment of Massena Electric Department board member Richard J. Blais. The council voted 4-1 to reappoint Mr. Blais, with Mr. Gray casting the dissenting vote.

“I felt someone else would serve the MED board better,” Mr. Gray said. He declined to provide further comment on his vote to not reappoint Mr. Blais.

Mr. Blais was charged June 16, 2011 with a felony count of third-degree grand larceny and fifth-degree conspiracy. The arrest stemmed from an allegation that Mr. Blais, a security guard at the former General Motors plant, worked with another security guard to steal more than $3,000 worth of tools, materials and equipment from the site on March 6, 2011. The stolen items include a tig welder, tig cutter, sheets of metal and generators.

The charges was reduced to a misdemeanor in January of last year, under the condition Mr. Blais remained arrest-free for six months.

After the arrest in summer 2011, Mr. Gray said Mr. Blais should do some “soul-searching” and consider stepping down from the MED board.

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