Village taps ‘modern’ lawyer, seeks better fire truck

CHATHAM–After decades of service representing the village of Chatham, local attorney Dick Alford is set to retire this year, leaving Mayor Tom Curran and the Board of Trustees with a void to fill.

At its February 14 meeting, the board unanimously agreed to appoint Alexander Betke as the new village attorney. Betke is part of the law firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker, which has offices around the world, including Albany. Overall, the firm has more than 800 attorneys.

Mayor Curran noted that not only is Mr. Betke well-versed in village law, but town law as well, which will be helpful in efforts to consolidate municipal services. Villages throughout the area are searching for ways to save money by sharing duties and positions, such as a building inspectors.

As well as understanding a variety of municipal regulations, the mayor mentioned that Mr. Betke is a “modern” attorney, who is connected and reachable through email and cell phone at all times.

Also at last week’s meeting, the board made a motion to designate certain spaces near Herrington’s as overnight parking.

But to make the change, the board must change a local law to allow the new parking regulations to take effect. That requirement means that the village must will hold a public hearing, which it will do before its next meeting to give the public the opportunity to speak on the matter.

Finally, the board also worked with Fire Chief Paul Pratt to pass a resolution allowing the village to solicit bids for a new ladder truck.

For several meetings, Chief Pratt has expressed concern over the company’s ladder truck, which he has said he will not allow the fire company to use given it present condition.

The bids must be received by the end of businesses Wednesday, February 27. Although the period for submitting bids is slightly less than two weeks, the chief said the few companies that sell ladder trucks have already been notified that Chatham is in the market to buy and can easily make a bid in the short amount of time allowed.

The Chatham Fire Department held an informational meeting for the public February 20 at its fire house to explain why it needed the new truck, the process of purchasing a new truck, and how it would be paid for.



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