Schaeffer’s SAFE Act resolution shut down by Eckman

At least one Pomfret Town Board member is not in favor of debating Councilperson Christopher Schaeffer’s resolution condemning the controversial New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

Councilwoman Ann Eckman spoke out against taking up the topic during a recent meeting, citing a need to work on other more pressing issues for the town. Schaeffer introduced the resolution last January for the board’s consideration.

As of yet, no other board member has seconded the motion.

“I just don’t think it’s our place that we can have an influence on this topic,” Eckman said. “I’d much rather see us focusing on consolidation, working with the fire department and working on the water district; I think for us to spend a lot of time in passing a resolution, which is going to require a lengthy discussion, is not a good use of this board’s time.”

Eckman added Pomfret would have little to no influence on repealing the SAFE Act statewide if Schaeffer’s resolution went forward.

“I think we need to be true to the Pomfret residents and get the items that we’ve been working on for years off our table before we take on new things that would require a lot of our time,” she concluded. “It would require hours of discussion, in my opinion.”

Schaeffer replied by saying he would “not argue with (Eckman’s) comments one bit.” It is unclear if he will re-introduce the resolution at a later time.

Signed into law in early 2013, the SAFE Act was in response to the massacre of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The law imposed a variety of restrictions on assault-style weapons, among other provisions.

Also during the meeting, the board approved Janet Szymanski to fill a vacancy on the planning board. Szymanski’s term ends in 2017.

A $16,319 bid from West Herr Ford for a new highway truck was approved. The town’s 2008 Ford F-250 truck will be traded in as part of the agreement. West Herr’s bid had the lowest cost out of three.

Councilman Scott Johnston announced Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe asked the town if it can assist with funds to fix a sinkhole on Hamlet Street in the village. Town officials will look into what they are legally allowed to do to help.

Laona Recreation Secretary Evelyn Sievert’s request to hold the annual craft and yard sale at the Laona Playground during the summer was approved, pending approval by the town attorney and accountant, with a “nay” from Eckman.

“I am uncomfortable for her using a town site and charging people (to reserve a spot at the sale), and then utilizing funds at her discretion (for a Halloween parade),” Eckman said. “I know she does really good things; it’s not what goes on, it’s just the process, because she charges people when we don’t charge her to utilize town property.”

Highway Superintendent Dan Bigelow and another highway worker were approved to receive their Class C water operating licenses. Bigelow said the current licensed worker is getting ready to retire. The classes cost $700 in total.

The board entered into executive session to discuss personnel at the highway department.

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