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Wilmington board accepts longtime clerk Gerald Bruce’s resignation

The Wilmington Town Council meets Tuesday. (Provided photo — Tim Follos)

WILMINGTON — Wilmington’s town council conducted its annual organizational meeting on Tuesday.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of town clerk and tax collector Gerald Bruce. The longtime office holder had hoped to serve out his four-year term, but decided to resign due to ongoing health concerns.

Bruce held the elected position for 22 years. His last day on the job was Wednesday.

The board appointed Nancy Randall as the interim town clerk and tax collector at an annual salary of $24,638 and appointed Bruce as her deputy.

On Wednesday, Bruce said he will serve as the town clerk’s deputy “until I die, or they don’t want me.”

Bruce, a lifelong resident of Wilmington, is the former chief of the Lake Placid Police Department. Prior to his tenure as the town clerk, he worked for the community as an assessor for more than two decades. He also worked for the town’s highway department when he was a teenager.

Wilmington’s voters will have the opportunity to elect a new clerk and tax collector in November. They will also cast votes for town supervisor, highway superintendent, and for two seats on the town council on Election Day.

Salaries

The board approved the following salaries for town employees:

¯ Highway Superintendent Louis Adragna: $53,000

¯ Supervisor Roy Holzer: $25,708 (Holzer is also paid $20,607.91 by Essex County for his work as a member of the Board of Supervisors.)

¯ Town Justices Hope Smith-Holzer and Jim Selkirk: $9,010

¯ Assessor Alphonso Smith: $8,204

¯ Council members Paula McGreevy, Dawn Stevens, Darin Forbes, and Rarilee Conway: $4,986

¯ Assessors Blanche Peck and Marcel Bruce: $4,968

¯ Cemetery Superintendent Douglas Nemec: $2,775

¯ Water Superintendent Ed Orsi: $23.10 (hourly)

¯ Deputy Highway Superintendent Travis Holzer: $22.44 (hourly)

¯ Parks Superintendent John Langford: $21.84 (hourly)

¯ Account clerk Nicole Forbes: $21.21 (hourly)

¯ Landfill attendant Douglas Nemec: $19 (hourly)

¯ Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Douglas Nemec: $19 (hourly)

The town council reappointed Jerry Bottcher and Mike Goddeau to the Zoning Board of Appeals. These are volunteer positions.

The board reappointed Allison McGahay as the town’s attorney.

Monthly meeting

After concluding its annual organizational meeting, the board held its normal monthly meeting.

Holzer reported that the ice-skating rink at the town park has attracted a lot of interest and enthusiasm — too much, in some cases. The rink has at times become overcrowded, and recreational skaters and hockey players have sought to use the rink simultaneously. Holzer said he is looking into borrowing rink dividers from the state Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Holzer also said that the town is seeking chaperones for its youth skiing program. If the town is unable to find volunteers, parks department employee Ashton Winch will serve as the chaperone.

Highway garage

Adragna reported that the highway department generated $47,000 in income for the town last year by performing work for Essex County and New York state. Council member Darin Forbes said much of those funds should be put toward refurbishing the highway department’s garage. The board seemed to generally agree with Forbes’ suggestion.

Pandemic update

Essex County’s public health department has recorded 23 COVID-19 cases in Wilmington since the start of the pandemic, including 13 new cases in the past month. On Tuesday, the health department reported four active cases in Wilmington.

“I think we’re all affected by this,” Holzer said. “The vaccines they’re rolling out — they’ve had quite a few issues.”

“There’s a vaccine shortage,” interjected council member Paula McGreevy. “According to Kinney Drugs, they’re only allotted 18 vaccine doses per day. Essex County public health — they are getting flooded with phone calls. They still have no idea when the vaccine’s coming in.”

Of the 23 COVID-19 cases recorded in Wilmington, Holzer said he is aware of three town residents who became so ill that they required hospitalization, including 16-month-old Riley Sedgwick, who spent almost two weeks at Albany Medical Center.

Holzer set up a web page to collect donations for Sedgwick’s family. The page received $15,925.

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(Correction: Paula McGreevy’s first name and the length of the town clerk’s term were incorrect in an earlier version of this article. The Enterprise regrets the errors.)

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