Censure motion against Saranac Lake mayor dropped

SARANAC LAKE — A motion to censure village Mayor Jimmy Wiliams was pulled off the board’s meeting agenda by Trustee Rich Shapiro on Monday. The resolution ultimately was not put up for a vote that night.

Last week, Shapiro had moved to censure Williams, citing “persistent unprofessional conduct” and creating a “hostile work environment.” The news of this motion was met with a largely negative public response on social media.

On Tuesday, Shapiro said he thought he would be able to get his point across better by reading a list of complaints he had about the mayor instead of taking a vote on a motion he knew did not have support on the board to pass.

Both Shapiro and Williams said on Sunday they did not expect the censure motion to pass and Shapiro said he brought it forward to make public his frustrations and hostility he feels from the mayor.

Shapiro still read a list of issues he has with Williams’ decisions as mayor at the board meeting, referencing issues he had with Williams’ handling of pickleball court plans, the village insurance company, the removal of sewer charges for a customer, advertising for village positions, appointing of a new code enforcement officer and plans for the location of a new proposed firehouse.

Shapiro said he’s not expecting things to change in his favor soon.

“I feel like I’m tilting at windmills,” Shapiro said. “I’m going to have to keep fighting the good fight.”

In public comment at the end of the meeting, village resident Callie Shelton said the “obvious dysfunction” she saw on the board was “getting in the way of good government.”

“Maybe I could recommend that you all go off on a retreat somewhere for the weekend,” Shelton said. “It’s sounds funny, but I’ve seen it work.”

She said they needed “quality time” to “work out differences.”

Trustee Matt Scollin loved this idea.

“Marriage counseling,” village Manager Erik Stender said.

Scott Lewis, from Lake Placid, said he came to the meeting to see what was going on with the censure motion.

“Mr. Shapiro definitely brings some things to the table,” Lewis said. “Debate is healthy.”

He said he believes Saranac Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the country but needs some improvements. If the board gets over its “communication issue” he said it could make the village better.

Village resident David Ryan commended Williams for keeping things “civil” and being “open-minded.”

“I’ve seen some other village boards and heard some screaming matches,” Ryan said.


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