Saranac Lake trustee wants to censure mayor

Shapiro introduces motion to censure Williams; neither expect it to pass

SARANAC LAKE — A motion to censure Mayor Jimmy Williams, citing “persistent unprofessional conduct” and creating a “hostile work environment,” has been added to Monday’s meeting agenda by Trustee Rich Shapiro, and the village board will discuss the motion at its meeting tonight.

The accusations in the motion, submitted on Wednesday, related to the way Shapiro says he has been treated on the village board by the mayor.

“Shapiro has every right to bring any resolution he wants before the board for their consideration,” Williams said on Sunday. “I feel like I’ve been respectful and professional with him.”

Shapiro said Williams has made him feel uncomfortable at meetings.

Shapiro said he’s been frustrated for a while and that after he felt Williams attacked his contributions to the village in a Sept. 14, he wrote up the motion.

Shapiro said Williams told him he does not bring anything or add anything to the board, and that he is not a productive trustee. Shapiro said he was offended by these “demeaning and insulting statements.”

“Nothing that I said during that … was insulting or demeaning,” Williams said. “It was honest and it was a fair assessment.”

“Mayor Williams’ actions are both embarrassing and deeply concerning to the Saranac Lake Board of Trustees, and beneath the dignity of the office Mayor Williams holds and the village residents he represents,” Shapiro wrote in the motion. “Williams consistently refuses to acknowledge or respond to requests for information from village trustees.”

He said questions he asks the mayor over email or in meetings go unanswered.

Shapiro said he doesn’t believe this censure motion will go anywhere. He’d be surprised if it even gets seconded. But he said he wants to make public his frustrations and hostility he feels from the mayor. Shapiro said Williams has a public image of being a wonderful person, and that he wants to counter that.

Williams said he does not think the board will pass the censure measure.

“I highly doubt it,” he said. “But it’s a crazy world. You never know.”

Williams said he wants to improve what the board spends its time on and he hopes Shapiro increases “cooperation and logical order for decision making.”

This is the second censure motion to be brought to the village board this year.

Shapiro was censured by the village board in June for “persistent disruptive conduct” which the board found “embarrassing and deeply concerning.” Shapiro had used the word “bulls***” at a public meeting and called a village resident an “a*** pore.” He had also been in a physical confrontation with a St. Armand resident at a political rally.

This censure was passed with votes from Williams and trustees Matt Scollin and Kelly Brunette. Shapiro abstained from this vote. Trustee Tom Catillaz was not present at that meeting.

Shapiro has called this censure an effort to “silence” him.

Censure is a reprimand of a board member by the rest of the board, saying the board does not approve of a member’s actions, but it does not carry any other implications.

The village board meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. tonight in the upstairs Village Office Board Room in the Harrietstown Town Hall.


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