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Miller appointed to fill vacancy on town board

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MASSENA - Massena Fire Chief Thomas C. Miller was appointed to the town board Wednesday night, following a brief executive session and a 3-1 vote.

He replaces Robert Cunningham, who resigned earlier this year to take a job with the Massena Electric Department.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray voted against the appointment, but he said it was nothing personal against Mr. Miller, who is a Democrat. Mr. Gray is the board’s lone Republican.

“It’s nothing against Tom Miller, I just thought the seat should stay vacant until the election,” he said.

Mr. Gray said other board members voiced concerns over a potential tie heading into the year’s budget negotiations.

“The discussion was, ‘What if there is a tie during the budget discussion?’ The board was afraid of a split during budget discussions,” he said. “I was willing to risk it.”

Mr. Miller’s term will begin Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31. Should he desire to keep the seat for the remaining two years of the term, he’ll have to be elected to the position this fall.

“He’ll have to run just like anybody else,” Mr. Gray said.

When asked if he was planning to do so, Mr. Miller replied, “Absolutely.”

Town Councilman Charles A. “Chuck” Raiti said he thinks Mr. Miller will be a valuable asset to the board.

“I think he’ll be a good councilman,” he said. “Tom has the qualifications. If he can run the fire department, he’ll do a good job for the town.”

Mr. Miller said he’s looking forward to serving on the board and doing what he can do to help his hometown.

“All my life I’ve been a volunteer,” he said. “I love the township and I’ve lived her my whole life. I’m looking forward to the challenges facing the town, whether it’s budgets, contract negotiations or other issues. I look forward to going to work for the taxpayers.”

Mr. Miller also said he would like to thank his fellow board members for their support.

“I would like to thank the current board members for their faith in me,” he said. “I look forward to being part of the team.”

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