The Grand Island Town Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to designate both Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray and Councilman Mike Madigan as primary contacts with state government on town-state matters, meetings and communications.
The vote comes after complaints by councilmen that McMurray was speaking on behalf of the town regarding the state's West River Connector Trail proposal. The $2 million trail project includes an option to close the West River Parkway to vehicular traffic and turn it into a multimodal path for biking and pedestrian uses.
In a surprise move at the meeting, Aronica moved to add Madigan as a primary contact representing the town in all New York state matters. The motion insists that Madigan is invited and included in meetings and included in communications with the state where input is requested from the Town of Grand Island. After a lengthy debate, McMurray and Councilwoman Bev Kinney went along with Aronica, Madigan and Ray Billica.
McMurray has come under criticism by council members for promoting the state's preferred alternative when councilmen think he is only speaking for himself.
"In the Town of Grand Island, there is no executive branch. The supervisor is one person in a council of five," Billica said, adding that while every council member is allowed to have an opinion, "The difference is the Town of Grand Island government is represented by five people, and when we vote on things, whatever the vote comes out is what the Town of Grand Island represents, and that's what needs to be communicated to whomever."