BY SARA GILBERT
Emotions run hot at board meeting over Tax Assessor O’Shaughnessy
The Stony Point’s town board met on Wednesday, September 12 to congratulate the little and senior league champions, hear public concerns and address regular business.
The meeting got underway with public input, and with a full room it took awhile to hear all the comments.
Most were there to discuss Jack O’Shaughnessy, the Stony Point Tax Assessor who is now resigning. A personal conversation between O’Shaughnessy and Supervisor Geoffrey Finn got out to the public just before Labor Day weekend. It is unclear as to exactly what was said, but the result of the conversation was O’Shaughnessy’s resignation. The public feared that Finn had insisted he leave.
O’Shaughnessy was trustworthy and competent with their taxes for years, according to residents.
According to Jim Crawford, whose wife is Terri Crawford, the Stony Point Tax Receiver for the last 20 years, “always spoke highly of him.”
In particular, they all noted, that he would go above and beyond to make sure that the elderly had their taxes straightened out, even driving to their houses at night when it was difficult for them to come out to see him. And they showed up at the meeting in support of O’Shaughnessy, not wanting to see him go.
“I would like to thank Jack for everything he’s done for myself and for all the seniors,” said Stony Point resident Charlie Brooks. “Jack has always been a perfect gentleman.”
Another resident, George Harris, who was responsible for writing a petition to the town about this, said, “Jack O’Shaughnessy has been a great friend of the seniors… I know that he has gone to seniors’ homes late at night to help them. We, the members of Stony Point, want him reappointed!”
In response to these accusations, Finn replied that he never made O’Shaughnessy resign and that in fact they were friends. “I’m not happy to hear these false accusations,” said Finn.
Finn told the room that he liked O’Shaughnessy and did not fire him.
“Nobody has problems with him. No one is looking to replace him… These are important personnel issues. Things that should be discussed privately behind closed doors,” said Finn.
He continued that he is in his office at least five days a week and that his door is open for people to come and talk to him about anything. “This is my job. I’m supposed to be here for the good and the bad,” said Finn, clarifying that he can handle people not liking him but does not want to be falsely accused.
Councilman Jim McDonald got straight to the point. “It was a private meeting,” he said, referring to the one with O’Shaughnessy. “No one was asked for a resignation. No one pushed for one and no one wanted one,” McDonald said emphatically.
Once the crowd was done talking, other business was addressed.
Noreen Smith, the town’s recreation facility supervisor, announced her retirement. Finn presented her with a plaque and said, “A plaque is the least we can do for 10 years of your service.”
The rest of the meeting continued with regular business.
The board approved purchasing order requests, past minutes, the police report, the economic development report, the supervisor’s report, and the ambulance report.
Councilwoman Luanne Konopko announced that she was looking into creating a newsletter with a subcommittee and they would try to receive a grant in order to fund it. That will appear in the next meeting’s agenda.
Konopko also discussed the new farmers’ market that Stony Point is hoping to develop. “People in the town are very enthusiastic.” The only drawback is that in order to deal with collecting and allocating money, they were recommended to create a nonprofit (501C3) and they are trying to get this off the ground before October begins.
Finn confirmed that they would do whatever was necessary by either working with neighboring towns or creating a nonprofit entity.
Finn also thanked everyone for participating in the 9/11 memorial program and the firemen’s parade.
All other business passed without further discussion.