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Genoa board loses two members

by Christy Chalmers

The Genoa Town Board is back down to three members after the sudden departures of Kara Hayes and Lou Schaffer.

Both announced their resignations Tuesday, four days after the town’s two employees left. One of the workers, office manager Ann Evans, said she quit due to criticism and personal attacks by some of the board members, but identified Hayes and Schaffer as supporters.

Hayes, who was chairwoman of the five-member board, submitted a brief letter to her colleagues but declined to comment on whether her decision was related to the staff departures.

“I really don’t want to comment,” she said Wednesday, adding, “I wish everybody in the town really well.”

Schaffer cited personal reasons for leaving. His wife of more than 50 years died in January after suffering burns when her oxygen tank exploded at a local medical office, and he said he’s been weighing various offers for other projects.

“I left because of things not in there so much as things that are private in my life,” he said. “It boils down to the simple thing of having too much to do.”

But he did lament the departures of Evans and her assistant, Sheri Walters.

“I felt they were good people and should have been treated better,” he said. “I think (Evans) is a very capable lady and very dedicated. I can’t see why anybody thinks the town benefited when they lost her.”

Schaffer, who took office in January, said he made the final decision to quit Monday and announced it at the conclusion of the board’s meeting Tuesday night.

“I made it clear I wasn’t going to change my mind and there’s no reason I should have,” he said. “It just wasn’t the kind of group of people that I could deal with easily.”

The town board expanded from three to five members in January. Hayes’ term would have expired in 2001, while Schaffer would have been in office through 2003.

The two vacancies will be filled with appointments made by the County Commission.

The remaining town board members are Vice Chair Bernie Carter, Joe Antonucci and Michael Miluck.