JAMESTOWN – Three long-time members of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities have been replaced by three new members as part of the New Year’s Day appointments made by Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and unanimously approved by the Jamestown City Council.
During the city council’s New Year’s Day inaugural meeting on Friday, all nine members of the city council were sworn in to a new, two-year term in office, with just one new member joining the fold. Ward III Democrat Victoria James will be the only new member of the city council, replacing Republican Alphonso Pagan, whom she defeated in the November Election.
Also during Friday’s meeting the council approved several appointments by Teresi, including three new members for the BPU.
The newest BPU members will be Tyler Case, Terrance Horner, and Ralph Wallace. They are replacing: John Zabrodsky, appointed by Teresi in January 2000 and serving as BPU chairman from January 2002 to December 2015; Wayne Rishell, appointed by Teresi in January 2002; and Carl Pillittieri, appointed by Teresi April 2004.
The appointments came with no discussion or comment and were included in a laundry list of mayoral appointees for various agencies, commissions and boards involved with city government.
“After consulting with members of the city council, colleagues on BPU and senior management staff, and advisors in the community, I decided to bring in [the three new members],” Teresi told reporters on Friday following the meeting. “They come from three different disciplines and backgrounds in the community and share mine and the council’s love for the city and commitment to building the entire city of Jamestown. Each showed a great deal of interest in joining the city government family on the BPU and I’m very happy to have them join us.”
The three new members will replace three individuals who bring a combined 42 years of board experience to the BPU. Perhaps even more noteworthy, the three outgoing members have been outspoken critics of the city government’s use of BPU profits – by way of dividend payments – to help balance its annual budget each year since 2014. That dividend sharing was first used by the city decades ago, but eventually went out of favor with city leaders. However, the dividend sharing was re-introduced by Teresi in an effort to close spending gaps in the city budget the past three years.
Despite the difference of opinion on how to best use BPU profits and the ensuing (and at times contentious) debates that took place, the mayor would not say that was the reason for not reappointing the three to another term.
“I’m not going to make this about what has happened in the past,” Teresi said. “New Year’s Day is a day about looking forward and that’s exactly what we’re doing here – celebrating and thanking the contributions of those board members that I had the opportunity, the pleasure and the honor of originally appointing. They’ve been good board members that have served the public utilities of this city well, and this city as a whole well. We thank them and honor them for their service through a difficult and diverse period of challenge and accomplishments for [the BPU].”
Chase is a city resident who currently serves as Human Resources Administrator at The Resource Center, where he’s been employed since 2003. This past November he also ran as a Democratic candidate for city council in Ward 1, losing to Republican incumbent Brent Sheldon. He’s also active in several community groups and organizations.
Horner is a retired Biomedical Technician who worked at WCA hospital in Jamestown for 30 years before retiring in 2013. He’s also a U.S. Army veteran and is involved in several community and regional organizations.
Wallace serves as the Operations Manager for Jamestown Metal Products, a position he’s held for the past 15 years. He’s also worked in management for several other manufacturers including CAE Ultrasonics, Jamestown Sterling Corporation, and Visu-Wall Storage Systems.
Teresi said he believes the diverse backgrounds of the three new members will serve the BPU well, ensuring representation from all aspects of the city and also bringing new energy and ideas into the fold.
“This is not about the three members that gave 16, 14, and 12 years of dedicated, good service to the community. It’s a matter of moving forth and refreshing and replenishing,” Teresi said. “It’s not the first time there have been new members brought onto the BPU and it certainly won’t be the last time.”
The six other members of the BPU, in order of seniority, are: Jeff Lehman, serving by way of position as DPW director since 1994; Teresi, serving by way of position as mayor since 2000; Greg Rabb, serving by way of position as city council president since 2008; Maria Jones, serving as city council liaison since 2013; Martha Zenns, appointed by Teresi in January 2014; and Charles “Chuck” Cornell, appointed by Teresi in July 2014.