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Critics calling for Cape Vincent councilman’s resignation

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CAPE VINCENT — Critics of the town government are calling for Councilman Clifford P. Schneider’s resignation over his recent move to Sackets Harbor.

Mr. Schneider said he has moved “temporarily” out of town because of a “personal matter.”

“I’m still a taxpayer and I still own property in Cape Vincent,” Mr. Schneider said. “I am not resigning. I don’t have to. I fully intend to move back to Cape Vincent.”

From a legal standpoint, council members who reside outside the town temporarily are not required to step down from their post “as long as there is an intention to return in the foreseeable future,” according to Town Attorney Mark G. Gebo.

Critics of the “anti-wind” town board and outspoken proponents of wind development argue that Mr. Schneider should step down to protect the integrity of the Town Council, even if he’s not obliged to do so.

“I think it’s very unethical. He should have the decency to step down,” Harvey J. White said. “He’s using a loophole in the law to stay on the board.”

Gary J. King said Mr. Schneider is tainting the Town Council’s reputation by refusing to step down.

“I have no interest in their personal matters. It’s nobody’s business. But he should resign for the sake of the integrity of the town board, his friends serving on the board and the Cape Vincent community,” Mr. King said.

Cape Vincent Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said Mr. Schneider had explained to his fellow council members Wednesday that he is renting a place in Sackets Harbor but would be returning to the Cape in a few months.

Mr. Hirschey said the town board’s critics “can do whatever they want” but the council has “neither the intention nor the legal right to dismiss him.”

“Cliff is an exceptionally gifted and invaluable member of the town board,” Mr. Hirschey said.

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