Hopkinton town supervisor: 'I can’t be bought. I heard the majority.'
By MATT LINDSEY
HOPKINTON — Town Supervisor Susan Wood says she can’t be bought and questions tactics used by wind developer Avangrid in its attempt to build a 27-turbine wind farm in her town.
Wood was responding to claims in the Sound Off “Misleading Supervisor” which appeared in the June 6-12 edition of North Country This Week that she has been misleading and is making Hopkinton the laughing stock of St. Lawrence County.In a letter to North Country This Week Wood says, “this person states that the town deserves ethical leadership and how I am making Hopkinton a laughing stock of St. Lawrence County. I am assuming that this person is the same one who feels it is ethical for a board member to vote on wind related issues although there is a clear conflict of interest due to his father holding a lease valued by Avangrid in October 2017 to be worth between $100,000-$250,000. This could also be the same person that stated at the March 2017 board meeting ‘…if it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You can trust these people; they are going to make the right decision. You gotta trust your board. You gotta trust your wind advisory board.’ I have to think that this person must have his ‘ethics’ confused.”
The supervisor did not have kind words to say about her relationship and professional dealings with Avangrid.
“Avangrid is the one that signed a lease with a board member’s father and did not disclose this until they were questioned on it,” she said in the letter. “Avangrid attempted to sweeten the pot with the offer of contributing 75 percent toward electric bills for full time residents. Avangrid attempted to stop the vote by claiming an illegal meeting and at the same time informed the board they were requesting an increase in height to 600 feet.”
Wood said she has given both sides a fair look and listened to what the majority of residents who reached out to her want.
“I did my own research and attended the various meetings held. I visited other areas and heard both sides. I’ve heard from the wind representatives. I read all the survey results, both Hopkinton and Parishville. I reviewed each postcard that was delivered. I’ve read each and every email that was received. And most importantly, I heard the majority.
If that is not being ethical, then I guess I am not. But I will put my record against yours any day. I can’t be bought.”
The rest of the letter describes a meeting between Lyon, Parker and Avangrid officials that took place while Wood was vacationing in Florida”
“At the April 16 town board meeting, a vote on the proposed wind law resulted in a tie vote. At this time, as the Supervisor, I did task council members Steve Parker and Sue Lyon with setting up a public round table discussion, although various meetings and discussions have been ongoing for over two years with Avangrid, to get their questions answered.
“Approximately less than one week after that meeting, Councilman Parker approached me at the town office and informed me he had met with Councilwoman Lyon and they agreed to vote yes on the proposed wind law, although they didn’t agree with every section in the law. Based on this, a special meeting was called and held on April 25 and the law was unanimously passed.
“At the May 21 board meeting, I was informed by a citizen approximately three minutes before the meeting that both Parker and Lyon met with Avangrid. I asked them at the board meeting if this was indeed true and they responded by saying they had met to compare dates for a future meeting. I was surprised at this as nothing had been indicated regarding any meetings prior to my asking in public.”