THURMAN - The vacuum of leadership in the town of Thurman, which existed for the past several weeks after the former town supervisor and a board member abruptly resigned, has now been partially filled.
Several actions at the Aug. 17 town board meeting made the difference.
Relatively new board member Al Vasak, former athletic director at Warrensburg Central School, assumed the post as interim town supervisor.
Rebecca Hitchcock, 60, of Drexel Road in Thurman was appointed town board member by the remaining three council members in a unanimous vote, and she assumed one of the two empty seats. Hitchcock's appointment, effective through December, allows the board to now to decide issues they otherwise couldn't tackle in a month for lack of appropriate valid votes.
This is Hitchcock's first foray into politics. She's lived virtually her entire life in Thurman.
Her career has to date centered on office management, having worked for Adirondack Medicine and Partners Health plans from 1989 to 1999, followed by similar employment with the parent firm, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, plus work at Conifer Park Outpatient Clinic of Glens Falls.
Her career was cut short by a car crash in which she received serious injuries. Since then, she's recovered substantially, but lingering physical effects have blocked employment, she said.
Her career in office work, however, developed her attention to detail, she said, which should be useful in her new role as town board member. She'll be serving in this post until January 1, when a candidate - perhaps Hitchcock - is elected by the public in November to take office for a full term. Hitchcock is the current Republican candidate in that election.
Although she said she's not apt to make campaign promises, she intends to focus on town government finances.
"I want to help keep the budget under control, and see what we can do about containing taxes," Hitchcock said.
Thurman town government has been in turmoil this year, with controversies and discord prompting the resignation this summer of former town supervisor Red Pitkin and board member James Ligon.
The controversy that seems to erupt in Thurman politics routinely is not likely to faze her, she said.
Hitchock said her approach in facing town business is to seek collaboration and cooperation with others.
"One person can't do it alone," she explained. "We all have to work together to get what the public wants done."
She said she anticipates on working well with other board members Leon Galusha, Charlie Bills, and Al Vasak.
Hitchcock considers herself family-oriented, and she and her second husband Robert Hitchcock, have eight children between the two of them. She has 13 grandchildren and one great-grandson that they enjoy visiting, when they have the chance, she said.
Her activities include taking care of her father Floyd, and volunteering at the town food pantry.
She said she'll be seeking to serve the townspeople with diligence and integrity.
"I hope to work towards what is best for the people of town of Thurman," said Hitchcock. "You can't always please everybody, but I'll try hard."