ENFIELD, NY -- Enfield Councilperson Michael Miles resigned from the board over the weekend, citing the “toxic nature of our town governance.” Miles was appointed to the board just two months ago.
Miles said he had joined the board hoping to bring it level headedness, but found he was unable.
“Instead, most of my time has been spent reading and watching the vitriol among town officials that prevents it from accomplishing basic, non-controversial tasks,” he wrote. “I have a full-time job and a family and cannot continue to spend 20-30 hours a week resisting the inertia drawing me into the constant bickering and backstabbing.”
Councilperson Robert Lynch said Miles was alluding to the “bitter, oftentimes personal, rivalries and criticisms most evident through internal Town emails, barbs exchanged daily — sometimes by the minute — between certain governing officials, [and] disputes which occasionally spill forth into Town Board meetings.”
Miles continued in his resignation letter saying town officials often undermine, criticize, accuse and demean each other, and skills like listening, trust and inclusion are missing.
“Leadership is not just knowing budgets and how to sign checks, it is knowing how to de-escalate and bring people together to solve problems,” he wrote. “At this point, there is not much more I can do. The toxic undercurrents are too strong. Enfield citizens should be disappointed. They deserve better. And they should remember this in November when they vote on a slate of candidates. I know I will.”
In an email to the rest of the board following Miles’ resignation, Lynch wrote: “It is with deep regret that I read this morning’s resignation letter from Councilperson Michael Miles. He was a gentleman and a statesman who has now twice served our Town Board well. I found him as a voice of moderation and reason. If five like him served on this Board, our problems would be much fewer.”
The resignation causes another problem for the embattled Enfield Town Board. A Jan. 12 meeting was scheduled to appoint acting supervisor Stephanie Redmond to permanent supervisor until the year’s end. However, without Miles’ decisive third vote to elevate Redmond, and given Lynch’s decision to vote against elevating Redmond, the meeting’s lone agenda item seems doomed. Lynch has suggested the meeting be called off, but as of the morning of Jan. 11, it is still planned to go ahead as scheduled.
This marks the third time since early October the Enfield Town Board has found itself at just three members, which is the legal minimum to conduct business. The board has not yet decided how to fill the new vacancy.
Since Sept. 30, 2020 when Beth McGee resigned as town supervisor, three Town Board members (including McGee) have resigned.