CHESHIRE, Mass. — In a letter sent to iBerkshires on Wednesday morning, longtime selectman and former Chairman Robert Ciskowski declared his resignation from all town boards he served on.
"As much as I like this Town, my ability to serve in Town Government has been compromised by what I believe to be serious violations of the Public Trust by another elected official," Ciskowski wrote. "My moral convictions and what I hold as true are more powerful than my like for helping out with local government."
Ciskowski wrote that around the time of Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV's departure late last year, he felt he had experienced state ethics violations and Open Meeting Law violations while on the board.
"I contemplated filing with the appropriate State agencies my concerns, but at this point, hold that it is best for the taxpayers and voters for me to remain silent," he wrote.
The letter was dated Jan. 25 and, on Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen accepted Ciskowski's resignation.
Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi thanked Ciskowski for his service to the board.
"I'm sorry to see Bob leave the select board," she said. "He served the town faithfully for many years and his efforts and commitment are appreciated. The institutional knowledge he provided was helpful during this period of change within the select board. I wish him all the best."
She added that the Selectmen will likely hold off on filling the position. She said Ciskowski's term would have expired May.
"So we will run the election process as regularly scheduled," she said.
Ciskowski was re-elected to the board in 2014 after some time away from town government. He also served on the Conservation Commission and the Rent Control Board.
Ciskowski often challenged other select board members, including longtime former Selectwoman Carol Francesconi. Specifically in the contentious hiring of St.John as town administrator, he offered to vote for St. John and end the gridlock, but said he planned to resign immediately after.
This never came to be.
Ciskowski more recently challenged new Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi. He felt she was overstepping her role as board chair, specifically in holding conversations with the Hoosac Valley Regional School District in regard to the town's lease agreement for the use of Cheshire Elementary School. Although it was agreed that Francesconi would take on new roles in the absence of a town administrator, Ciskowksi felt she should have included the rest of the board in these discussions.
Ciskowski was also outspoken about the closing of Cheshire Elementary School and took issue with the district using the building as its central office.
He fought to increase the board from three to five members and brought construction and heavy equipment knowledge to the board.
He was instrumental in the development of the town's master plan. He also looked to improve transparency in government and was part of a movement to move Selectmen's meetings to the larger Community Center to accommodate more seating.
Ciskowski was the only remaining member from the earlier iteration of the board with only three members.
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