By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Board member Dan Crangle publicly commented on his recent arrest following a disagreement with his estranged wife, calling it a private matter not relevant to town business, at Monday’s town meeting.
”I am embarrassed for my family for the attention this has received,” Crangle said Monday while reading a prepared statement.
Town police charged Crangle with third-degree stalking and second-degree harassment Feb. 16. He was arraigned on the charges and was released. Crangle is scheduled to appear in court in March.
A similar incident occurred in November, when Crangle’s wife called police after a fight. She declined to press charges in that incident as she was hoping “police interaction” would “change his behavior,” according to the police report.
Following the recent arrest, Michael Vishion, who ran against Crangle in 2011 and managed the town’s concessions at the municipality’s public golf courses for four years, called for Crangle’s immediate resignation
”I was elected to a four-year term,” Crangle said, “And I will finish my term.”
Crangle’s statement was welcomed by loud claps from the large audience. Two attendees also spoke Monday to support Crangle.
”I was disappointed about how it was played out in the media, and I think this is a private matter,” James McGee, another former board hopeful who said he has known Crangle for 38 years. “It seems like people are trying to take advantage of a person’s marriage and drag it through the mud for political reasons.”
In other town business, board members disagreed on the town’s extension of the contract with Public Employer Risk Management Association, which provides the town’s worker’s compensation coverage, at Monday’s meeting.
The resolution comes after PERMA representatives presented their progress with their work on controlling workers’ compensation costs two weeks ago. Annual claim payments have been reduced from $1.4 million since the town began a contract with PERMA in 2010, to under one $1 million in 2012. FERMA also took on the town’s open cases for a one time fee, and have reduced the number of open cases from 2,500 to 50.
But Crangle said he believes the town could save more if they transitioned to self insurance, and questioned whether the one year contract, which will cost the town $585,461, is worth it.
”The bottom line is where are the savings?” Crangle said. “I believe we should have looked into self insurance now.”
His fellow board members all disagreed with Crangle and passed the resolution in a 4-1 vote, which extends the contract through the end of February 2014.
”The only real reason that we can talk about doing it ourselves is because the costs are finally, after 20 years, under control because of PERMA,” Board member John Bargnesi said. “We have options because of them, but it’s only been a couple of years, and I don’t know if it’s time to bail ship.”
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• The town approved the purchase of a new aerial lift with a chipper for the highway department. The new purchase, used for tree maintenance, will replace a lift that is 15 years old.
• The town approved Supervisor Anthony Caruana to execute an agreement with Sportzone at the Dome and Clubs ‘N Such for the operation of two banquet areas and seven zones for simulated video games at the Golf Dome. Director of the Youth, Parks and Recreation Department Jeff Ehlers said construction on the new banquet area, which took over for former Pro Golf Discount of Western New York, is “very close” to
being completed.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150