Claiming "deaf ears," Stiles quits CAB


By Jim Poole

Frustrated by what he sees as a lack of concern, John Stiles last week resigned from the Citizen Advisory Board that works with the Cobleskill Police Department.
In his letter of resignation, Mr. Stiles wrote that his concerns “fell on deaf ears,” that the CAB “has become politically driven” and the direction of village trustees, Mayor Becky Terk and CAB Chairman John O’Donnell “are not in line with what I had envisioned.”
Cobleskill’s CAB formed in September 2021 to foster relations between the Police Department and residents. It’s done just that, Mr. O’Donnell said, though Mr. Stiles’ concerns center about officers leaving the department.
At least two officers have left. Hoping to address that issue, Mr. Stiles invited Officer Branden Collison to a January CAB meeting to discuss the officers’ departure.
Officer Collison, however, is president of the Cobleskill Police Benevolent Association, and the PBA was then––and still is––involved in lengthy contract negotiations with village officials.
Mr. O’Donnell cancelled the January CAB meeting.
“I felt like I was being talked down to, like a fifth-grader,” Mr. Stiles said in an interview, “and things are being swept under the rug.”
Mr. O’Donnell saw it differently, that it “was an attempt to insert the CAB into the negotiations.
“It was inappropriate, and I cancelled the meeting to defuse the situation,” Mr. O’Donnell said, adding that Mayor Terk and village trustees supported his decision.
As for Mr. Stiles’ resignation, Mr. O’Donnell said, “That’s his prerogative.”
Overall, he said, the CAB and Police Department have worked well together.
“The CAB strives to create the environment that every citizen feels the Police Department has their back,” Mr. O’Donnell said.
“I think the Police Department has done a pretty good job doing that. But there’s always more to do.”
Mayor Terk had no comment on Mr. Stiles’ resignation but complimented the CAB on doing a good job.
In his letter, Mr. Stiles wrote that he’ll continue to support the men and women in the Police Department.
“I’m not mad at the Mayor or mad at anyone else,” Mr. Stiles said. “I’m just frustrated.”
Mayor Terk said anyone interested in filling Mr. Stiles’ position on the CAB should contact the village office.