OTSEGO COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 2 – MORRIS, PITTSFIELD, BUTTERNUTS
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Gilbertsville
EDUCATION: BS Biology, Cornell University
17 years, patternmaker and printer at Adelphi Paper Hangings, Sharon Springs. Managing Editor from 1999-2000 at The Freeman’s Journal, Cooperstown
Town of Butternuts councilperson 2012-2016, Town of Butternuts deputy supervisor 2016-present. Copes Corners Park Committee chairperson, Village Improvement Society member, Butternut Valley Alliance member. Gilbertsville Mount Upton school garden volunteer.
My husband Norm works in the trades as a home performance contractor, and my daughter Maya is in the eighth grade at Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School. My parents live in Morris, and I have many relatives in the area.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
Government must be fair and honest and work for everyone. We all have to participate in order to make democracy work.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
There are many issues facing our county: a lack of good jobs, opioid addiction, poor roads, high property taxes, a lack of good affordable housing, agricultural decline, an aging population, and local government that gives up too easily in the face of these problems.
I strive to be fair and honest. I do my homework and follow through. I enjoy working for our community.
I have lived and worked here my whole life, and I know and love this area. There’s not much we can do about the ugliness in Washington, but I think we can make things better here if we focus on solving local problems. That means rebuilding our economy from the bottom up, encouraging local small business and entrepreneurship, pushing back against big corporations, and protecting the health of our region and the people who live here.
COOPERSTOWN – It appears former county rep. Craig Gelbsman of Oneonta will remain on the Otsego Now board of directors.
The county board originally appointed Gelbsman to Otsego Now as its “liaison”, intending that he keep the Cooperstown reps in the loop on what the Oneonta-based economic-development entity was up.
Then Republican Gelbsman was defeated by Democrat Adrienne Martini last Nov. 7. But when his term expired Dec. 31 he continued to sit in on Otsego Now meetings, vote on measures, and last Thursday was elected board secretary.
She was nominated and elected temporary chair of the reorganizational meeting, presiding over the transition of the chairmanship from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, to David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield.
And she emerged from the morning’s decision-making as chair of the Administration Committee – Ways & Means, through which all resolutions must flow before getting to the floor of the monthly county board meeting.
COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives this morning elected David Bliss, the former Middlefield town supervisor just elected to his second term, to be its chairman this year.
The vote was 10 “ayes,” two absentions, one absence, and a single “nay” from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the chair Bliss replaced.
Unanimously, the reps then appointed Democrat Gary Koutnik, the veteran representative from the City of Oneonta, as the vice chair.
The absent county rep was Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, who departs as board vice chair. It was said he had to take his wife to the hospital.
The pairing of a Republican chair with Democratic vice chair is unusual but not unprecedented: Republican Sam Dubben and the late Rich Murphy, a Democrat, shared the leadership in 2010; and Republican Don Linberg was chair and Ron Feldstein vice chair in 2007.
Editor’s Note: This is the editorial opinion of www.AllOTSEGO.com, Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal. Letters to the editor on political topics received after 10 a.m. Tuesday will appear on www.AllOTSEGO.com. Polls are open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.
With all the sturm und drang over the years surrounding the Otsego County Board of Representatives – MOSA or not, road patrols or not, economic development or not – a central truth was lost: County government doesn’t work very well.
It makes sense that Andrew Marietta, the freshman county rep for Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego, would quickly recognize that. As regional director of NYCON, the state Council of Non-Profits, his job is to get struggling organizations to focus on mission and map steps necessary for success.
Locally, from Foothills to the Greater Oneonta Historical Society to merging the Smithy Pioneer Gallery with the Cooperstown Art Association, NYCON, often with Marietta in the lead, has strengthened so many key institutions we take for granted.
The road to success is simple: Identify priorities – five at a time, maybe, not 100 – resolve them systematically, then move on to the next five. The goal, progress. Simple, but requiring vision and discipline.
Shortly after taking office in 2016, Marietta salvaged the $40,000 county strategic plan that had been put together the year before by the Laberge Group out of Albany, tapping common needs among the county’s municipalities. It was headed for the shelf, but his advocacy saved it, turning it into the guiding document of the county board’s Strategic Planning Committee.
Questionnaires that have been submitted so far by candidates for the Otsego County Board of Representatives in the Nov. 7 elections are highlighted below. As the rest of the candidates respond, the links will be updated. Please click on highlighted link to read, in candidates’ own words, why they are qualified to serve. And don’t forget to vote! Polls are open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.
COPES CORNERS – In the 1940s, there were only two rules for visitors to Copes Corners.
“My grandfather, Walker R.R. Cope, told people that they were always welcome on his land, as long as they closed the gate so the cows didn’t get out,” said Fred Johnson. “The other rule was watch where you step!”
The cows are long gone, but Copes Corners will once again be open for camping, fishing and picnics, just as it has been – except for the past few years – since before the Civil War.