News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Otsego County Board of Representatives

questionnaire — kennedy

MEG KENNEDY

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 5,

(HARTWICK, MILFORD, NEW LISBON)

Meg Kennedy

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Hartwick

EDUCATION: B.S. Cornell University

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 24 years experience in family owned and operated horticultural business in Hartwick

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: serve on governing bodies of 2 farmers markets 2008 – present, serve on Town of Hartwick Planning Board 2010- present, member of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Parish.

FAMILY: 11 siblings, many in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews, parents

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: Government has a responsibility to spend tax monies responsibly.  Government functions to serve the people by providing the best service in the most cost effective manner to protect the public safety and provide safe roads and infrastructure, encourage economic development and provide services as mandated.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: creating jobs and educational opportunities for residents and young people.  Keeping and supporting agriculture as a economic strength. 

MY QUALITIES:  I am a good listener and a fast learner.  I work well in groups.  I have good communication skills.  These qualities have served me well in my first term on the County Board.

STATEMENT: I have enjoyed my work on the County Board of Representatives.  My attendance each month at the town meetings in Milford, Hartwick and New Lisbon keeps me in touch with issues that I can work on at the county level.  My attendance at my committee meetings has helped to shape decisions that have resulted in positive outcomes for the county – budgets under the tax cap, support for the Farmland Protection Plan and work on the organization of the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank are some examples.

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questionnaire — breck tarbell

BRECK TARBELL

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 4

Brett Tarbell

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: I live at 142 Morningside Drive, Oneonta, in Otsego County District 4

EDUCATION:  I have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I have over 30 years of business management along with 10 years as a small business owner

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I have been a member of the Oneonta Lions for 10 years and have been the President for 4 of those years! And through my business my wife and I have supported the American Cancer Society, Hospice and the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Also starting today, my business is registered with the “Grace for Vets” program, where we will provide a free car wash on Nov. 11 and April 25 to any veteran!

FAMILY:  My wife Marina and I are both in a second marriage and bring a little Brady Bunch to the table. I have 2 sons, Christopher and Michael, and a daughter Joanie along with Michael’s wife Gina and my 2 fantastic Grandsons, David and Judd. And Marina has brought 2 great-stepsons Andrew and Dereck Frisch to the mix.

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: My thoughts on government are that it needs to be controlled,  transparent and with term limits. Our representatives have to be held accountable and have some skin in the game!

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:

  • Economic Development; without that nothing else will work!
  • Infrastructure, we have a great start with I-88, the railyards and Oneonta Airport, but we need to keep these at their best!
  • Public Safety; with the growing opioid problem and growing homelessness we need transparency and communications at all levels!

Last; “Make governments more efficient to serve the people better.” And we need a sense of urgency in our representatives!

 MY QUALITIES: With the experience that I bring from construction/business management, I totally understand that sense of urgency.  I have been in all types of negotiations, I understand how to handle a budget and, last, I have the commonsense and knowledge to put all of these qualities together in one package.

STATEMENT: I just want everyone to know that this is a job that I don’t take lightly! I have always followed politics but I also knew in the past that working a fulltime job does not allow a person to give the proper amount of exposure to the issues and training that are around us at all times. Now I have come to a time in my life that I can devote the time necessary to do this job the way it should be done. The motto for the Lions Club is “We Serve” and that’s just what I will do for you, I promise to be there at the meetings to represent you!

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questionnaire — david bliss

DAVE BLISS

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 7 

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Middlefield

EDUCATION:

Cooperstown Central School, Regents Diploma; SUNY Oneonta, BA in History with a minor in Economics, BS and MS in Social Science Education;  NYS Real Estate Brokers License with over 225 hours of Continuing Education credits;  NYS Professional Coaching License with over 120 hours of Continuing Education credits

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Owner/Operator of 300-acre organic farm (1983-present), NYS Real Estate Broker (1995-present), CCS Girls Varsity Softball Coach (2001-present).

Town of MIddlefield: Zoning Board of Appeals (2 years), Town Board (2 years), Town Supervisor (24 years).  Otsego County Board of Representatives (2016 – present)

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

Member of the Board of Directors of The Farmers’ Museum and of the Otsego Land Trust; Member of Cooperstown Rotary Club, Rotary International Youth Exchange (host family and youth counselor).

American Legion Baseball, Cooperstown Sports Booster Club, Youth soccer and baseball, Fetterman Award Winner, Oneonta Daily Star and Utica Observer-Dispatch Coach of the Year Awards.

FAMILY:

Married 34 years to my wife Kim, a teacher in Richfield Springs Central School.  Three adult children: Rachel, Eric and Ethan, and one granddaughter.

 

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:

As Abraham Lincoln said “The legitimate object of government is to do for people what needs to be done, things that they cannot do for themselves: the making and maintaining roads and bridges, providing for the helpless, providing schools, and the forming and maintaining of the military, police, and civil departments.”  I believe in doing so we provide everyone the opportunity for personal liberty and economic success.

 

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:

Investing in our infrastructure including roads, bridges, communications and high speed internet.  In the past two years we have made significant progress and the foundation has been put in place to continue at an even more rapid pace.  We need to complete the process of determining the duties and responsibilities of a county manager and fill the position. Although many NY counties have a manager/executive, research shows their duties and authority vary greatly.  We need to find the right fit for Otsego County.   Reroute XNG trucks so they travel Interstate Highways to the fullest extent possible.  Continue to look for ways to save money through shared services, a process that has saved the county tens of thousands of dollars in the past year. Addressing the opioid epidemic.

 

MY QUALITIES:

My well documented record of public service has been one of honesty, fairness, transparency, open communication, low taxes, investment in people and infrastructure, as well as environmental stewardship. I keep an open mind on issues and listen to all sides without confrontation, therefore I have excelled at building bipartisan consensus to better serve residents.  As a result, I have been endorsed by leading members of the Republican, Democrat and Independence parties.

 

STATEMENT:

As with any job, there is a steep learning curve for a someone new.  I was better prepared than most because of my 24 years as Middlefield Town Supervisor.  In my short tenure on the board I have spent time listening to, and learning from, our county employees and department heads as well as town and county board representatives, gaining their trust, confidence and support.  I have been tagged as the quiet leader of bipartisan reform by the Freeman’s Journal newspaper. We have a great deal of talent in our county and we have made significant progress in just 21 months.   More importantly, the foundation has been put in place for further progress at an accelerated rate.  I ask for your continued support to implement these programs for your benefit.

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Oneonta’s County Rep Candidates Debate This Evening At Morris Hall

Oneonta’s County Rep Candidates

Debate This Evening At Morris Hall

ONEONTA – Six candidates from Oneonta running for the Otsego County Board of Representatives will debate at 7 this evening at SUNY Onenta’s Morris Hall. They are:

  • District 12  (Wards 3 & 4):   Craig Gelbsman and Adrienne Martini
  • District 13  (Wards 5 & 6):   Leonard Carson, Jr. and Danny Lapin
  • District 14  (Wards 7 & 8):   Lizabeth Shannon and Wilson Wells

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September County Board Meeting Available On Line

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE ACTION

September County Board

Meeting Available On Line

County Treasurer Dan Crowell briefs the county Board of Representatives on his first pass at the 2018 budget, which is $5.5 million ahead of revenues. However, he termed it a “soft” deficit that will be relatively easily closed due to strong revenues.  “I think there is room to cut without cutting into bone,” he said.  Of the total, $2.5 million is an increase being sought by county Highway Superintendent Bill Mason, whom Crowell said he told he wouldn’t go to bat for. If approved, that would be a 56 percent increase in the county highway budget in 2018.  Behind Crowell, from left, are Deputy Clerk of the Board Jenna Utter, Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern, board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, and County Attorney Ellen Coccoma.  In the foreground is county Rep. David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield.  (Image from Avery Miritello’s video for www.AllOTSEGO.com)
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Frazier Revives Debate Over Collins-Faso Idea

Frazier Revives Debate

Over Collins-Faso Idea

He Says Medicaid Mandate Unique

To NY, Unfair To Poorer Counties

County Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, speaks in favor of a resolution supporting the Collins-Faso Amendment considered by the county board last month, but withdrawn in the face of public opposition. Behind him is board Chair Kathy Clark and, at right, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma.  (Avery Miritello/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Rather than supporting Collins-Faso, Otsego should join with other counties in lobbying Albany to remove the Medicaid mandate, County Rep. Len Carson, R-Oneonta, argues.

COOPERSTOWN – After last month’s gallery of objections to Otsego County supporting the controversial Collins-Faso Amendment, it looked like the idea was dead.

Today, county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, brought it back to life.

As the county board’s monthly meeting neared an end, the vice chair stood and distributed a sheet of numbers to his colleagues, then, rapid fire, he added meaning those numbers.  A sampling:

  • The 3,144 counties in the United States contribute a total $9 billion to Medicaid. Of that $9 billion, New York’s 62 counties pay $7.3 billion, and the 57 Upstate counties, $2.3 billion of that total.
  • Minus New York, the 3,082 counties in other states pay only $1.7 billion – which means Upstate alone pays more than all the other 49 states combined.
  • Of Otsego County’s $11.4 million tax levy, $10.2 million goes to Medicaid.

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Republican To Challenge Marietta For County Board

Republican To Challenge

Marietta For County Board

Dems Berliant, Martini Target Bliss, Gelbsman

COOPERSTOWN – Tim Walker today officially announced his candidacy for Otsego County Board Representatives in District 8, Town of Otsego (which includes most of Cooperstown).

He is challenging Democrat Andrew Marietta, who is completing his first term and plans to run again.

While the deadline for filing petitions is still a month away, the fall campaign is already heating up.

In the last 24 hours, Leslie Berliant, a writer and entrepreneur, announced she is challenging David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, and Hartwick College professor Adrienne Martini is challenging Craig Gelbsman, R-City of Oneonta.  In all, Democrats have identified 12 candidates so far to run in the 14 districts.

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COUNTY BOARD EXPLODES OVER MANAGER MOVE

READ TEXT OF TODAY’S RESOLUTION

COUNTY BOARD

EXPLODES OVER

MANAGER MOVE

Marietta’s Resolution From Floor

‘Disrespectful,’ Frazier Declares

Chiding Democrat Marietta for seeking a decision on moving toward hiring a county manager are, from left, Republicans Dan Wilber of Burlington, Ed Frazier of Unadilla, and Kathy Clark of Otego, the board chair. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, rises to make what turned out to be a controversial motion. Seated is Meg Kennedy, R-Mount Vision.

COOPERSTOWN – County Rep. Andrew Marietta’s attempt to introduce a resolution to hire a county manager quickly blew up into high drama and parliamentary gamesmanship a today’s county Board of Representatives meeting.

The vote itself was quickly derailed.

Marietta made a motion, Kay Stuligross, D-Oneonta, seconded it, and Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, with some prompting from County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, quickly said, “I’m objecting to the presentation of the resolution.”

Frazier’s objection, according to Coccoma’s ruling, required a two-third vote for the resolution to move forward.

The 7-5 vote favored the resolution.  But the weighted vote went the other way, 3,408 against versus 2,856 for.  Either measure, though, fell short of the two-thirds mark.

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Jail Sprinkler System Faulty, Sheriff Reports

Jail Sprinkler System

Faulty, Sheriff Reports

But Repairs May Not Happen Until 2018

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. reports on challenges at the county jail to the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee this morning. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – The sprinkler system in the Otsego County jail is faulty, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. told the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee this morning, but repairs may not come anytime soon.

“What I was told, if the system is activated, it will probably clog,” he told the committee at its monthly meeting.  Although it’s unclear how effective the sprinklers are, he said the alarms would probably allow all the inmates to be evacuated in time.

Committee member Dan Wilber, R-Burlington Flats, reacted:  “This is an extraordinary situation.”

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Silence About Threat Called ‘Unacceptable’
READ MILFORD SUPERINTENDENT’S STATEMENT

Silence About Threat

Called ‘Unacceptable’

Milford Superintendent Berates County Board

Milford Central’s new superintendent of schools, Mark Place, speaks during the county board’s public comment period this morning. He called the county board’s failure to alert his school and Oneonta’s to an alleged threat by Sgt. Ros Devlin an “egregious error.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Reps. Andrew Marietta, left, and Dan Wilber debate upgrading lines of communication within the board and with the public.

COOPERSTOWN – Failure over four months to alert Milford Central School about Sgt. Ros Devlin’s alleged threat to “shoot up” MCS and Oneonta schools is “totally unacceptable,” the school’s new superintendent, Mark A. Place, told the county Board of Representatives this morning.

“Each day we are held responsible for keeping safe over 400 students and 100 employees,” Place said, reading from a letter to the county board.  “We do not take this responsibility lightly.  To not be notified of a specific and potentially lethal threat against our school was an egregious error.”

It was four months between the alleged threat on Jan. 5 by Sheriff Richard J. Devlin’s son and the April 4 news report on www.allotsego.com that alerted the schools and the public at large, based on court documents made public by the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee.

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