COOPERSTOWN – Rick Hulse, who had been at odds with the Otsego Now board during his one term as a county board representative, today was appointed by the county board to represent it on the Otsego Now board.
“I have serious concern about oversight they have been receiving in recent years,” said county Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, who championed Hulse’s appointment.
The weighted vote was 4,125-2,100, with all four Democratic reps, plus Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, voting nay.
In explaining her choice to her colleagues, Clark apologized for the last-minute nature of his nomination – it only surfaced yesterday afternoon – saying she had been trying to identify a woman willing to serve on the all-male board.
Beyond that, she said, “I have been concerned about oversight they” – the Otsego Now board – “have been receiving in recent years.”
She said she was dissatisfied with the tardiness of and errors in a consultant’s report. She said the Otsego Now board needs to be reminded it serves at the pleasure of the county board, as Len Marsh had submitted his resignation to Otsego Now, rather than her. And she said raised “the potential for conflicts of interest” on the Otsego Now board.
She opined that both Hulse and Otsego Now President Sandy Mathes have strong personalities and have had some disagreements, but hopes they can work together – “both people pulling the rope from the same side” – for the greater good.
A number of county reps opted to comment before the vote, and their views were mixed.
Andrew Marietta, D-Fly Creek, who defeated Hulse in District 8 in November, said he’d never seen the nominee’s resume and is unsure of his qualifications. People should be lining up to serve on a key board like Otsego Now’s, and he suggested a list of vetted nominees be maintained.
He also said he would have liked to see more diversity on the Otsego Now board, and mentioned Southside Mall manager Luisa Montanti, Fly Creek Cider Mill’s Brenda Michaels, Unalam Vice President Zoe van der Muelen and Edward Jones’ Sara Manchester as prospects.
David Bliss, R-Middlefield, said he believes there needs to be “more oversight” of Otsego Now. And Len Carson, R-Oneonta, agreed.
Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, the board vice chair, said the appointment is Clark’s to make (with the consent of the full board), and he supports her right to choose whom she wants.
Andrew Stammel, D-Oneonta, said, “I would like to see a more open process.”
Kay Stuligross, D-Oneonta, said “the voters rejected him; I think we ought to abide by the constituents.”
And Margaret Kennedy, R-Hartwick, said Hulse recently spent “two years in our shoes,” so he should know county board concerns.