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News of Otsego County

Search Results for: KOUTNIK

Koutnik Votes No On Climate Pledge, Saying It’s Too Weak

Koutnik Votes ‘No’

On ‘Climate Pledge’

Draft As Too Weak

But SWECC Committee, 4-1, Forwards

Compromise Document To Full Board

The Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee of the county Board of Representatives discusses on a “Climate Smart Community Pledge” resolution. County Reps. Keith McCarty, Meg Kennedy and Gary Koutnik, listen to County Planning Director Karen Sullivan.  At right is county Rep. Danny Lapin (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Saying the language “was softened,” County board Vice Chair Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, today voted against sending a “Climate Smart Community Pledge” resolution, as revised, to the full board for action March 6.

However, his colleagues on the Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee nonetheless agreed to forward the adjusted resolution, 4-1, for the full board’s consideration.

“The language did reduce the  sense of Climate Change being a crisis,” Koutnik said.  “My vote was largely a symbolic one, so it would be in the public record for future generations to see.”

Vice-Chair Koutnik Planning To Retire From County Board

ELECTION SEASON BEGINS

Vice-Chair Koutnik

Planning To Retire

From County Board

Clark Oliver, Young Democrats’ Chair,

Looking To Succeed Veteran Lawmaker

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Oliver
Koutnik

ONEONTA – Today is the first day petitions may be circulated for this fall’s local elections, and a surprise has already surfaced: Gary Koutnik, Democratic vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, plans to retire. This time of life comes to everyone at different points, but whatever age you are when you decide to leave work, take a look at these retirement tips to see how to make the most of it.

The news surfaced in a press release from Clark Oliver, who chairs the county’s Young Democrats organization, announcing he plans to run in Koutnik’s District 11 in Oneonta.

Koutnik Set To Retire As Season Starts

Koutnik Set

To Retire

As Season Starts

In Oneonta, 5 Out, 7 Plan To Run For City Council

By JIM KEVLIN & JENNIFER HILL

►County Board Vice Chair Gary Koutnik is retiring. Keep track of campaign developments at AllOTSEGO.com

Usually, roses are budding before local candidates start circulating nominating petitions.
This year, with the primary for state races joined with federal offices and moved up from September to Thursday, June 25, petitions are being circulated before the first crocus.
That change set off a flurry of electioneering in the past few days.
In the City of Oneonta in the week prior to Tuesday, Feb. 26, the starting date for circulating petitions, seven candidates announced they are running for five Common Council seats being vacated this fall.
For the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Clark Oliver, chairman of the Otsego County Young Democrats, announced he’s running to succeed the board’s vice chairman, Gary Koutnik, D-11, before many people even knew the veteran legislator is retiring.

KOUTNIK: County Board Has Honest Folks Trying To Do Best
LETTER from GARY KOUTNIK

County Board Has Honest

Folks Trying To Do Best

To the Editor:

I’ve been paying attention to politics and governance since the Eisenhower administration. It’s always been an important part of my life, from dinners as a boy listening to the news on the radio, and talking about it with my family, all the way to today, listening to and reading about the current Congressional hearings, and talking about them with my wife.

So in 2011, when Rich Murphy suggested that I run for the county Board of Representatives, I didn’t hesitate. Now that I’m a newly minted private citizen after eight years on the Board, I’d like to share some thoughts about county government with the county in general.

First and foremost: the quality of the folks who serve you in Cooperstown.

We hear a lot about government corruption and malfeasance and how you can’t trust politicians. From the state level on up, some of this is true and most of it is not.

But in Otsego County, it’s clear to me that everyone who serves on the county board is there to provide a public service. No one’s getting rich, there’s no power to speak of; and not once in eight years did anyone call me and offer to buy my vote.

Public service is one of the great foundations of American patriotism, and it goes back to the Founding Fathers and even before that. That’s what happening in Cooperstown – patriotic folks who want to make a difference, to contribute to their community, to give back.

They’re there to serve you – and to spend your money wisely: Otsego County has stayed beneath the tax cap ever since there’s been a tax cap, and we’ve got the lowest tax rate of any county in the State.

And, by the way, all that partisan stuff you see in the news? They just don’t have time for it in Cooperstown. They’ve got work to do. In eight years, I do not remember a single party-line vote.

So when you get the urge to complain about government and lawmakers, aim higher. The folks in Cooperstown are giving up time, energy, and in some cases, income, to serve you.

We accomplished a lot during the time I was on the board, but I’m disappointed we did not move the Board meeting times into the 21st Century. The Rules of Order say that county board meetings are at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. That might have worked in the old days, but those days are past.

Meeting in the middle of a working day reduces transparency and accountability, and it has to change. Many counties have board meetings at night, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

Changing the meeting time would take a supermajority – two-thirds – so it’s a high bar. Call your county representative and tell them that you’d like to be able to attend a meeting – maybe even speak at one! – if maybe someday they changed the meeting time so that most citizens could attend without taking time off from work.

All my best to my friends on the board as they take on the challenges of 2020 and beyond,

GARY KOUTNIK

Oneonta

On Jan. 1, Gary Koutnik completed four terms on the Otsego County Board of Representatives, representing District 11 (Wards 1-2, Oneonta), most recently as vice chairman.

 

candidates 2015 gary koutnik

GARY KOUTNIK

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 11

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE:   City of Oneonta

EDUCATION:  Wantagh High School, Wantagh, NY – 1968.  BS in Ed – Bucknell University, 1972.  MS in Admin – UAlbany – 1999

Gary Koutnik
Gary Koutnik

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  School Psychologist, School Administrator, Historic Interpretation

COMMUNITY/POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT:    Executive Committee, Otsego County Democratic Committee.  Many years of Church governance and committee work, mostly in church growth.  30+ years working with families with disabled children in Oneonta and Otsego County and surrounding counties.  Delegate to Democratic National Convention, 2012.

FAMILY:  Wife Abbey, two sons:  Randall (San Francisco) and Whitsun (Oneonta)

IN TWO OR THREE SENTENCES, EXPLAIN YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:   “There are some things that we can’t do unless we do them together. When we do them together, that’s called government.” (Congressman Barney Frank)

WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES THE OTSEGO COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES FACES, AND HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THEM?

– Comprehensive Plan:  Board looks at mid- and long-term planning for County:  what do we want to be in the business of; prioritize our efforts; move toward greater effectiveness and efficiency in all areas, starting with highest priority issues.

– Coordinate all activities County-wide:  This would probably (but not necessarily) be a County Manager, a kind of CEO for our two dozen departments and 500 employees.

– Budget:  Longer-term budget development based on planning and coordination above.

WHAT QUALITIES/EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKES YOU THE BETTER CHOICE IN THIS RACE:   Experience on the Board; 35 years working and living in Otsego County, both in the City and in many of the towns.  Experience with management, budget and supervision.  A passion to provide the benefits of governing to all citizens, with nobody left out.

IS THERE A STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH VOTERS?    I’ve gotten to know hundreds of families in Oneonta from all walks of life during my career. I’ve talked with them about their hopes and dreams, especially for their children, and I’ve learned about their frustrations and anxieties. I’ve spent my whole career getting to know the people of Oneonta. And I’ve met too many families in Oneonta who have been left out of the benefits of democracy. Democracy is for every last citizen, with no one left out. If I’m reelected, I’ll continue to work for all of us. Fiscal responsibility, certainly. Hard choices, certainly. But no collateral damage. No one intentionally left out.

 

Clark, Koutnik, Shannon Praised At Final Meeting

UNANIMOUS RESOLUTIONS PASSED

Clark, Koutnik, Shannon

Praised At Final Meeting

COOPERSTOWN — In its final meeting of the year, the Otsego County Board of Representatives today bid farewell to three of its members in unanimous resolutions:

•  Kathy Clark, R-Otego, former board chairman, was praised for “sincere effort … to represent the county’s best interests,” and — as the first woman to chair the board — “an important role model for young women and girls.”  She served six terms, or 12 years.

questionnaire — gary koutnik

Gary Koutnik

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 11 (unopposed)

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE:  City of Oneonta

EDUCATION:  BS in Education, Bucknell University; MS in Administration, SUNY Albany

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  School Psychologist and Director of Special Education (OCSD)

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:  Hyde Hall Site Interpreter; Farmer’s Museum Dramatic Interpreter; Glimmerglobe Theater; Catskill Players Executive Committee and VP; Otsego County Democratic Committee Executive Committee; Oneonta Assembly of God. 

FAMILY:  Wife Abbey (married 1979), two sons:  Randall (26) and Whitsun (23)

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:  “There are some things that we can’t do unless we do them together. When we do them together, that’s called government.” Barney Frank

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:  Matching people to training and training to existing jobs.  Preserving our awesome natural resources and landscape.  Fighting back against the devastations of poverty.  Building up our County human resources – and therefore quality services – after a decade of cuts.

STATEMENT:  The County must begin to serve the needs of its citizens and not the political needs of its leaders.  These are difficult times which require bold decisions.  We need to plan carefully and thoughtfully for a short, medium and long-term future, and this process takes vision, hard work, and courage.

MY QUALITIES:  Passion for democracy; work ethic; ability to collaborate; long experience and relationship with Otsego County residents from all walks of life.

For the Love of Scrooge

For the Love of Scrooge

By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal/HOMETOWN ONEONTA

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 25-26, 2014

Ebenezer Scrooge (Oneonta’s Gary Koutnik) is surrounded by his ghosts – from right, Christmas Past (Caley Sharratt), Christmas Present (Gary Kuch) and Christmas Yet To Come (Art Newell). (Jim Kevin/The Freeman's Journal)
Ebenezer Scrooge (Oneonta’s Gary Koutnik) is surrounded by his ghosts – from right, Christmas Past (Caley Sharratt), Christmas Present (Gary Kuch) and Christmas Yet To Come (Art Newell). (Jim Kevin/The Freeman’s Journal)

Gary Koutnik hasn’t just played Scrooge, he and his audience live the story of redemption together.

“Everybody knows the play,” said the actor, mutton-chopped for the time being. “They know what happens at the end. They’re waiting for it. I feel like I’m being swept along.

“The more emotion I’m feeling on stage in the character, the more I can help the audience feel. And the audience helps me do that, too.”

Koutnik, retired special-ed director at Oneonta schools and county representative from the city’s Ward 1-2, completed his second run as Charles Dickens’ famous Grinch on Saturday, Dec. 20.

“A Christmas Carol,” which the Glimmer Globe Theatre and Templeton Players, sponsored by Matt and Mary Margaret Sohns, performed for a second year at The Farmers’ Museum, filled four performances at the Louis Jones Center over two weekends.

Because of its universal message, “A Christmas Carol” has enduring appeal, said Danielle Henrici, NYSHA director of education and producer. For some families, including hers while growing up on Long Island, seeing “A Christmas Carol” is an annual tradition.

“There really is hope,” she said of its message. “Even if you’ve gone astray, you can correct yourself and be a good person. It’s really what the holidays are all about – remembering what really matters in life.”

For Koutnik, Scrooge was “a bucket-list role” (along with Dickens’ Fagan in “Oliver Twist”).

A docent at Hyde Hall, he had met Danielle then-Newell and her now-husband, Mike Henrici, when they conducted ghost tours together at the National Historic Landmark mansion.

When the couple asked him to play Scrooge, Koutnik quickly accepted, then realized his son, Randall, was getting married that same weekend. As arrangements proceeded, the son and bride Lily shifted the ceremony a week, and Scrooge Koutnik was born.

“Scrooge has to play the whole range,” the actor reflected. “Greed, unhappiness – then he has to be so joyous and giving. And that happens as the play progresses – it’s a great challenge.”

It seems there are many, many scripts based on “A Christmas Carol.” But the lines in this one, written by Mike Henrici, with contributions from Danielle, are the words Dickens used in the novel, an added attraction for Koutnik.

Otsego County’s Scrooge was raised on Long Island, and his interest in acting dates back to attending elementary school plays in Wantagh.

As a high school freshman, he was cast as a crowd member. The next year, he was Frederick, one of the Trapp children in “Sound of Music.” “That opened my eyes to what this all should be,” he said. “I just never stopped.”

After college, he joined ONC BOCES’ special-ed faculty, and after 14 years moved to the Oneonta City School District, but he continued to direct and perform. On the Oneonta theater scene, he was Arthur in “Camelot,” the baker in “Into the Woods,” and – his favorite role – Juror #8 in “Twelve Angry Men,” the role played by Henry Fonda in the movie.

In the special-ed field, he met wife Abbey, who is also an artist and performing clown. They have two sons, Randall, writing code in San Francisco, and Whitsun, at home.

Koutnik was recently elected to a second term on the county board. But his second term as Scrooge will be his last, as least for a while. “It’s a great thrill,” he said, but added, “I don’t want to play a lifelong Scrooge.” (The Henricis have recruited Dr. Don Raddatz to step in next year.)

Still, Scrooge is a hard role to let go. You can almost hear Koutnik shiver as he depicts Scrooge asking the black-shrouded Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: “Show me someone who feels tenderness regarding a death.”

The Ghost shows him the mourning Cratchits.

“I’ve asked you to show me tenderness,” our Scrooge declares. “And you have.” A pause. “Take me away.”

County Appears To Retreat On Richfield Homeless Site

County Appears To Retreat

On Richfield Homeless Site

Koutnik Sees No Action ‘For Long Time, If At All’
Richfield Springs neighbor Barbara Wahl Shypski tells the county board this morning there are “safety concerns” about putting homeless lodging on Lake Street. (Jim Kevliin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Keith McCarty, R-East Springfield, discusses today’s agenda with colleague Jim Power, R-Butternuets.

COOPERSTOWN – County Rep. Gary Koutnik, who chairs the committee that is seeking homes for the homeless in Otsego County, was quick to reassure Richfield Springs neighbors this morning that former Mielnicki’s Restaurant on Lake Street won’t be part of county plans any time soon.

“We will not be taking any action on it for a long time, if at all,” said Koutnik, D-Oneonta, who chairs the county board’s Human Services Committee.

He spoke after Lake Street neighbor Barbara Wahl Shypski, accompanied by a half dozen other residents, told county reps meeting in the County Office Building, “We have some grave concerns.”

VOTE EXPECTED ON COUNTY MANAGER

VOTE EXPECTED ON

COUNTY MANAGER

Debate May Focus On Cost

v. Benefit At Nov. 5 Meeting

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Meg Kennedy won praise from county board Chair David Bliss for shepherding the county manager discussion to this point. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives voted in 1993 to create a county manager position. The result was a 7-7 tie, but the weighted voting system blocked the move.

County Board chair Dave Bliss

A quarter-century plus a year later, a resolution is again headed to the county board, on Wednesday, Nov. 6, and with at least two Republicans, the one Conservative and all but perhaps one of the Democrats favoring it, it appears likely to be approved.

Since the creation of a top manager’s job would require enactment of a law, the Nov. 6 vote would be to set a public hearing for the  following month’s meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

After the hearing, the county reps could vote on creating the position, or delay for further study and adjustments.

A first vote, 3-1, happened last week at the county board’s Administration Committee, chaired by Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision. She voted aye, and said county Reps. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, and Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, the board’s vice chairman, joined her.

Voting nay was county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla. Keith McCarty, R-East Springfield, had to leave early. And Andrew Stammel, D-Town of Oneonta, was absent.

The idea, said Kennedy, is “to better serve the constituents.”

“The position will allow Otsego County to create short- and long-term plans to meet emerging and already existing needs,” she continued.  “And also to oversee day-to-day operations to allow greater efficiency in county government. Communications is also a biggie.”

“It’s extremely significant,” said Koutnik, who is retiring from the board at the end of the year. “It’s going to change things more than anything in the past eight years, most all of it for the better.”

Frazier said concerns about the expense caused him to hold back. “They aren’t showing the full costs,” he said. “It’s going to be a quarter of a million dollars by the time it’s implemented.”

The former board vice chairman, Frazier said he doesn’t see how a county manager could close that gap through savings or new revenues.

Kennedy, who also chairs the Budget Committee, said $75,000 has been included in the prospective 2020 budget to fund the position for half a year, thinking it will take until June or July to fill the position.

County board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, was at the Admin meeting ex officio, but said he also voted to move the manager position forward.

He acknowledged Frazier’s concerns, and said the county board will have to be vigilant, “or it quickly will become a million” if a county manager finds he or she needs an assistant county manager and other support staff.

But, Bliss continued, “if we can keep it to a single individual, a day-to-day contact for the county, overseeing things in general,” then costs can be controlled.

The resolution and job description approved by the Admin Committee weren’t available as of press time – they were being reviewed in the County Attorney’s Office – but Bliss said he would like the job requirements to be less specific, to give flexibility in who to hire.

He pointed to what happened in the City of Oneonta: the educational requirement of an MPA – a master’s in public administration – limited the applicant pool, City Hall went through two city managers before achieving some stability under George Korthauer, the current applicant.

Bliss said he’d like to avoid that.

None of the reps said they were counting noses, but Koutnik said he expects all the Democrats, except perhaps Stammel, to support the new position.

With at least Republicans Bliss and Oberacker joining them, and Conservative Kennedy, that adds up to 3,850 weighted votes, a healthy margin beyond the 3,115 needed to pass a measure.

Asked why a county manager is necessary, Koutnik said, “Ask a $116 million company” – that’s the county’s annual budget – “what they would do without their CEO.”

He pointed out three big construction projects pending: current and future renovations at the county jail; security upgrades at 242 Main, Oneonta’s former city hall, and replacing the highway garage on Cooperstown’s Walnut Street with a more central facility.

“We’ve got cost overruns in the jail renovations that no one seems to be in charge of. We’ve talked about that a number of times,” Koutnik said. “If we had a county manager who could clear that up, figure out the chain of command in terms of change orders, I think he or she would save us a lot of money.”

Kennedy said she could mention a number of instances where having a county manager would help, but she focused on the decline of the county’s rural emergency squad, who are losing volunteers due to outmigration and longer commutes. A county manager could be tasked to find out how other counties are tackling the problem.

“There are other issues,” she said. “The person is not going to be Superman or Superwoman. They can’t solve our broadband problems, they won’t be able to solve our energy problems. But they will be able to network with other counties’ leaders.”

VOTE IS WEDNESDAY ON COUNTY MANAGER

LISTEN TO EDITOR’S REPORT ON WAMC

VOTE IS WEDNESDAY

ON COUNTY MANAGER

Debate Focus: Cost Vs. Benefit

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Meg Kennedy won praise from county board Chair David Bliss for shepherding the county manager discussion to this point. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives voted in 1993 to create a county manager position. The result was a 7-7 tie, but the weighted voting system blocked the move.

A quarter-century plus a year later, a resolution is again headed to the county board, on Wednesday, Nov. 6, and with at least two Republicans, the one Conservative and all but perhaps one of the Democrats favoring it, it appears likely to be approved.

Since the creation of a top manager’s job would require enactment of a law, the Nov. 6 vote would be to set a public hearing for the  following month’s meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

After the hearing, the county reps could vote on creating the position, or delay for further study and adjustments.

‘Reform Caucus’ Proving Its Worth, But Will It Survive 2019 Elections?

Reform Caucus’ Proving Its Worth, But Will It Survive 2019 Elections?

Leading up to the 2017 election of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, the terms “Reform Caucus” and “Sensible Center” were used in this space, and they were controversial.
Some of the candidates identified with that label won election or reelection. (Whether that was because of or despite of the designation is certainly fodder for debate.)
Foremost among them, as it turns out, was David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, who was then elected board chair, and who’s proved: Simple politeness has made all the difference.
Two others in the Sensible Center, Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, and Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, have emerged as leaders.
Through hard work and diplomacy evident since, Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, would certainly have been included in the “Reform Caucus” – defined in this space as “not a formal caucus, but a coalescence of forward-thinking minds” – if editorial writers could only predict the future. (Bulletin: They can’t.)

They Love Meg, But Debate Bipartisanship

They Love Meg Kennedy,

But Debate Bipartisanship

After swearing them in Jan. 1, County Judge Brian D. Burns shakes hands with county board members individually. From left are Rick Brockway, Chairman Davis Bliss, Vice Chairman Meg Kennedy, Danny Lapin, Clark Oliver, Adrienne Martini (partly visible), Andrew Stammel, Ed Frazier and Keith McCarty. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Kennedy

COOPERSTOWN – When the 9-4 vote affirmed Meg Kennedy as the first woman vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Andrew Marietta leaned over and said, “Meg, you know I support you.”

The Conservative for Hartwick, Milford and New Lisbon and the Democrat from Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego both shook hands and smiled.

But for the preceding few minutes Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Otsego County Board of Representatives’ organizational meetings, things were a bit more tense.

David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield/Cherry Valley, had been unanimously reelected board chairman. Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, then nominated Kennedy – “our Citizen of the Year” – as vice chairman, and freshman Rick Brockway, R-Laurens, second it.

Bliss called the vote, but Michele Farwell, R-Morris, asked tentatively, “Is there discussion?”

What followed was a discussion about the future of bipartisanship, with Farwell noting that two years ago, when the county board was also split 7-7, now-retired Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, “was nominated, and he got unanimous support of the board. I thought that was a very positive show of bipartisanship.

“I’m just a little bit concerned we might be taking a step backward, and that would be unfortunate.”
Marietta, who as senior Democrat was the party’s leading prospect to succeed Koutnik, agreed. “Having that bipartisan approach contributed to how we worked well together,” he said. “… I think we lose some of the value of the past two years by not having that structure.”

Two Oneonta Democrats, Andrew Stammel and freshman Clark Oliver, speaking for the first time in an official capacity, concurred.

But another Oneonta Democrat, Adrienne Martini, said, “I also think it is nice to have some diversity in terms of who is the vice chair, and I think Meg brings that in terms of gender.”

In the end, Kennedy’s election was bipartisan.

Voting aye were Republicans Bliss, Wilber, Brockway, Unadilla’s Ed Frazier and East Springfield’s Keith McCarty. And Democrats Farwell, who paused for a moment before voting aye, Stammel and Martini.
Voting nay were Marietta, and the other three Oneonta reps, Oliver, Danny Lapin and newcomer Jill Basile.

Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, was absent with the flu.

After the vote, Bliss said, “I agree we’ve done some great work together lately as bipartisans. And I will endeavor to continue.”

He pointed out Kennedy, a Conservative, “is neither Republican or Democrat. And she’s proven her worth, and I know she will endeavor to be as bipartisan as possible.”

Still, Farwell regretted the Democratic loss of the vice chairman post. In an interview, she also noted that Koutnik, an environmentalist, was replaced by Brockway, “a climate-change denier,” on the board’s Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee. And that Oliver was only named to one committee, Human Services.

“I wasn’t expecting a return to partisanship,” Farwell said. “I hear over and over that they want functional government, and not party nonsense like they see in Washington. I feel some trust has been lost.”

In an interview, Bliss said Marietta had expressed interest, “and I would have had no problem with Andrew as vice chair. Andrew was great. Meg was the better candidate.” The climate-denier statement surprised him. He said that Oliver was also named to Performance Review & Goal Setting, a special committee that is about to be elevated to full-committee status.

“Bipartisanship, by my definition, is the best person, the best candidate, the best idea,” the chairman said.

Throughout the debate, speakers were at pains to separate the issue of bipartisanship from Kennedy herself.

“I think Meg – representative Kennedy – will do a great job, and she has my respect and esteem,” said Farwell. Marietta said, “I think Meg will do a tremendous job.” And Stammel, turning to her during his remarks, said, “Meg, I think you will obviously do a great job.”

In the just completed term, Kennedy had chaired the two most time-consuming committees, Intergovernmental Affairs and Administration (ways and means), which won approval for a county administrator form of government and the establishment of the county Energy Task Force.

Bliss Appointments Reflect ‘Continuity’ 

COUNTY BOARD REORGANIZES

Bliss: Appointments

Aim At ‘Continuity’ 

Meg Kennedy Emerges With New Status

As Chairman Of Both Administration, IGA

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, presides at this morning’s reorganizational meeting. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – She went into today’s reorganizational meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives already with the greatest clout under the weighted voting system.

But Meg Kennedy’s rising stature was quickly affirmed.

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.

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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