2021 County Board Dispute Shaping Up
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Democrat MacGuire Benton confirmed a few minutes ago he plans to challenge the dean of the county board Democrats, Andrew Marietta, for the Cooperstown/Town of Otsego seat in next June’s primary.
“Primaries are the sign of a healthy democracy,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to “an exchange of ideas.” He added, “It’s early, and I look forward to sharing my platform with District 8” when it is fully developed.
For his part, Marietta, who has been working with his colleagues on creating a county-manager position, said, “I have a job that I feel is unfinished.” The 2021 county budget, recently approved, includes $50,000, with the idea the manager position can be revisited next as COVID retreats.
Benton, who only won his first full term on the Cooperstown Village Board Sept. 30 in a runoff, said he isn’t ready to talk about his platform yet.
However, Marietta said Benton texted him with three issues he is dissatisfied with: That Marietta:
1 – supported Republican county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s reelection in 2019;
2 – voted for 59 layoffs during this year’s COVID-related county budget crisis, and
3 – voted in favor of placing Republican Jennifer Mickle, state Sen.-elect Peter Oberacker’s choice if successor, in the District 6 seat he vacated.
On the first issue, Marietta pointed out that many Democratic leaders, including former Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz, backed Devlin over Bob Fernandez, a Republican who won the Democratic nomination.
On the layoffs, the county representative said sometimes hard decisions are necessary.
And, three, he was one of three board Democrats – the other two were Andrew Stammel and Adrienne Martini, both of Oneonta – who believed it made sense to fill a seat in a Republican-dominant district with a Republican.
Marietta said he doesn’t believe county reps should stay on the board for lengthy periods of time, and he intends to leave after one more term, once the county manager issue is resolved.
If reelected in 2021, he said, “I believe I will leave the county in a better place.”
The primary isn’t until next June, but petitions are due in the county Board of Elections in February.