News of Otsego County

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

Letters To The Editor



Editor’s Note: Due to the large number of Letters to the Editor of Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal, all that didn’t make it into this week’s print editions will be published on before Election Day, next Tuesday, Nov. 7.  The polls will be open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m.  Click here for sample ballots.  This is the first round, with more to follow.

KUZMINSKI: Vote For Democratic Slate

GEDDES-ATWELL: Vote Party, Not Person

WILBER:  Walker Disciplined, Experienced

HENRICI:  Marietta Brings Wisdom, Humor


HENRICI:  Marietta Brings Wisdom, Humor

HENRICI:  Marietta Brings Wisdom, Humor

To the Editor,

I am a political person who generally keeps her opinions to herself.  However, I don’t think I betray that persuasion in the least by endorsing Andrew Marietta for county rep – he is someone we can all stand behind with pride.

When I moved to Cooperstown nearly eight years ago, I began reaching out to anybody who was willing to listen, hoping to make connections and build a life here.  All roads led to Andy – he was seemingly involved in every aspect of public life.

Andy introduced me to the right people and I owe much of my success (if I can be so bold as to call it that) to his generosity.  Along my career path, Andy never wavered in his support, acting as an adviser and helping me get the exceptional training I needed to serve our community well.

And that’s really Andy’s objective:  He works hard every day to help make our community better and stronger.  It’s a simple mission and one to which he is wholly devoted.

That said, Andy is not someone filled with flowery inspiration or spouting pretty talk.  He is a man of precise action, strategy, and ethics.  Andy does his research and makes decisions based on practicality and the good of all people – the embodiment of a common-sense approach with heart.

Andy cannot be influenced by greed or power.  It’s not in his DNA.  He will always take the high road, even at his own expense.  He does not shy from a challenge, but he also chooses his battles carefully and errs on the side of a collaborative, peaceful approach.   Andy does what he says every day, applying his extensive knowledge and skills to make Otsego County a place where home and business thrive.

I am grateful to call Andrew Marietta a friend and colleague – his is a special mixture of wisdom, humor, expertise and dedication.  I encourage everyone to take a hard look at his credentials.  Whether you vote with your head or your heart (or both), you’ll know you made the right choice if you elect Andy.


Director of Education

Fenimore Art Museum

& The Farmers’ Museum

WILBER:  Walker Disciplined, Experienced

WILBER:  Walker Disciplined, Experienced

To the Editor:

I must take issue with your assertion that County Government does not work very well. You are at every board meeting, yet you still make this assertion. I can only assume that you are perhaps asleep in the back of the room. The list of accomplishments would put me over your word limit.

This is also great news that Andrew Marietta has determined the committee system does not work. Perhaps he should share that with the other 61 counties throughout New York, the state Senate and Assembly and the U.S. Congress, because they all use the same system. It’s called being responsible to the electorate.

The reason Andrew Marietta shares that opinion is because a governing board is a team sport and

Andrew is an “I” kind of guy. If Andrew took the time to learn about the committee system he might function better within that environment. But true to form, Andrew points out problem but never offers a solution.

Andrew reminds me of the dentist in the LieLock commercial. He only informs you have cavity, he doesn’t do anything about it.

I am eager to learn what his solution is to replace the committee system. Perhaps he believes the county manager would replace it. Just another example of his lack of understanding of government.

I was surprised to learn he also resurrected the county strategic plan all by himself. I and about a dozen other board members were not aware that it had been scrapped. Anyone who has worked on a town comprehensive plan knows that it takes a long time to finalize such a document. But then again, Andrew doesn’t attend his town meetings to know that.

Please vote for Tim Walker, a disciplined and experienced person who will be a team player to

Represent the Town of Otsego.


Otsego County

Board member

Town of Burlington


KUZMINSKI: Vote For Democratic Slate

KUZMINSKI: Vote For Democratic Slate

To the Editor:

Sustainable Otsego has endorsed the following candidates for county board: Leslie Berliant, Nicole Dillingham, Gary Koutnik, Danny Lapin, Andrew Marietta, Adrienne Martini, Chad McEvoy, Cathy Nardi, Pat Ryan, Liz Shannon, Tom Spychalski, and Andrew Stammel.

They all support the principles of sustainable living, economic self-reliance and home rule. As we face the future, it’s clear that we can no longer rely, as we used to, on distant governments and corporations to provide for our social and economic security. Increasingly, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. Our communities and our resources are repeatedly challenged; social and economic security is harder to come by. Incomes are low, jobs are scarce, and young people migrate elsewhere. For far too long, majorities on the county board have failed to respond to these challenges.

We need new leadership in Otsego County, especially on the county Board of Representatives. We need people, like the candidates above, who are ready to aggressively defend the interests of our communities. Otsego County desperately needs a voice of its own – and these candidates are the ones who can give it that voice. If you are happy with the way things are, vote for their opponents. But if you think we need a change, here’s a chance to do something about it.


Fly Creek

Performance-Review Missteps Show Need For County Reform

Performance-Review Missteps

Show Need For County Reform

Editor’s Note:  The letter was inadvertently not published in this week’s edition of Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal.  Letters to the Editor for publication in the newspapers may be send to

To the Editor:

I am writing to continue the discussion about future of Otsego County government operations and achieving success for taxpayers.

I have outlined the many challenges we face with our current county government operation.  The status quo is not working, and there is consensus that change must occur, but there is disagreement about the path forward.

COLONE: Southside Should Explore Merging Into City

COLONE: Southside Should

Explore Merging Into City

To the Editor:

I’ve been tracking the fire contract issue between the city and town of Oneonta over fire services to the Town’s Fire District #1. 

Al Colone
Al Colone

The lack of town leadership has once again raised its ugly head as evidenced by the Town’s longstanding failure to have a legally constituted fire commission and then by ignoring negotiations on this all-important matter as it was formally proposed by the City in early 2015.

It’s a case of outright neglect by the Town’s elected officials, “kicking the can down the road” on a critically important matter, risking the welfare and needs of Town residents and businesses.

Thank goodness, the City demonstrated sound judgment to engage a ruling on the matter by state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma, who recommended extending the contract negotiating period.

With the Town so entrenched in itself, the time would seem to be right for the City to pursue a re-directed route to “one Oneonta” by immediately beginning discussions with Southside property owners, to include Mr. Bettiol, the Pattons, the Karabinises, owners of the mall and others to consider having their properties annexed into the City.

STAMMEL: Fire Commissioners Should Consider Resigning Posts

STAMMEL: Fire Commissioners

Should Consider Resigning Posts

To the Editor:

Andrew Stammel
Andrew Stammel

It is now 2016 and the failure of the Town of Oneonta fire commissioners to execute a fire protection contract with the City for this year is a serious and concerning matter. The town and city governments continue to work together on a host of efforts, including economic development, communications, sewer and water and highway work.

Most of the town’s residents and businesses currently rely on the city for professional fire protection. At the same time, the city depends on the million-dollar contribution of town residents to employ and equip Oneonta firefighters and to keep city taxes more manageable. The collaborative efforts around fire protection and ambulance services are a prime example of how the town and city have worked together effectively for decades to promote the general welfare of Oneonta in a manner which best serves each jurisdictions’ taxpayers.

Fellow Town District Residents Say: Sign The Fire Contract With City Now

Fellow Town District Residents Say:

Sign The Fire Contract With City Now

Editor’s Note:  Here is a Letter to the Editor of from Carol Malz, who was elected to the Town of Oneonta Fire District #1 board of commissioners on Dec. 8.  Because of the time-sensitivity of negotiations between the commissioners and the City of Oneonta on fire protection, send any letters to and they will be posted on this site.

To the Editor of

Carol Malz
Carol Malz

I was recently elected as one of five fire commissioners for the Town of Oneonta Fire District #1. Thank you to everyone who wrote my name in; I am honored by your apparently good opinion of me. Unfortunately, I may not be able to serve after Dec. 29, 2015, as my new employment may prohibit holding elective office.  Nevertheless, I have had many questions about the Fire District and the current situation, and have been asked many questions which I had not been able to answer.

Like me, you may have just thought we were covered by the City of Oneonta Fire Department and never even knew we had a district with a board of commissioners.  So, I have sought answers and here is what I have learned.  I welcome corrections of any errors.

The hamlet of West Oneonta and area to the west of Route 205, including the Plains, is covered by the West Oneonta Fire Department, which is served by volunteers.  The rest of the Town of Oneonta is covered by the Town of Oneonta Fire District #1.  All of the Town of Oneonta, however, is covered by ambulance services with the City of Oneonta Fire Department.

Town Board: Offer Would Raise Fire Fee Only 15¢ Per Thousand

Town Board: Offer Would Raise

Fire Fee Only 15¢ Per Thousand

Editor’s Note:  This letter from the Oneonta Town Board arrived too late for this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal.  Due to its timely nature, we are publishing it as the first Letter to the Editor of our website.

 To the Editor of

oneonta town seal copyThe Town of Oneonta is protected by two fire districts.  West Oneonta protects the town basically west of State Route 205 and primarily the hamlet of West Oneonta, including the Plains at Parish Homestead.  The rest of the town is protected by the Oneonta Fire District.  Both of the districts elect commissioners and determine a budget that is presented to the town where we levy a separate tax on the residents of the district that you live in.  The Town Board has no say in the elections or the budget prepared by the commissioners.

The Town of Oneonta Fire District has for more than 30 years contracted for both fire and ambulance protection with the City of Oneonta. The commissioners negotiate a formula which needs to be reviewed periodically. The Town Board has a contract for ambulance coverage that allows the City of Oneonta to bill town residents who use the ambulance and to help offset the “uncollectable” ambulance charges.

Approximately 15 years ago there was an effort to separate the services. At that time, the chairman of the commissioners was informed by an attorney from the state Comptroller’s Office that the services were not separable in a department that provided both services.   Currently, there is a difference of opinion regarding that determination.

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