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Gelbsman Holds On

To Otsego Now Seat

He Won’t Quit, So Reps Keep Him There

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.

Craig Gelbsman at last week’s monthly Otsego Now meeting. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – It appears former county rep. Craig Gelbsman of Oneonta will remain on the Otsego Now board of directors.

The county board originally appointed Gelbsman to Otsego Now as its “liaison”, intending that he keep the Cooperstown reps in the loop on what the Oneonta-based economic-development entity was up.

Then Republican Gelbsman was defeated by Democrat Adrienne Martini last Nov. 7.  But when his term expired Dec. 31 he continued to sit in on Otsego Now meetings, vote on measures, and last Thursday was elected board secretary.

County Attorney Ellen Coccoma had advised the county board’s new chair, David Bliss, that Gelbsman’s Otsego Now appointment was done, but acknowledged at today’s monthly meeting of the county reps that she was mistaken.

She reported she had conferred with Otsego Now counsel Kurt Schulte earlier today and realized that the original resolutions appointing Gelbsman didn’t explicitly tie his tenure to his county board term.

Chairman Bliss said he found “no compelling reason at this time to pull anyone from the board.”

Nonetheless, he moved forward with the unanimously appointment of county Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, to serve as the county board’s new liaison.

But since Otsego Now chair Devin Morgan’s Dec. 31 resignation left another vacancy, Gelbsman will simply continue to serve in that spot, until he resigns or were to be removed.

The quandary prompted a lively discussion among board members.

Michele Farwell, D-Morris/Butternuts/Pittsfield, asked whether allowing Otsego Now’s or any other board to evolve “by virtue or politeness” was a good idea.

Andrew Stammel, D-Town of Oneonta, ask for affirmation that “we can replace people on the IDA.”

“Right,” Coccoma said.

Bliss reminded the reps that while the county board must approve nominees to Otsego Now, only he – the chair – can make nominations.  He and Coccoma were unsure what it would take to remove a member from the Otsego Now board, although they serve “at will” – the reps’ collective will.

Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, addressed that, beginning by saying, “We should have the best possible IDA.”  To get and keep the best, he said, discussion of removing them “is a board conversation we shouldn’t have.”


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