Kennedy Extends An Olive Branch Across The Aisle

CASALE: DEMOCRATS DIDN’T PLAN

Kennedy Extends

An Olive Branch

Across The Aisle

She Schedules Admin Meeting

To Vet D-6 Democrat Prospect

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Meg Kennedy

COOPERSTOWN – To calm troubled political waters, county Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick, has scheduled an Administration Committee meeting for Dec. 2 to give the Democratic prospect to succeed state Sen.-elect Peter Oberacker a hearing before that day’s county board meeting.

“I felt this was the right thing to do,” she said a few minutes ago.  “I always try to do what’s fair, and I think this is fair.”

She said she’s advised county Rep. Clark Oliver, D-11, who is also the county Democratic chairman, of her decision, and has sent an e-mail to all county board members.

So far, she doesn’t know who the Democratic prospect is, she said.

For his part, Oliver reacted positively to Kennedy’s initiative, saying “I am grateful to her for making that happen.

“Hearing from both sides, and giving the opposition ample time to field a candidate and vet them is the right and fair thing to do,” he continued. “We will be coming forward with our candidate in the coming days.”

Oliver’s counterpart, GOP County Chairman Vince Casale, was having none of it.

“The Republicans have been working on a candidate for some time. We knew there was the possibility of a vacancy occurring months ago,” said Casale. “The Democrats are acting as if they are victims to politics, when they are actually victims of their own ineptitude and lack of planning.”

Because Oberacker resigned from the county board Monday, and his choice for a successor, Oneonta businesswoman Jennifer Mickle, a resident of his district, was endorsed by the local Republican committee Tuesday and presented to the Admin Committee Thursday, Democratic county reps said they weren’t given enough time to field a candidate.

Mickle was interviewed by county reps via Zoom at Thursday’s Admin meeting.

The Democratic County Committee met last evening and, according to Oliver, now have a candidate to represent Oberacker’s District 6:  Maryland (Schenevus), Worcester, Westford and Decatur.

Because of the county board’s weighted voting system, with Oberacker’s resignation the Republicans no longer have a majority; neither do the Democrats.

That’s raises the specter of the county board deadlocking on replacing Oberacker, and perhaps on everything else.

County Board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield, has asked County Attorney Ellen Coccoma for a ruling on what would come next — an appointment by the chairman, perhaps, or a special election.

Or perhaps the District 6 seat would remain open until next November’s election, requiring the county representatives, some of whom have been praising the idea of bipartisanship, to experience it.

“I believe if we can’t fill the position,” said Kennedy, “then it goes vacant.  I hope that isn’t what happens,” as it would leave District 6’s citizens unrepresented on the county board.


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