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2017 candidate

questionnaire — len carson

LEONARD CARSON JR.

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 13

Fifth and Sixth Wards, City of Oneonta

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Oneonta

EDUCATION:

  • Laurens Central School
  • AAS in Fire Science, Corning Community College, Corning, NY
  • (42) National and/or NYS Certified course materials

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

  • United States Air Force: 1983-1987 ( Active) & 1990-1992 (Reserve)
  • Owner of Construction Technology: 1990-2000
  • City of Oneonta Fire Department: 1989-2015 (Call, PT, Provisional, Career)
  • NYS Fire Service Instructor: 2008-2015
  • Co-owner of DCMarketing: 2011-present
  • Otsego County Board Representative: 2016-present

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

  • Scout Leader with Troop 23: 1988-1992
  • City of Oneonta Pee Wee Football: 1996-2004
  • City of Oneonta Little League Baseball: 2000-2002
  • City of Oneonta Airport Commission: 2012-present
  • American Legion Oneonta Post 259: 2010-present

-Commander of Post 259:  2011-present

  • Otsego County American Legion Boys State Chairman-2015-present
  • City of Oneonta Memorial Day Parade Chairman: 2013-present

FAMILY:

Wife, Dellene Carson

Sons

  • Joshua & Octavia Carson
  • James Carson
  • Dan Wood

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:

To provide an egalitarian environment for its people, by being small, nimble and providing a business-friendly environment. By doing so, our communities will grow, prosper and provide the services that they need.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:

  • Lack of Economic Development- from creating more of an opportunity for our existing businesses to attracting others. We need to strengthen our partnership with Otsego Now and our NYS Representatives by open communications focusing on a single vision.
  • Unfunded mandates from New York State Government

–Medicaid, NYS DMV, DOH are a few examples. The Medicaid unfunded   mandates accounts for $0.90 from every $1.00 collected on the tax levy.

  • Lack of a County Manager or Executive

–Board Representatives are consumed with managing Department Heads rather than implementation of the Strategic Plan; which provides the vision and direction of our county. This would also provide the opportunity to improve our relationships/partnerships with municipalities within our county.

  • Improving existing infrastructure- county roads and bridges
  • Updating the Emergency Services training center

–the burn-building has not been expanded or improved upon in more than three decades

–finalize the 911 Communication system

–more towers are needed

  • Development of documentation scanning and record-keeping for all departments
  • Partner with other counties on priority issues like Broadband and upgrades for existing natural gas pipelines.
  • Strengthen our Agriculture environment-creating a footprint for the Farmer Markets that can be used all year. This allows our local farm businesses to increase revenue by growing product(s) year around.
  • Staggered terms for Representatives and extend the term to 4 years. In 2016, seven new Board Reps were elected;  this does not provide continuity for Department Heads or our constituents.

STATEMENT:

During 2016, I chaired Public Safety Legal Affairs, our 911 Director pointed out a loophole with regards to wireless phone services.  Those without a contract, did not pay for 911 services as those of us with land lines and wireless phone contracts did. A resolution was passed by Otsego County legislators, this item was carried to and passed both the Assembly and Senate. This passage will mean more revenue to maintain our 911 Communication system.

Working with DSS Commissioner, Eve Bouboulis, a new model for housing our homeless was adopted and will save our county taxpayers more than $100k annually. More needs to be done with this issue and we are currently studying the “Tiny Home” concept to see if this can be applied to our current and future needs of homeless.

This concept has the possibility to reduce our local-share cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide the service needed.

Currently, our local municipalities are on their own to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. This methodology is expensive and does not provide annual cost stability. Partnering with our current and future County Treasurer, I have been hosting Town Hall meetings, introducing the Otsego County Healthcare Insurance Consortium. Basically, creating a insurance company, under NYS Article 47, for all municipal employees and providing a long-term healthcare insurance financial stability.  Our smaller communities will see annual savings of 15-20% and over all, the county taxpayers could realize $1M to $1.4M annual savings. We will need to stay focused and follow through on the process during 2018 to recognize a start date of January 1, 2019.

I have enjoyed working for my neighbors in the 5th and 6th Wards, City of Oneonta and  Otsego County residents in my first term. I hope you agree, my thirty-four (34) years of public service as a soldier, firefighter, community member and Otsego County representative has provided me the knowledge, experience and connections to serve our county residences with the leadership it deserves.

questionnaire — lizabeth shannon

LIZABETH SHANNON

Lizabeth Shannon

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 14

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: City of Oneonta, Ward 7

EDUCATION: B.S., Textile Design, Philadelphia University; AAS Professional Crafts – Handweaving, Haywood Community College, Clyde, N.C.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 13 years’ experience as Design Director, designer or stylist for U.S. textile industry – 11 years in textile mills; Designer/owner of reZILience handwoven fine craft products

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Alderman, City of Oneonta Common Council; co-founder of Fabulous First Fridays

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: The government should be the voice of the people.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: Need for creating appropriate jobs and housing, so people can afford to live and work in the county; need to consider new educational opportunities and job training; need to balance economic development with conserving natural resources; need to continue to address the opioid crisis; need for county-wide broadband; need for county government to be more transparent, inclusive and efficient

 MY QUALITIES: I was born in Oneonta and graduated from OHS. My experience as a legislator on the Common Council makes me the most qualified candidate in my district. I’ll be able to hit the ground running on Jan. 1.

 STATEMENT: People are concerned about government leadership. I will help my constituents become involved citizens who work proactively to improve our county.

questionnaire — marietta

ANDREW MARIETTA

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 8

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Fly Creek 

EDUCATION: Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in history and certificate in business administration from Creighton University.  He has a master’s in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.  He also has a NYS insurance broker’s license.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Andrew is a VP of Regional Development for the New York Council of Nonprofits, and for the past 14 years, has assisted over a hundred Otsego County community organizations in the areas of governance, strategic planning, marketing, human resources, revenue generation and risk management. He has worked with organizations like the Cooperstown Food Pantry, Family Service Association, Family Resource Network, Opportunities for Otsego, Girls on the Run Central New York, Cooperstown Art Association and The Smithy, Cooperstown Concert Series, Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego Land Trust, Susquehanna Animal Shelter, Habitat for Humanity Otsego County, and many other organizations serving our community. In addition, he is a licensed broker, providing insurance assistance and guidance to local businesses. He served for six years on the Cooperstown Chamber Board, with two years as the Board President, and he rejoined the Board two years ago and now serves as the Treasurer. He understands the value of the Chamber to businesses and the community. A strong Chamber means success for everyone. He has worked in marketing and tourism, and continues to assist cultural organizations like museums and arts councils locally and all across NYS. Andrew also has his own apartment business, which includes 15 rentals offering 12 month leases and providing homes to over 20 community members. He is often working on these buildings and takes pride in providing quality housing for local and new Cooperstown residents. Andrew has invested in Cooperstown, and he understands that rebuilding our population is crucial to our area’s future success. Because of that, he only rents to year-round renters, forgoing short term profit from tourist rentals for year-round residents who add to, and become part of, our community. He understands the needs and challenges of the community and region and the importance of vision and action to bring success to Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Andrew has been involved and dedicated to community service for decades and continues this important work in helping our community. Andrew served 4 years on the Cooperstown Central School Board. Andrew is a past Chair of the Cooperstown Winter Carnival Committee. Andrew served for 6 years on the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce Board and rejoined two years ago and serves as the Treasurer. He presently serves on the Board of Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network, a service organization helping families in Otsego and surrounding counties, where he is the Vice President and serves on the Marketing and Governance Committees. He is on the Board of Cornell Cooperative Extension Otsego and Schoharie Counties. He and his wife Melissa founded and installed Cooperstown’s first Little Free Library at their Chestnut rental property. The Cooperstown Little Free Library is focused on increasing access to free books for readers of all ages and offering the opportunity to exchange books. 

FAMILY: Andrew and Melissa have two children, Caroline (11) and Charlotte (7).

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:  Andrew’s philosophy regarding Otsego County government is focused on transparency, clear communication and partnership. He has made a significant impact and brought about positive change by working with his Republican colleagues and also by promoting and sharing Otsego County government information and documents through www.facebook.com/iloveotsego. Furthermore, he strongly advocated for videotaping the County Board meetings and worked with www.allotsego.com to make this possible. And yet, there is still a lack of communication coming from our County leadership, which is problematic and creates a transparency issue, miscommunication, misinformation and mistrust. Andrew is committed to strengthening the County’s management and governance operations and building on the current bi-partisan partnership between Representatives. He understands that the operating committees need to be improved and open dialogue encouraged with County department heads. Restoring trust and confidence is dependent on communication and accessibility of information. Otsego County government can better leverage information and develop policies and procedures that will bring success to Otsego County departments, partners, local businesses and municipalities.

 MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:

Key Reasons for Re-election of Andrew Marietta as County Representative for District 8:

  • Continue the bi-partisan work with my Republican colleagues on the County Board to develop and hire a County Manager/Administrator, bringing a central point of contact and management to strengthen Otsego County operations. This position will bring continuity to a County Board that changes every two years (2016 had 7 new Reps out of 14- a 50% turnover), as well as the County committee system drastically changing every year (County Chair Clark changed the majority of the committees, putting new chairs in place who were not even on their committee the previous year). 
  • Institute term limits for County Representatives. This is key to keeping Representatives engaged and for them to maintain a high level of commitment to their public service role. 
  • Elect a new County leader, which will open the lines of communication amongst the County Representatives and County personnel. A new County Chair is essential to the future of Otsego County.  The current Chair has never outlined a vision for Otsego County or delivered a state of the County laying out aspirations and goals to address. The current County leadership has undermined the strategic planning process and given little support the finalized strategic plan. Otsego County needs a Chair that will work with all parties and department heads and fully support the implementation of Otsego County’s strategic plan.    
  • Implement County management meetings that include County Representatives and County department heads meeting and working together as a group (no such meetings have ever happened in the history of the County).
  • Implement an orientation process for all new County Representatives elected, including developing a governance and operations manual outlining how the County operates and defining policies and procedures key for County Representatives. No such orientation or infrastructure exists.
  • Restructuring Otsego County Representatives operating committees to become more efficient and eliminate duplication and micromanagement. The County’s Administration Committee should be populated by chairs from all operating committees. This approach will strengthen committee decision making and eliminate duplication.  
  • Reestablish OtsegoNow as an active, economic development agency for Otsego County. An actual working partnership must be created with OtsegoNow and Otsego County that involves information sharing and shared goals. This effort will also include appointing new County Representative leadership to the OtsegoNow Board that better represents Otsego County. More importantly, new County Representative leadership will proactively communicate and share information about OtsegoNow with the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
  • Strengthen and expand the partnership with Destination Marketing to better leverage Otsego County’s investment in tourism, including growing bed tax revenues.

MY QUALITIES:

Andrew first moved to Otsego County, coming to Cooperstown to attend the Cooperstown Graduate Program and then joining the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum to work in tourism and revenue development. Andrew came to learn how Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego, including our many museums and other tourist attractions and small businesses, are economic drivers for Otsego County. Andrew transitioned to the New York Council of Nonprofits, and has assisted numerous community organizations that support our social safety net and cultural activities. He came to understand the infrastructure needs of our community and how we come together to support each other. He started his own business and invested in offering quality 12 month rental housing. He came to see the importance of small business to Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego and the impact of investing in the community. He joined the Cooperstown School Board and worked in partnership with his fellow board members and the administration to achieve significant health insurance savings and better leverage Cooperstown Central School as an asset for the County. He learned the importance of education to our community and providing the tools and resources to make our students more successful and attract more residents. Andrew has the community knowledge, business experience, entrepreneurial skills, governance understanding and public service record that is required to serve successfully and effectively as Otsego County Representative for District 8.

STATEMENT: As a collaborator, I have and will continue to work behind the scenes to strengthen Otsego County government, leveraging the assets we have to achieve the best return on investment. I am dedicated to improving the quality of life and economic impact of Cooperstown and Town of Otsego by building upon Otsego County’s opportunities. I understand the planning process and have worked with organizations throughout our community to map out a vision and plan for the future. There are no silver bullet solutions for Otsego County. In all my interactions and community involvement, I have learned our success is interconnected. As a business owner, father, community volunteer, and public servant, I ask for your vote to re-elect me as the Otsego County Representative for District 8, and together, we will usher in a new era of collaboration and bi-partisanship in Otsego County government. 

questionnaire — kennedy

MEG KENNEDY

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 5,

(HARTWICK, MILFORD, NEW LISBON)

Meg Kennedy

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Hartwick

EDUCATION: B.S. Cornell University

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 24 years experience in family owned and operated horticultural business in Hartwick

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: serve on governing bodies of 2 farmers markets 2008 – present, serve on Town of Hartwick Planning Board 2010- present, member of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Parish.

FAMILY: 11 siblings, many in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews, parents

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: Government has a responsibility to spend tax monies responsibly.  Government functions to serve the people by providing the best service in the most cost effective manner to protect the public safety and provide safe roads and infrastructure, encourage economic development and provide services as mandated.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: creating jobs and educational opportunities for residents and young people.  Keeping and supporting agriculture as a economic strength. 

MY QUALITIES:  I am a good listener and a fast learner.  I work well in groups.  I have good communication skills.  These qualities have served me well in my first term on the County Board.

STATEMENT: I have enjoyed my work on the County Board of Representatives.  My attendance each month at the town meetings in Milford, Hartwick and New Lisbon keeps me in touch with issues that I can work on at the county level.  My attendance at my committee meetings has helped to shape decisions that have resulted in positive outcomes for the county – budgets under the tax cap, support for the Farmland Protection Plan and work on the organization of the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank are some examples.

questionnaire — breck tarbell

BRECK TARBELL

COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 4

Brett Tarbell

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: I live at 142 Morningside Drive, Oneonta, in Otsego County District 4

EDUCATION:  I have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I have over 30 years of business management along with 10 years as a small business owner

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I have been a member of the Oneonta Lions for 10 years and have been the President for 4 of those years! And through my business my wife and I have supported the American Cancer Society, Hospice and the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Also starting today, my business is registered with the “Grace for Vets” program, where we will provide a free car wash on Nov. 11 and April 25 to any veteran!

FAMILY:  My wife Marina and I are both in a second marriage and bring a little Brady Bunch to the table. I have 2 sons, Christopher and Michael, and a daughter Joanie along with Michael’s wife Gina and my 2 fantastic Grandsons, David and Judd. And Marina has brought 2 great-stepsons Andrew and Dereck Frisch to the mix.

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: My thoughts on government are that it needs to be controlled,  transparent and with term limits. Our representatives have to be held accountable and have some skin in the game!

MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:

  • Economic Development; without that nothing else will work!
  • Infrastructure, we have a great start with I-88, the railyards and Oneonta Airport, but we need to keep these at their best!
  • Public Safety; with the growing opioid problem and growing homelessness we need transparency and communications at all levels!

Last; “Make governments more efficient to serve the people better.” And we need a sense of urgency in our representatives!

 MY QUALITIES: With the experience that I bring from construction/business management, I totally understand that sense of urgency.  I have been in all types of negotiations, I understand how to handle a budget and, last, I have the commonsense and knowledge to put all of these qualities together in one package.

STATEMENT: I just want everyone to know that this is a job that I don’t take lightly! I have always followed politics but I also knew in the past that working a fulltime job does not allow a person to give the proper amount of exposure to the issues and training that are around us at all times. Now I have come to a time in my life that I can devote the time necessary to do this job the way it should be done. The motto for the Lions Club is “We Serve” and that’s just what I will do for you, I promise to be there at the meetings to represent you!

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