ONEONTA — The Common Council approved the new Asst. Fire Chief, Timothy Foster to a round of applause Tuesday, Aug. 17, after some discussion about tabling the potential appointment until the situation with the COVID delta variant became more clear.
The council was briefed on the situation with the coronavirus variant, a mutation that is steadily causing higher rates of infection City Health Officer Diane Georgeson said while fully vaccinated adults can acquire and transmit the virus but it is spreading much more quickly in places with lower vaccination rates.
ONEONTA — The City of Oneonta’s new fire chief appropriately comes from a long line of firemen.
A Schenevus native and fourth-generation firefighter, Brian Knapp started his position as the Oneonta fire chief officially Sunday, Aug. 1. “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a firefighter,” Knapp said Monday, Aug. 2.
Knapp’s great-grandfather was a firefighter in West Laurens, and both his grandfather and his father were firefighters in Schenevus.
“It was part of the family, the fire service,” Knapp said. “It’s just always something I wanted to do.”
Knapp was a volunteer firefighter in Schenevus before starting at the Oneonta Fire Department as an on-call firefighter in 2004. He became a part-time firefighter within six months and was promoted to full time in 2006.
“Everyone typically gets into this job to help people,” Knapp said. The rescued people are “probably (in) their worst hours of the worst days in their lives and we’re there to help them with their problem.”
ONEONTA — In a two and a half hour meeting, the issue of housing was forefront as the Common Council struggled to come to agree on the choice of an out-of-city resident as part of the housing commission on Tuesday, July 20.
This appointment was narrowly approved, 4-3, with Kaytee Lipari Shue, Len Carson and Scott Harrington being the dissenting votes.
The motion to appoint Audrey Benkenstein, with the addition of Oneonta resident Peter Friedman, was brought up for a second time after being voted down during the last common council meeting, something that Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig told AllOtsego.com last week was “mystifying,” since Lipari Shue had pushed for a non-city resident to be on the Arts Commission.
The main point of contention was that Benkenstein was not a Oneonta resident. However Herzig pointed out her appointment was voted down “only minutes after approving a Cherry Valley artist” for the Arts Commission.
Herzig said the Arts Commission held real power whereas the Housing Commission was an advisory position, and therefore those appointed to the Housing Commission were not considered officials with any kind capacity to approve anything.