COOPERSTOWN – His predecessor, Kathy Clark, R-Otego, again voted nay, but county Rep. David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, was reelected nonetheless for a second year as chairman of the county Board of Representatives.
Clark was joined by her vice chair when she led the board, Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, making the vote 12-2 for Bliss. Bliss’s vice chairman, Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, was unanimously reelected to that post.
COOPERSTOWN – After a 15-month standoff, Ros Devlin’s fate as a correctional officer is now in the hands of the chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
With one abstention and two absences, the county reps voted a few minutes ago to accept Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s proposal to turn over authority for investigating and possibly removing his son from his job to county board Chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego.
In a short discussion, county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, first thanked Bliss for moving matters forward, but he asked the county labor attorney, Matt Ryan, “Does this get us where we need to be?”
COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives this morning elected David Bliss, the former Middlefield town supervisor just elected to his second term, to be its chairman this year.
The vote was 10 “ayes,” two absentions, one absence, and a single “nay” from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the chair Bliss replaced.
Unanimously, the reps then appointed Democrat Gary Koutnik, the veteran representative from the City of Oneonta, as the vice chair.
The absent county rep was Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, who departs as board vice chair. It was said he had to take his wife to the hospital.
The pairing of a Republican chair with Democratic vice chair is unusual but not unprecedented: Republican Sam Dubben and the late Rich Murphy, a Democrat, shared the leadership in 2010; and Republican Don Linberg was chair and Ron Feldstein vice chair in 2007.
Editor’s Note: This is the editorial opinion of www.AllOTSEGO.com, Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal. Letters to the editor on political topics received after 10 a.m. Tuesday will appear on www.AllOTSEGO.com; email letters to email@example.com. Polls will be open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The first vow in physicians’ Hippocratic Oath is, “Do no harm.” It’s not a bad standard to apply across the board, and county board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego/Laurens, failed to meet it.
After standing at the podium on Jan. 10, 2014, with state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller to herald a new era of economic development in Otsego County, Clark withheld funding, withheld cooperation and hammered through appointments of directors hostile to the goals of what became Otsego Now.
On Thursday, May 25, 2017, she accomplished her goal. Otsego Now’s director, Sandy Mathes, was forced to resign, all the staff quit, and the most promising economic-development initiative in Upstate New York, which had garnered tens of millions of seed money for Otsego County’s renewal, collapsed.
When your high school graduate departs for a construction job in Florida or the Carolinas, or your college grad for the Silicon Valley or Seattle, thank Kathy Clark. Meanwhile, she’s up for reelection Nov. 7, and the citizens of her districts – Otego and Laurens – should vote her out.
COOPERSTOWN – County Rep. Andrew Marietta’s attempt to introduce a resolution to hire a county manager quickly blew up into high drama and parliamentary gamesmanship a today’s county Board of Representatives meeting.
The vote itself was quickly derailed.
Marietta made a motion, Kay Stuligross, D-Oneonta, seconded it, and Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, with some prompting from County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, quickly said, “I’m objecting to the presentation of the resolution.”
Frazier’s objection, according to Coccoma’s ruling, required a two-third vote for the resolution to move forward.
The 7-5 vote favored the resolution. But the weighted vote went the other way, 3,408 against versus 2,856 for. Either measure, though, fell short of the two-thirds mark.
COOPERSTOWN – The sprinkler system in the Otsego County jail is faulty, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. told the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee this morning, but repairs may not come anytime soon.
“What I was told, if the system is activated, it will probably clog,” he told the committee at its monthly meeting. Although it’s unclear how effective the sprinklers are, he said the alarms would probably allow all the inmates to be evacuated in time.
Committee member Dan Wilber, R-Burlington Flats, reacted: “This is an extraordinary situation.”
COOPERSTOWN – Two unopened boxes of personnel records from the county Sheriff’s Department have been turned over to the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee and will be opened and catalogued tomorrow afternoon, according to the committee’s chairman, Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla.
Frazier said today he has invited his committee members, plus county Rep. Andrew Stammel, D-Town of Oneonta – who, as an attorney, has “a unique skill set” – to review the latest material, along with County Attorney Ellen Coccoma and perhaps the county’s labor lawyer, Matt Ryan.
COOPERSTOWN – The county should hire an investigator to make sure the probe of the county Sheriff’s Department is “done in a professional and complete manner,” county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, recommended this morning.
Frazier, chair of the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee, made that announcement before his committee went into closed session this morning to begin reviewing personnel files provided yesterday by Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. in response to a subpoena.
COOPERSTOWN – The proposed county tax levy is up 0.4 percent in the preliminary budget that, by law, County Treasurer Dan Crowell had to deliver to Clerk of the County Board Carol McGovern by Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Applying surplus accrued over the past year, tax bills will stay even, he said.
The proposed levy – the amount that must be raised by local property taxes – is up $45,003 to $11,400,165, Crowell said. State subsidies and reimbursement cover the rest of the $105 million document.
COOPERSTOWN – “Poverty is the illness. Good jobs are the cure,” county Reps. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, and Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, state in the draft of a letter to Governor Cuomo due for consideration at the county Board of Representatives’ October meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Cooperstown.
The letter urges the governor to “reconsider the many benefits the Constitution Pipeline could provide our area, and direct the Department of Environmental Conservation to work constructively with the natural-gas industry for the pipeline’s completion.”
COOPERSTOWN – The county Board of Representatives may be reentering the natural-gas fray in favor of the Constitution Pipeline project.
County Reps. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, and Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, the board’ vice chair, this morning volunteered to draft a letter for the board’s consideration as reps began focusing information from their strategic planning process into a half-dozen first-round priorities.
One of the “key initiatives” in the plan is: “Support the Constitution Pipeline and Leatherstocking Pipeline in appropriate locations in the county.”
COOPERSTOWN – The difference between departmental wish lists and the Budget Committee goal is $8 million, but the officials who have started crafting the 2017 county budget are undeterred.
“These are gotta-haves and wanna-haves,” said county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, who is chairing the Board of Representatives’ Budget Committee for the third year. “My wife wanted a Cadillac and got a GMC Terrain.”