News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Ed Frazier

Bliss Reelected Chair; Clark, Frazier Vote Nay

With 2 Nays, Bliss

Keeps Chairmanship

Clark Again Demurs; Frazier Joins Her

County Rep.Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, takes the rostrum after he was reelected chairman of the county Board of Representatives.   He is flanked by Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern, Left, and County Attorney Ellen Coccoma.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.

County Reps Vote To Double Their Cost For Health Coverage

COUNTY BOARD • DECEMBER 2018

County Reps Double

Their Contributions

For Health Coverage

Frazier Calls It ‘Leading The Way’;

Board Members Pay $1,160 More

County Rep. Ed Frazier asks his colleagues today to “lead the way” by doubling their contribution to their county health insurance. On the podium are county Board Chair David Bliss and County Attorney Ellen Coccoma. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – In what he termed “leading the way,” county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, today proposed doubling county representatives’ contribution to their health insurance from 5 to 10 percent.

The other county reps – with Andrew Stammel, D-Town of Oneonta, absent – a voted unanimously to do so, a step that will cost them another $1,160 a year.

County Board Discusses, Agrees To Easing Standoff With Sheriff
FOR VIDEO OF APRIL MEETING, CLICK HERE

County Board Discusses, Agrees

To Easing Standoff With Sheriff

County Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, praises county Board Chair David Bliss for working out an agreement that may end a standoff with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. Frazier also sought to make sure yesterday’s vote endorsing the Devlin-Bliss agreement would give the chair sufficient clout to resolve the matter of the sheriff’s correctional-officer son, Ros, who has been barred from going on county property since an incident at the county jail in January 2017. Matt Ryan, the county’s labor attorney, reassured Frazier on that count.  Frazier is flanked by county reps Gary Koutnik, right, and Danny Lapin, both City of Oneonta Democrats.  For full debate, part of a video of the county board’s April meeting, click here (from videotape by Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sheriff Surrenders Authority Over Son

Sheriff Surrenders

Authority Over Son

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Ed Frazier, foreground, thanks chair David Bliss for breaking the deadlock over the investigation of the sheriff’s prison-guard son. (Jim Kevliin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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?”

County Reps Pick Bliss As Chairman

COUNTY BOARD REORGANIZES

County Reps Pick

Bliss As Chairman

Dem Koutnik Paired With Republican

In Succeeding Kathy Clark, Ed Frazier

County Rep. David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, takes the oath of office this morning next to county Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego. A few minutes later, Bliss’s colleagues voted him in as Clark’s replacement as county board chair. (Jim Kevliin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.

County Rep. Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, at center taking the oath of office, was soon elected vice chairman.

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.

Board Chair Clark Has Earned Defeat

EDITORIAL ENDORSEMENTS

Board Chair Clark

Has Earned Defeat

3 Key Allies Let County Down, Too

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 info@allotsego.com.  Polls will be open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Otego and Laurens voters should deny county Rep. Kathy Clark, another term.

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.

Faso, LeCates Discuss Doing More For Veterans At Bassett

Faso, LeCates Discuss Doing

More For Veterans At Bassett

Congressman John Faso, R-19, center left, and Dr. William LeCates, Bassett Hospital medical director, center right, discuss ways the Cooperstown hospital might better serve veterans when they met this morning at a veterans’ resource fair organized by the congressman’s office at Foothills in Oneonta.  With them are the county board’s chair, Kathy Clark, R-Otego, and vice chair Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla. Shortterm, LeCates, a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard who has served in the Middle East, agreed to be a point of contact at Bassett for county Veterans Director Jack Henson. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COUNTY BOARD EXPLODES OVER MANAGER MOVE

READ TEXT OF TODAY’S RESOLUTION

COUNTY BOARD

EXPLODES OVER

MANAGER MOVE

Marietta’s Resolution From Floor

‘Disrespectful,’ Frazier Declares

Chiding Democrat Marietta for seeking a decision on moving toward hiring a county manager are, from left, Republicans Dan Wilber of Burlington, Ed Frazier of Unadilla, and Kathy Clark of Otego, the board chair. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, rises to make what turned out to be a controversial motion. Seated is Meg Kennedy, R-Mount Vision.

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.

Jail Sprinkler System Faulty, Sheriff Reports

Jail Sprinkler System

Faulty, Sheriff Reports

But Repairs May Not Happen Until 2018

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. reports on challenges at the county jail to the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee this morning. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.”

Inquiry Into Sheriff Resumes Tomorrow

Inquiry Into Sheriff

Resumes Tomorrow

Will County Board Chair Clark Sit In?

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Chairman Clark

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.

Investigator May Be Hired In Jail Probe, Frazier Says

Investigator May Be Hired

In Jail Probe, Frazier Says

Investigation Should Be ‘Professional, Complete,”
Chairman Says As Personnel Records Scrutinized
County Sheriff Devlin, right, and his undersheriff, Cameron Allison, left, attend thsi morning’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee meeting. Other are, from left, county Reps. Dan Wilber, Kay Stuligross, chairman Ed Frazier and Keith McCarty.  Both Utica TV stations sent camera crews.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.

With Help Of Reserves, County ’17 Budget Even

PROPOSAL SUBMITTED ON DEADLINE

Drawing On Surplus,

County ’17 Budget Even

With a smile, County Treasurer Dan Crowell holds up the preliminary 2017 county budget that he submitted Tuesday, a day ahead of the requirement, to Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
With a smile, County Treasurer Dan Crowell holds up the preliminary 2017 county budget that he submitted Tuesday, a day ahead of the requirement, to Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

county-logoCOOPERSTOWN – 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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PRELIMINARY 2017 COUNTY BUDGET

Budget Committee chair Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, said the public hearing is at 6 p.m. Nov. 28. The county board may then approve the document at its December meeting on the 7th.

Complete Constitution Pipeline, Cuomo Asked

CLICK FOR FULL TEXT

Complete Constitution

Pipeline, Cuomo Asked

County Board To Debate Sending Letter

By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Reps. Powers, left, and Frazier
County Reps. Powers, left, and Frazier

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.”

Powers, Frazier Back Constitution Pipeline

Powers, Frazier Back

Constitution Pipeline

County Reps. Draft Letter To Cuomo

For Their Colleagues’ Consideration

County Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, offers an draft a letter to Governor Cuomo urging approval of the Constitution Pipeline. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
County Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, offers to draft a letter to Governor Cuomo urging approval of the Constitution Pipeline. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

"I'll help," said county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, the board's co-chair.
“I’ll help,” said county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, the board’s co-chair.

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.”

County Wish List $8M Over Target

County Wish List

$8M Over Target

Frazier, Crowell Confident Budget

Can Be Pared To Avoid Tax Hike

By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

Crowell
Crowell
Frazier
Frazier

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.”

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