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News of Otsego County

Ellen Coccoma

Public Must Be Included In Commission To Review Sheriff’s, D.A.’s Procedures

Public Must Be Included

In Commission To Review

Sheriff, D.A.’s Procedures

George Floyd Death, Protests Prompted
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Bliss
Coccoma

COOPERSTOWN – County board Chairman David Bliss will be appointing a committee of about a dozen people, including members of the public, to review “policies and procedures” at the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department and those governing the district attorney’s investigators.

Bliss and County Attorney Ellen Coccoma yesterday briefed the county board’s Administration Committee, carried on Zoom.  (Follow the link from the “Otsego County” Facebook page.)

Bliss Appointments Reflect ‘Continuity’ 

COUNTY BOARD REORGANIZES

Bliss: Appointments

Aim At ‘Continuity’ 

Meg Kennedy Emerges With New Status

As Chairman Of Both Administration, IGA

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, presides at this morning’s reorganizational meeting. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – She went into today’s reorganizational meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives already with the greatest clout under the weighted voting system.

But Meg Kennedy’s rising stature was quickly affirmed.

She was nominated and elected temporary chair of the reorganizational meeting, presiding over the transition of the chairmanship from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, to David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield.

And she emerged from the morning’s decision-making as chair of the Administration Committee – Ways & Means, through which all resolutions must flow before getting to the floor of the monthly county board meeting.

County Attorney Affirms Chair’s Right To Name Committee Chairs
CLICK HERE TO READ TEXT OF OPINION

Opinion Affirms Board Chair’s

Right To Name Committee Chairs

COOPERSTOWN – County Attorney Ellen Coccoma today released her opinion sought by county representatives to settle a dispute on naming county Board of Representatives’ committees, and she affirms the status quo.

“The board chair has the authority to appoint committee chairs and …  a committee does not have the authority to choose its own chair,” the county attorney concluded.

Last week, two committees – Health & Education and Performance Review – voted on their chairs after county Rep. David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Otsego, suggested that, since that board chair power is not specifically designated in the board’s bylaws,  it should be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, which enables committees to elected the chairs.

Gelbsman Assumes Chair Of Admin Without Incident
CHALLENGE TO ‘PAST PRACTICE’ AT END

Gelbsman Assumes Chair

Of Admin Without Incident

Without incident, county Rep. Craig Gelbsman, R-Oneonta, assumed the helm of the county Board of Representatives’ key Administration Committee this morning, signalling an end to questions raised about the board chair appointing committee chairs, at least for this year.  When two of the board’s committees – Health & Education and Performance Review – convenes in the past several days, members voted for their committee chairs.  That occurred after county Rep. David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield, observed the board chair appointing committee chairs is not provided for in the board’s bylaws, and thus must be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.  Bliss said Robert’s Rules call for committees to elect their own chairs, but County Attorney Ellen Coccoma e-mailed an opinion to reps saying her reading of the latest edition gives the appointing officer authority to appoint chairs.  She also reportedly said “past practice” rules.  The initiative may have been motivated, in part, by board chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, removing Len Carson, R-Oneonta, from his Public Safety Committee chairmanship after he challenged her for board chair at the reorganization meeting on Jan. 4.  Gelbsman is flanked by Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, right, and Brian Pokorny, county IT director. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Couple Who Lost Farm To Taxes Sues County

GILBERTSVILLE PROPERTY

Couple Who Lost Farm

To Taxes Sues County

With a protest sign between his knees, Bob Force records this morning's county board meeting in Cooperstown. At right is Marie Ajello. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
With a protest sign between his knees, Bob Force records this morning’s county board meeting in Cooperstown. At right is Marie Ajello. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

county-logoCOOPERSTOWN – The gavel fell in August 2014, but ripples from that Otsego County tax-delinquency auction are still being felt.

A Long Island couple who that day lost their farm in Gilbertsville – their intended retirement home – are now suing the County of Otsego and the county Treasurer’s Office in federal court for what may be more than $15 million in damages.

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