News of Otsego County

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


fire commissioners

2 Candidates Sought To Run For Oneonta Fire District Vacancies

2 Candidates Sought To Run For

Oneonta Fire District Vacancies

ONEONTA – The Town of Oneonta Fire District today announced elections to fill two fire commissioner vacancies will be held 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St.

Candidates are needed for one five-year term that begins on Jan. 1, 2018 and ends on Dec. 31, 2022, and one two-year term that begins Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2019.

Oneonta Fire Commissioners Appoint Ron Peters

 Town Fire Board Declares

Quorum, Elects Ron Peters

Citing what some termed an obscure clause in state construction law, the two remaining members of the Town of Oneonta Fire District, chairman Fred Volpe and Johna Peachin, declared this evening they constitute a quorum on the five-member board, and elected Ron Peters, Peachin’s significant other, as the third member. The fire board was meeting at Elm Park Methodist Church. The three other commissioners had resigned, one – Don Lammana, citing “irreconcilable differences” with the rest of the board. Under most circumstances, two members of a five-member board would not constitute a quorum, and Town Supervisor Bob Wood and Mayor Gary Herzig had expressed hopes three new members might be elected to the fire board in December, opening the way for a possible end to stalled talks to keep the city’s professional Oneonta Fire Department providing fire-fighting services to the town. (Ian Austin/
Herzig To Fire Commissioners: Stop Spreading Falsehoods

Herzig Chides Fire Board:

Stop Spreading Falsehoods

Ron Peters, left, sits next to Town of Oneonta Fire Commissioners Johna Peachin and Fred Volpe during Common Council earlier this evening. (Ian Austin/
Mayor Gary Herzig read a statement refuting the claims the commissioners made to the Town Board.


Special to

ONEONTA – At tonight’s Common Council meeting, Mayor Gary Herzig publicly chided Town of Oneonta Fire District commissioners for what he described as telling tales out of school.

While Fire Commissioners Johna Peachin and Fred Volpe sat stony-faced in the gallery, Herzig took them on for, he said, briefing Town Supervisor Bob Wood and the town board about long-stalled negotiations over the contract so the city’s professional department can continue providing services in the town.

On May 1, Herzig said, he and the other city negotiators, Finance Officer Meg Hungerford and Council member Russ Southard met with Peachin and Fire Commissioner Mike Butler.  At that time, they agreed “negotiations would remain confidential and public comment should be avoided.”

“The city has honored that agreement with no public report having been provided – not even to the city’s Common Council. For this reason, I was both surprised and disappointed when the Commissioners recently presented a public report to the Town of Oneonta Supervisor and Board members.”

After 45-Minutes In Chambers, No Decision; Lawyers Try Again

After 45 Minutes In Chambers,

No Decision; Lawyers Try Again

Judge Coccoma
Judge Coccoma

COOPERSTOWN – State Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma took lawyers for the City of Oneonta and Town of Oneonta Fire District #1 into his chambers at 10:15 a.m. to see if they could talk their way through to a resolution of the fire-contract standoff.


The closeted discussion was supposed to last half an hour, but City Attorney David Merzig and the fire district’s lawyer, Terence Hannigan of Delmar, emerged after 45 minutes at 11 a.m. with no resolution.

Coccoma had a hearing on another case, and directed Merzig and Hannigan to return at 11:30 a.m. to resume the negotiations.

COLONE: Southside Should Explore Merging Into City

COLONE: Southside Should

Explore Merging Into City

To the Editor:

I’ve been tracking the fire contract issue between the city and town of Oneonta over fire services to the Town’s Fire District #1. 

Al Colone
Al Colone

The lack of town leadership has once again raised its ugly head as evidenced by the Town’s longstanding failure to have a legally constituted fire commission and then by ignoring negotiations on this all-important matter as it was formally proposed by the City in early 2015.

It’s a case of outright neglect by the Town’s elected officials, “kicking the can down the road” on a critically important matter, risking the welfare and needs of Town residents and businesses.

Thank goodness, the City demonstrated sound judgment to engage a ruling on the matter by state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma, who recommended extending the contract negotiating period.

With the Town so entrenched in itself, the time would seem to be right for the City to pursue a re-directed route to “one Oneonta” by immediately beginning discussions with Southside property owners, to include Mr. Bettiol, the Pattons, the Karabinises, owners of the mall and others to consider having their properties annexed into the City.

STAMMEL: Fire Commissioners Should Consider Resigning Posts

STAMMEL: Fire Commissioners

Should Consider Resigning Posts

To the Editor:

Andrew Stammel
Andrew Stammel

It is now 2016 and the failure of the Town of Oneonta fire commissioners to execute a fire protection contract with the City for this year is a serious and concerning matter. The town and city governments continue to work together on a host of efforts, including economic development, communications, sewer and water and highway work.

Most of the town’s residents and businesses currently rely on the city for professional fire protection. At the same time, the city depends on the million-dollar contribution of town residents to employ and equip Oneonta firefighters and to keep city taxes more manageable. The collaborative efforts around fire protection and ambulance services are a prime example of how the town and city have worked together effectively for decades to promote the general welfare of Oneonta in a manner which best serves each jurisdictions’ taxpayers.

2 Newcomers Join Town Fire Board

2 Newcomers Join Town Fire Board

ONEONTA – Donald Lammano and Carol Ann Malz joined the Town of Oneonta’s Fire District #1 Board of Commissioners this evening.

After years of low – or no – turnout, almost 200 voters turned out this evening to vote in the new commissioners, who will soon be locked in negotiations, trying to ensure the continuance of fire protection from the city’s Oneonta Fire Department in the new year.

Incumbents Fred Volpe (52 votes) won a five-year term, Mike Butler (55) a four-year term, Johna Peachin (51) a three-year term, Lammano (51) a two-year term, and Malz (33) a one-year term.

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