ONEONTA – During public comment at this evening’s Common Council meeting, city Airport Commissioner Jeff Back laid out his case for naming the Oneonta Municipal Airport terminal in memory of the late Dennis Finn.
“Dennis was a valued founding member of the airport commission,” he said. “His involvement with the airport goes back to it’s construction and pre-dates the original dedication ceremony in 1966. His commitment, daily efforts and never-ending promotion of airport activities have been a strong contributor to the renovation of airport facilities, airport awareness and increased community involvement.
“It is the unanimous recommendation of the airport commission that the airport’s main terminal be named in his honor.”
ONEONTA – With the final ballot opened at 9:30 a.m. today, Democrat Michelle Osterhoudt has won the Ward 4 Common Council seat by one vote, 93-92, over independent Jeff Back.
Osterhoudt is a school teacher by profession and a member of the Oneonta Community Relations & Human Rights Commission. She and husband Marty have two children.
Her opponent, Back, president of Fyr-Fyter, Inc., which installs sprinklers and other fire-prevention systems. His entry turned a contest between Osterhoudt and Republican Laura Dohner into a rare three-way contest to replace retiring Council member Mike Lynch.
ONEONTA – With 92 votes each, independent Jeff Back and Democrat Michelle Osterhoudt have tied in the race for Common Council’s Fourth Ward seat. One ballot was contested because of a wrong date, and, if no one takes it to court, the ballot will be opened on Friday, Nov. 13, to determine the winner.
In the Fifth Ward, Democrat Dana Levison beat incumbent Republican Madolyn Palmer 101-95
Additionally, Democrat Andrew Stammel, 603-583, has formally defeated incumbent Janet Hurley Quackenbush, who had conceded the race last week.
Oneonta Plumbing Board – Served under several Mayors
Oneonta Airport Commission
Kim Back (Married 35 years)
Two Daughters, Ashley & Megan
IN TWO OR THREE SENTENCES, EXPLAIN YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT.
The structure and strength of our government is strong and time tested. Both party and personal agendas are being questioned. The purpose of government should be to enable its people, not entitle. To re-establish the strong foundation on which it was formed, we need to start at the local level, remove apathy, and allow constituents to remember they still have a voice and are empowered. I believe that if government always remembers to keep its eyes on the prize (us, our children, and community), this will help serve in the process of providing an environment where we are all proud to live and work.
WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES THE COMMON COUNCIL FACES, AND HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THEM?
• Stabilization of City Government (Short Term)
Enactment of the City Charter is a starting point. The Council needs to apply the intended role for each job position defined in the Charter; provide authority to, and accountability for, those positions; and have performance evaluated for all involved, including the Common Council. City employees must be empowered to perform their jobs and be evaluated on that performance. Concurrently, the Charter itself must be re-evaluated and reviewed based on the needs of the City to accomplish both daily activity and long term direction.
• Enhancement & Development of Economic Growth Potential (Mid-Term)
We need to evaluate the many assets and strengths within Oneonta. These include its people, our schools, the colleges, our businesses, our medical facilities, our culture, our infrastructure, and the beauty of our natural resources. At the same time, we need to be realistic about our liabilities and what can be done to minimize their impact. We need to be open and honest and encourage our constituents to get involved. With this, the Common Council can move forward in a dynamic fashion. All of us have some aspect of liking “the way it was” because it’s human nature to resist change. However, controlled change allows us to evolve. We need to work together to solve issues such as affordable housing, parking, and the condition of roads.
I think there is a real need to take a look at what we want Oneonta to be and define a proposed process for getting there. I would turn to my fellow constituents for input on this, since the vision of Oneonta should be developed by all of us.
WHAT QUALITIES/EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKES YOU THE BETTER CHOICE IN THIS RACE
I came to Oneonta in the mid-70s as a college student. I admired the City and its community and created memories and that allowed us to consider moving here to raise our family and develop our business. During the last 30 years of living in Oneonta, these have been accomplished. It took hard work, making good decisions, developing ideas, and implementing a path to get those goals accomplished. Working with customers and employees, communicating ideas, discussing alternatives, developing plans, and getting it done, suggests a trait that is needed in City government. Although education provides a great foundation, 30 years of real life experience and achievements will allow me to bring a different and perhaps needed perspective to the Common Council. Personally, being accountable for over 1,500 on-time payrolls proves a sense of responsibility and understanding. Having been involved in City government by sitting on the Plumbing Board through several Mayors and being an Airport Commissioner has allowed me an opportunity to be introduced to how local government operates. Considering the number of new faces sitting in the Common Council chambers in January, this experience is an asset.
IS THERE A STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH VOTERS?
I feel that I am ready to be involved at a higher level. The best decisions are informed decisions. Communicating with and representing my neighbors of the 4th ward is something that I will take seriously. I fully understand, and will promise you, that I will always listen to you and your concerns. I will do my very best to be informed on the issues so that I can represent all of us before the Common Council.