News of Otsego County

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


Jim Salisbury






Mayor Gary Herzig seeks assurances that Otsego Now will maintain its commitment to Oneonta’s DRI and the redevelopment of the D&H yards. Otsego Now board chair, Devin Morgan, sought to reassure the mayor. From left are Sandy Mathes, Morgan, Herzig and departing COO Elizabeth Horvath. Board member Sarah Harvey has her back to the camera. (Jim Kevlin/

3rd Resignation Creates

Crisis For Otsego Now

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Bob Hanft was diplomatic about his resignation from the Otsego Now board. Jim Salisbury, right, was more blunt.

ONEONTA – The coup is complete.

Sandy Mathes, who revolutionized economic development in Otsego County in the past three years, has given the 90-day notice required by his contract, and will be departing as CEO of the Otsego Now organization he created by summer’s end.

As if to punctuate the end of an era, Bob Hanft of Pierstown, who chaired what was then the county IDA when Mathes was brought aboard in January 2014, and veteran board member Jim Salisbury of Otego, announced at today’s board meeting they are leaving the Otsego Now board.

Hanft, the retired J.P. Morgan managing director, was typically diplomatic, thanking his colleagues for “a great seven years,” and adding, “We always said this thing is a marathon, and it is.”

But Salisbury, a retired banker, was blunt.  “I’m done with this organization. ’Bye.”  And he walked out.

New board member Cheryl Robinson, who chaired the board’s recently formed Reorganization Committee that proposed replacing Mathes with a full-time executive, moved to abolish the committee, which is “at the end of its charter,” she said.

Otsego Now Committee Goal: Full-Time CEO

Otsego Now Committee

Goal: Full-Time CEO

Hanft: Provision Will Blunt Momentum
Otsego Now chair Devin Morgan, left, and board members Rick Hulse, center, and Craig Gelbsman after voting aye on the committee minutes at Thursday’s meeting. ( photo)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – The Otsego Now board of directors, at its monthly meeting Thursday, approved minutes of its new Reorganization Committee that includes among the committee’s goals: “engage in a search and hire a full-time CEO.”

The 2-5 vote came over the objections of board member Bob Hanft, immediate past chairman.  He said including that line in the Reorganization Committee’s 11 “duties and responsibilities” will only serve to slow Otsego Now’s current momentum.  “I think it does more harm than good.”

Hanft said the committee had been directed to come up with a plan for the future, and that taking on the mandate of seeking a new CEO should come only after a plan is developed and approved.  “I think that’s line should be stricken,” he said.

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