OTEGO – SUNY Oneonta professor Cathy Nardi has announced her intention to run for the District 3 seat on the Otsego County Board, challenging board chair Kathy Clark.
“I want to be the voice of reason in a climate of chaos,” she said.
Nardi, an Otego resident, would be representing Laurens and Otego. Her platform includes environmental issues, access to education and economic development, including developing tourism in her district, to help fight poverty.
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.”
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.
COOPERSTOWN – It seems county board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, may be playing two roles in the investigation of county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.
►One, an inquisitor, participating in the March 9 meeting of the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee, which is investigating whether the sheriff’s son, Sgt. Ros Devlin, received special treatment following a “workplace violence incident” Jan. 9 at the county jail.
►Two, as spouse to the man who may be a challenger to Devlin in the 2018 sheriff’s election, Bob Fernandez, Clark’s husband and a recently retired state trooper.
Asked about the talk in political circles, Richard Abbate, chairman of the Democratic County Committee, said he was approached two times in recent months by Democrats sounding him out on whether the committee would cross-endorse Fernandez, a Republican, in next year’s race.
Abbate said he didn’t know of the Democrats who approached him were actually doing so at Clark or Fernandez’ request, but “if that’s the case, she should recuse herself” from the Devlin investigation.
County Rep. Len Carson, R-Oneonta, who fell short in his attempt yesterday to replace Kathy Clark, R-Otego, as chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, lost his committee chairmanship and was removed from the board’s two key committees.
As board chair, Clark appoints the committees at the county board’s annual reorganization meeting.
COOPERSTOWN – Furious lobbying is underway this evening as support for the next chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives sea-saws between incumbent Kathy Clark, R-Otego, and Len Carson, R-Oneonta.
Word was circulating that county Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Clark last year, had just this evening agreed to support her this time around, and that might be sufficient to shift the balance. However, others said the outcome is still too close to call.
Yesterday, Powers said Clark had not asked him for his support and he thus leaned toward Carson. However, when he was asked a few minutes ago if he’d changed his mind, he replied, “No comment,” adding: “We’ll go to caucus tomorrow and see what comes out of that.”
COOPERSTOWN – There was lively debate in open session about the process of choosing new Otsego Now board members.
But, after a 20-minute executive session called by board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, county reps at today’s special meeting voted unanimously to confirm Cheryl Robinson, the NYCM vice president, to the board of the economic-development agency.
She will succeed the Richfield Springs architect, Jim Jordan, who resigned.
Clark and county reps interviewed after the vote said the issue at hand was the process, not the individual, who as a senior executive in one of the county’s largest enterprises is clearly qualified to serve on the board. The process can be handled later and separately, they said.
You may remember a year ago, when Kathy Clark, R-Otego, Otsego County Board of Representatives’ chair, forced through the appointment of a favorite, Rick Hulse, who had been defeated for election a couple of months before, to the Otsego Now board of directors.
She forced party discipline on newly elected Republicans – Meg Kennedy, David Bliss, Len Carson, Meg Kennedy, Peter Oberacker and Dan Wilber – who bristled at being told to shut up and tow the line at their first meeting. At the time, she promised the next nomination would be more transparent, the product of more consultation.
And yet, last Wednesday, she popped a nominee for the vacancy created by Jim Jordan’s resignation onto the agenda at the last minute, withdrawing it only when her majority again bristled that this violated her earlier pledge.
But it’s not over yet. Word is the chair plans to try to foist not one, but two appointments to the Otsego Now board on her colleagues at a special meeting scheduled for noon this coming Wednesday. One would replace Jordan, the Richfield Springs architect, and the other Joe Bernier, the City of Oneonta’s retired community development director.
Whoa, whoa. There’s no rush.
The newcomers, plus the veterans who know better, shouldn’t fold again. They should delay the appointments until after the county board reorganizes in early January.
COOPERSTOWN – After town garages failed to get road-salt orders in time for the Thanksgiving Weekend snowstorms, the county Board of Representatives is meeting as a “committee of the whole” at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday to ensure its new purchasing agreement with Onondaga County is working satisfactorily.
“When you start something new, there are always a couple of glitches,” said county Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, who chairs the county board’s Public Works Committee.
COOPERSTOWN – Rick Hulse, who had been at odds with the Otsego Now board during his one term as a county board representative, today was appointed by the county board to represent it on the Otsego Now board.
“I have serious concern about oversight they have been receiving in recent years,” said county Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, who championed Hulse’s appointment.
The weighted vote was 4,125-2,100, with all four Democratic reps, plus Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, voting nay.
In explaining her choice to her colleagues, Clark apologized for the last-minute nature of his nomination – it only surfaced yesterday afternoon – saying she had been trying to identify a woman willing to serve on the all-male board.
COOPERSTOWN – Two more county representatives said they have been contacted by Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, seeking their support in his bid to bump Kathy Clark, R-Otego, from the chairmanship of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
The board’s vice chair, Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, said he received an e-mail from Powers, but advised him he will be supporting Clark.
Incoming county Rep. Andrew Stammel, D-Town of Oneonta, said he had heard from Clark two weeks ago and from Powers over the weekend, and is waiting to see how the meeting goes on Wednesday.