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News of Otsego County

Kathy Clark

Cathy Nardi Announces Run For County Board

Cathy Nardi Announces

Run For County Board

Nardi

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.

Jail Sprinkler System Faulty, Sheriff Reports

Jail Sprinkler System

Faulty, Sheriff Reports

But Repairs May Not Happen Until 2018

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. reports on challenges at the county jail to the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee this morning. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.”

Inquiry Into Sheriff Resumes Tomorrow

Inquiry Into Sheriff

Resumes Tomorrow

Will County Board Chair Clark Sit In?

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Chairman Clark

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.

Clark’s Husband Sheriff Prospect?
Republished From This Week’s Editions
Of Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta

Clark’s Husband

Sheriff Prospect?

Devlin: She Should Recuse Self

In The Investigation Of My Son

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County board chair Kathy Clark and her husband Bob Fernandez. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

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.

A contact to Clark and Fernandez went unanswered.

FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S PRINT EDITION
ON NEWSSTANDS AROUND OTSEGO COUNTY
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)
Can Board Chair Name Her Committee Chairs?

Can County Board Chair

Name Committee Chairs?

Or Must Committees Pick Own Leadership?

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – As the 2017 committees of the county Board of Representatives began meeting this week, a wrinkle surfaced.

The question: Does county Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego – or any county board chair – have the authority to appoint committee chairs, as has been her practice and that of her predecessors?

Just in case, members of at least one and perhaps two made motions to vote for their committee chairs.

Clark Removes Carson From Key Committees

Clark Removes Carson

From Key Committees

Reps. Clark and Carson at recent meeting. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Elections DO have consequences.

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.

CLARK RULES! (AT LEAST IN ’17)

CLARK RULES!

(AT LEAST IN ’17)

Chair Turns Back Challenge,

But Colleagues Are Divided

A smiling Kathy Clark retakes the chair this morning after a split vote reelected her to lead the county board for another years. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Four-year Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, was elected to another year on the helm of the county Board of Representatives, but it was ugly.

She ended up with 3,341 weighted votes, comfortably above the 3,115 majority, but hardly a landslide.

Three of the eight Republicans on the board didn’t vote for her:  her challenger, Len Carson, Oneonta, voted nay, and Peter Oberacker, Maryland, and David Bliss, Cooperstown/Middlefield, abstained.

FURIOUS LOBBYING FOR CHAIRMANSHIP

FURIOUS LOBBYING

FOR CHAIRMANSHIP

Some Say Rep. Powers Shifts To Clark;

Others, Outcome Still Too Close To Call

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Len Carson
Kathy Clark

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.”

After Debate, Chair’s Appointment Approved

After Debate, Chair’s

Appointment Approved

But Changes Coming, Marietta Predicts

County Rep. Marietta, right, speaks in favor of a more formal process in selecting appointees to Otsego Now's and other boards. Rep. Carson looks back at Marietta. On the rostrum are, from left, Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern, Board Chair Clark and County Attorney Coccoma. (Jim Kevliin/AllOTSEGO.com)
County Representative Marietta, right, speaks in favor of a more formal process in selecting appointees to Otsego Now’s and other boards. Representative Carson looks back at Marietta. On the rostrum are, from left, Clerk of the Board Carol McGovern, Board Chair Clark and County Attorney Coccoma. (Jim Kevliin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

county-logoCOOPERSTOWN – 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.

Block Clark, Delay Making Otsego Now Appointments

AllOTSEGO.com EDITORIAL

Block Clark, Delay Making

Otsego Now Appointments

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.

Stop Kathy Clark from blunting economic-development efforts.
Stop Kathy Clark from blunting economic-development efforts.

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.

 

New Purchasing System Fails To Deliver Road Salt In Time
COUNTY REPS MEET ON MATTER

New Purchasing System Fails

To Deliver Road Salt In Time

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

county-logoCOOPERSTOWN – 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.

GOP Majority Backs Chair’s IDA Nominee

GOP Majority Backs

Chair’s IDA Nominee

Otsego Now Opponent Rick Hulse

 Will Serve On Otsego Now Board

County Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, said the Otsego Now board needs more oversight. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
County Board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, said the Otsego Now board needs more oversight. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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.

Frazier, Stammel Contacted By Powers In Bid For Chair

Frazier, Stammel Contacted

By Powers In Bid For Chair

Jim Powers
Jim Powers

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.

Powers, who challenged Clark for the chairmanship last January, is trying again this year.

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