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News of Otsego County

Oneonta Mayor

Carson, Gelbsman Both Intend To Run For Oneonta Mayor

MAYOR HERZIG REVIEW TERM

Carson, Gelbsman

Both Intend To Run

For Oneonta Mayor

2 Republicans Would Primary On 6/22;

So Far, Mark Drnek Is Sole Democrat

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Craig Gelbsman
Len Carson

ONEONTA – Republicans Len Carson and Craig Gelbsman confirmed today they intended to run for mayor to succeed incumbent Gary Herzig, a Democrat, at the end of the year.

If both candidates continue, it would ensure a Republican candidate June 22.  A primary may also be shaping up on the Democratic side.

Common Council member Mark Drnek announced Wednesday he is running for mayor as a Democrat.  Republicans said they’ve heard of a second Democratic possibility, which would cause a primary for that party as well.

Herzig To Retire

Herzig To Retire

Despite COVID-19, Much Let To Do,
Mayor’s Decision Firm: It’s Time To Go

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

With would-be successors able to circulate petitions in the next few days, six-year Mayor Gary Herzig Tuesday, Feb. 23, announced what many expected and others anticipated with regret: He will retire when his term ends on Dec. 31, 2021.

“During the past six years, by working together, the people of Oneonta have achieved remarkable progress,” he said in a statement, “in developing new housing options, supporting our local businesses, and strengthening our infrastructure while continuously improving upon our high quality of life.

“Even an unprecedented pandemic was not able to slow us down,” he said.

He vowed to spend his final “10 months working harder than ever” on opportunities that “will certainly present themselves in the post-COVID world.”

The political community was prepared for the announcement, with Common Council member Luke Murphy, in charge of the Democratic campaign, saying he expects a candidate, perhaps a woman, will announce by the end of the week.

America IS Great
Editorial

America IS Great

Over Three Generations, Oneonta’s Naders Prove It

Jaunty Sam Nader, seen here in his heyday, was a great American.

With the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the summer-long riots following George Floyd’s death and debates over race relations, we can forget: We live in a great country, where ambition and hard work are almost assuredly rewarded.

A case in point – a life in point – is Sam Nader, the respected and beloved former mayor of Oneonta, who passed away Tuesday, Feb. 9, at age 101.

When Sam Nader was born in 1919 in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward, you might have thought his prospects were limited.

His parents, Elias and Rose, had married in the old country in 1907, and had come to America in hopes of a better life. He joined the Delaware & Hudson in 1911 as a stationary fireman, tending the fire that heated the boiler and created the steam to power the steam engine – hot, dirty work.

But young Sam’s boyhood in “the Beehive,” a six-apartment house on West Broadway, next to the busy, noisy D&H yards, didn’t weigh him down. Quite the opposite.

It launched a life of joys and accomplishment (and, of course, some tragedy, too), as he related in an anecdote-filled interview on his 100th birthday in his living room at 96 River St., when he spoke:

Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution
ALBERT ‘SAM’ NADER • 1919-2021

Baseball, Politics, Community

Defined His Contribution

The Nader family chose this photo of their patriarch, Sam Nader, with Damaschke Field, home of his Oneonta Yankees, in the background.

Editor’s Note: Here is the obituary prepared by Sam Nader’s family.

Albert S. “Sam” Nader passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at his home as he wished, surrounded by members of his family.

He was born on July 8, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Elias Andrew Nader and Rose Rajah Nader (Nassar). He was one of six Nader children. Sam Nader spent nearly his entire life in Oneonta. He was a proud lifelong resident of the 6th Ward and became an integral member of the community.

He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1938, where he excelled as a lefthanded pitcher. Mr. Nader attended Bates College and later Hartwick College and played baseball at both institutions.

As World War II approached, Mr. Nader began working for the Scintilla Magneto division of the Bendix Corp. in Sidney.

The Wisdom Of Sam Nader

The Wisdom Of Sam Nader

Emerging From Depression, World War II, Ex-Mayor’s
Generation Focused On Family, Hard Work, Community

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

One of Sam Nader’s favorite photos records Don Mattingly Day at Yankee Stadium in 1995, when George Steinbrenner called the owner of the Oneonta Yankees onto the field to receive the fans’ accolades for his contributions to baseball.

At the time Sam Nader’s Oneonta Athletic Association was affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, the MLB team allocated a certain number of baseballs per season to its Minor League teams.

Anything over was a local team’s responsibility.

At the end of the Oneonta Tigers first season, Sam Nader tallied baseballs used, and mailed a check.

The phone rang. It was Detroit. “What’s this for?” he was asked.

“That’s our share for the baseballs,” Sam replied.

“I’m sending the check back,” said the nonplussed accountant. “None of our teams ever paid anything like that.”

Honesty.

That, according to his son John, was one of the cornerstones of the Wisdom of Sam Nader, the former mayor and Oneonta Yankees owner who passed away Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 101, in his home at 96 River St. in his beloved Sixth Ward.

While his son John, 7, looks on in awe, Sam Nader is sworn in as mayor of Oneonta in January 1962.

Sterling Legacy Suggest: Are City Managers Needed

EDITORIAL

Sterling Mayor’ Legacy Suggest:

Are City Managers Needed?

Maybe it’s apocryphal, but the story’s told of a former mayor of Oneonta who, elected decades ago, discovered some department heads were taking hour-and-a-half lunches to work out at a local gym.

The mayor gave everybody raises, at the same time advising the department heads: Game over, be back at your desks in an hour.

That worked for six months, then the particular department heads starting slipping, the story goes, and soon things were back to how they’d been at the outset.

If true, that underscores the need for a boss, on site, every day at City Hall – and at every other business, for that matter. The buck needs to stop somewhere.

That said, the City of Oneonta’s experience with the current city-manager system of government – next year it will be in place a decade – just hasn’t worked out as hoped.

So that Mayor Gary Herzig is again suggesting revisiting how City Hall governs itself – and
it’s effectiveness in general – is worthwhile, and timely.

The idea of an executive director, implementing mayoral and Common Council policies, makes sense. Pairing that job with, for instance, finance director (or the most apt department head) makes further sense.

As it happens, the third city manager in a decade, George Korthauer, retired last February, just a month before COVID-19 arrived, requiring extraordinary leadership, which Herzig provided – to no one’s surprise, really, given his almost four-year track record.

It’s the Curse of Competence – a job expands to the talents of the person holding it. (Or shrinks.) Even a city charter like Oneonta’s, calling for a “weak mayor” form of government, can’t keep a good person down.

Meanwhile, the Village of Cooperstown also professionalized its government, creating a village
administrator, but leaving the elected mayor and board of trustees assisted, but fully in charge.

Over the years, City Hall has been blessed with many such good persons. Or maybe it’s an Oneonta thing; the city is welcoming to newcomers and comfortable for natives.

There never seems to be a shortage of qualified people, wanting to give back.

It’s not just Herzig; there’s been a succession of capable mayors.

The mourned Dick Miller, a former corporate executive and Hartwick College president; John Nader, now SUNY Farmingdale president; Kim Muller, a SUNY administrator; the venerable David Brenner, a SUNY associate vice president and author, who also chaired the county Board of Representatives.

The trail of talent goes back to the 1960s, when Sam Nader, now 101, set the mold, gaining a statewide reputation for acumen, and bringing a New York Yankees farm team to Damaschke Field.

It can’t be an accident.

By contrast, the three city managers to date just didn’t catch fire. Mayor Herzig is right in concluding it’s time to at least review, and perhaps rethink, a well-intended undertaking that fell short of its goal.

Putting artificial limitations on talented local people, smart, experienced, ambitious about their native or adopted community, must be a mistake.

One caveat: The current city charter was a hard sell, but – in the end – the deal was clinched. On Nov. 7, 2010, 76.08 percent of voters approved it, 1,177 cast aye ballots to the nays’ 370.

A new charter revision effort must earn credibility. The new document must be likewise sold to the public, as the last one was. If it indeed corrects flaws in the 2011 document – as it can and should – that shouldn’t be a heavy lift.

If it includes major changes, Oneonta citizens must be convinced they are indeed improvements. Then, put to a vote, the revised charter passed, and establish a firm foundation for a future that may very well be better guided by leading citizens.

Mayor, DRI Could Finally Bloom In ‘19

City of The Hills

Mayor, DRI Could

Finally Bloom In ‘19

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig had plenty to smile about as he laid out Oneonta’s 2019 plans at the State of The State breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. ONEONTA

ONEONTA – In 60 days, Mayor Gary Herzig said, the new Main Street plans will be revealed.

“This redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners whohave submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements,” he said.

Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego Chamber.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUG. 9

Past, Present, Future

Of Downtown Oneonta

14-19eventspage

DRI WALKING TOUR – 7 p.m. Explore Main and Market Street areas covered by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative with Mayor Gary Herzig and the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. Learn about the Past, Present, and Future of Downtown Oneonta. Call (607)432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org

THEATER – 7 p.m. The Glimmer Globe Theater presents William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call (607) 547-1492 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/A-Midsummer-Nights-Dream

Hartwick Naming Complex For President, Mayor Miller
DEDICATION MONDAY AT BINDER

Hartwick Naming Complex

For President, Mayor Miller

Dick Miller was Hartwick College president and Oneonta mayor. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Dick Miller was Hartwick College president and Oneonta mayor. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Hartwick College will dedicate the new men’s locker room complex at the Binder Phys-Ed Center at 6 p.m. Monday in honor of Richard P. Miller, former Oneonta mayor and college president.

A 5:30 reception will precede the dedication; tours of the Dick Miller Locker Room Complex will follow.

The refurbished complex on the Binder’s third floor includes brand new lockers, showers and shower partitions, lights and light fixtures, paint, wall tile, and a 10-by-25-foot wall mural highlighting Hartwick men’s athletics.

IN MEMORIAM: Jim Georgeson, 95; Former Mayor, Civic Leader In City

IN MEMORIAM:  Jim Georgeson, 95;

Former Oneonta Mayor, Civic Leader

JAMES N. GEORGESON
JAMES N. GEORGESON

ONEONTA – One of Oneonta’s foremost citizens, James Nicholas Georgeson, 95, a former mayor, businessman and SUNY Oneonta official, passed away Wednesday at Focus Otsego Manor.

In recent years, he lived in Oneonta and Green Valley, Ariz.

Jim was born Oct. 4, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Christina Vlahos and Nicholas Georgeson, both natives of Greece. He married Charlotte Lunn of Oneonta in 1951.

Jim was a lifetime resident of Oneonta except for his teenage years, when he lived in Norwich. After graduating from Norwich High School in 1937, he attended State Teachers College (now SUNY Oneonta) and then Hartwick College.

His formal education was interrupted by World War II:  In February 1942, he entered the Army Air Corps. Jim spent four years stationed at Tyndall Field in Panama City, Fla., where he served as supervising officer of 80 aerial gunnery instructors. Following his discharge from active duty in 1946, Jim remained in the Air Force Reserve for 23 years, retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1969.

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