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News of Otsego County

open government

If You Want Public Office, You Ought To Say Why Publically
Editorial

If You Want Public Office,

You Ought To Say Why Publicly

The county board’s Administration Committee set a poor precedent in deciding to interview candidates for state Sen.-elect Peter Oberacker’s District 6 seat in “executive session” – that is, in secret, out of the public view.

The county attorney, Ellen Coccoma, last week advised the Admin Committee when it interviewed the Republican candidate, Jennifer Mickle, that whether to do so in public or not was optional, up to the reps. To close the door instead of opening it was the wrong way to go.

It was bi-partisan poor judgment, too.

At this past Monday’s Admin meeting to interview the Democratic nominee, Diane Addesso, at least county Rep. Adrienne Martini, D-Oneonta, questioned if darkness should trump light.

Then she said, oh, never mind.

Admin Committee chair Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, made the motion, and Republicans Ed Frazier and Keith McCarty, and Democrat Andrew Marietta, as well as Martini, went along.

If Mickle, Addesso and Libertarian Andrew Hamill ran for the seat, they would have had to answer questions in public from the public. Why should they get a free ride into Oberacker’s seat without having to tell the public in this limited manner why they want the job and what they would do with it?

After all, when crowned by their fellow representatives, Mickle, Addesso or Hamill would be participating in votes that will have an impact on all of us living in Otsego County.

When this sorry process is over, soul-searching is warranted by all county reps.

The state Committee on Open Government is available to conduct a training session for the board, but it’s as much a question of attitude: Does county government belong to everyone, or to them alone?

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