News of Otsego County

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

Sheriff Devlin

Fleeing Suspect’s Head-On Collision with Deputy Likely Deliberate

Collision Likely

Deliberate, Press

Told At Briefing

Dead Man Followed Woman’s Car

From Cherry Valley To Richfield 

BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, left, and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. brief the press on Tuesday’s fatal collision this afternoon at the Oneonta State Police Barracks. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Heggelke said Matthew All “died from multiple blunt trauma injuries” after his car collided with the sheriff’s department cruiser. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – The 23-year-old killed upon crashing his car head-on into Deputy Sheriff Jim Mateunas’ cruiser in Springfield Center Tuesday afternoon likely did it deliberately,  BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, Troop C, said this afternoon at a joint press conference with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.

Matthew E. All had led state police on a high-speed chase, which ended at the intersection of 20 and 80 when his Buick LaCrosse collided with the sheriff’s 2017 Chevy Tacoma with Mateunas inside.  The impact was so great it sent the cruiser flying at least 200 feet.





Roz Devlin ‘Chose Voluntarily’

To Separate From Department

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – When Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. took his oath of office last Tuesday, a new term began for him, and a new day for his department.

The allegations against his son, Roz Devlin, were resolved with the younger man’s resignation in December from his correctional officer position, county Board Chair David Bliss said today.

Fernandez Concedes, Thanks Supporters


Fernandez Concedes,

Thanks Supporters

He Calls Devlin To Congratulate Him

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

Bob Fernandez on Election Night.

OTEGO – Despite the final outcome, county sheriff candidate Bob Fernandez gave thanks all around for a hard-fought campaign that came to an end yesterday afternoon.

“I was honored to have the chance to run for sheriff in Otsego County and I would like to thank all of the bipartisan support for our campaign,” he said in an e-mail. “I also would like to thank the campaign team itself … (and) the Democratic committee, which allowed me to run on their line.”

Sheriff ‘Very Pleased’ As Results Finalized

Sheriff ‘Very Pleased’

As Results Finalized

A few minutes ago, results from the Otsego County Board of Elections confirmed state Sen. Jim Seward’s Election Night confidence in congratulating County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., on winning a fourth four-year term.  In reaction to this evening’s news that a canvass has confirmed his reelection, Sheriff Devlin said a few moments ago, “We’re very pleased with the outcome.  It’s consistent with what votes were running on Election Night.  We’re pleased with the results and look forward to serving  residents for another four years.”  His opponent, retired state trooper Bob Fernandez, declined to concede Election Night, and a call to him this evening was not immediately returned.  ( photo)
Devlin-Fernandez Final Count Due By Next Friday



Final Count Due

By Next Friday

GOP Chairman: Absentee, Affidavit

Ballots Usually Track Day-Of Tally

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sheriff’s candidate Fernandez, left, is 1,036 votes behind Sheriff Devlin, but won’t concede until absentee and affidavit votes are counted.

COOPERSTOWN – With candidate Bob Fernandez unwilling to concede, the outcome of the Otsego County sheriff’s race will be uncertain until Nov. 16, a week from tomorrow, according to the county Board of Elections.

Lori Lehenbauer, the Republican commissioner, said the canvassing – the tallying of absentee and affidavit ballots – will begin next Wednesday, the 14th, on about 1,500 of the 1,949 absentee ballots sent out and 319 affidavit ballots cast day-of at polling places around Otsego County.






ONEONTA – Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. isn’t waiting for his challenger, Bob Fernandez, to come around.

“We are very confident, we are declaring victory,” the incumbent Devlin declared after Fernandez, a retired state trooper and registered Republican who is running as a Democrat, declined to concede the hard-fought race.





Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., casts his vote in Milford Town Hall in Portlandville this evening, and it was more than enough. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Devlin has defeated retired state trooper Bob Fernandez, 10,392 to 9,356, or 53.54 percent to 47.30. Total ballots cast, 20,452. (Ian Austin/
GOP – And One Democrat Gather For Pancake Feast

GOP, And One Democrat, 

Gather For Pancake Feast

Dave Bliss, Republican chair of the Otsego County Board and a Rotarian, pours coffee for state Sen. – and candidate – Jim Seward, R-Milford, a few minutes ago at the traditional Cooperstown Rotary Club Election Day pancake breakfast at the Vets’ Club. With the senator are, from his left, daughter-in-law of two months Kelly Ann, daughter Lauren, wife Cindy and son Ryan. Seward is being challenged today by Democrat Joyce St. George, Margaretville area. Inset, Democratic kingmaker Richard Sternberg joined the Republican table that includes, at left, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr. and County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner; at right is Republican County Chair Vince Casale, who is also a top adviser to Republican Marc Molinaro’s campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Devlin is being challenged by Republican Bob Fernandez, a retired state trooper who appears on the Democrat line.  Sinnott Gardner is unopposed.  “I like these people,” said Sternberg.   The polls are open across Otsego County until 9 p.m.  (Jim Kevlin/

Bob Fernandez Assertions On WKTV False, DA Says

Bob Fernandez Assertion

On WKTV False, DA Says

Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said assertions by sheriff candidate Bob Fernandez about the Ros Devlin case are false,  according to reports by WKTV Utica last night.  Earlier in the week, NewsChannel 2 reported Fernandez said Muehl told him he had told Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, who is running for reelection, that if he fired his prison guard son, no charges would be brought against the younger man on allegations regarding a threatening incident in the county jail.  Last night, Muehl told the TV station, “I never said anything like that to the sheriff, nor did I ever tell Bob Fernandez that I said anything like that to the sheriff. I take offense because it makes it sound like I was willing to do a favor for the sheriff if he just got rid of his son. So, if you get rid of your son I won’t press charges. That’s not how things work.”    The TV station said Fernandez sticks by his original assertion.







Fernandez Uses Expletive

As Rancorous Debate Ends

Before this evening’s debate began before an SRO crowd in The Fenimore Museum auditorium, Sheriff Devlin, left, and his challenger, Bob Fernandez, stood as far apart from each other as the stage’s size allowed. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

While Devlin maintained a serious demeanor, Fernandez grinned and winked at audience members.

COOPERSTOWN – County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., ended this evening’s rowdy League of Women Voters’ debate in the packed Fenimore Museum Auditorium with a blockbuster.

Having faced criticism from his challenger, retired state trooper Bob Fernandez, on how Devlin handled the case of his prison-guard son, Ros, the sheriff read a letter in which a recently departing deputy exonerated the younger man:

“As I leave for another opportunity, I feel I must clear the air on an alleged incident that occurred on Jan. 5, 2017,” Devlin read from a sheet of paper that bore the signature of a James Raso.  “I was in the room when this incident allegedly occurred.  At no time did Ros Devlin make any statements that have been alleged.”

Asked about the Raso letter as the debate broke up a couple of minutes later, Fernandez answered, “B*** S***.”  He went on to say that the letter could have been extracted under pressure, in exchange for a good reference, and noted it wasn’t given under oath.

EDITORIAL: Sheriff’s Shown He’s Tough, Smart

EDITORIAL: April 20, 2018

Sheriff’s Shown

He’s Tough, Smart

Sheriff Devlin

First, voters should want a county sheriff who’s steady under fire.
Over the past 15 months, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. has proved he is.
With his son Ros, a guard at the county jail, accused in a workplace disturbance and ordered off county property by the county Board of Representatives, Devlin hung tough, arguing he was the target of a
“political witch hunt.”
That didn’t seem completely out of the question when it surfaced that allies of county Board chair Kathy Clark’s husband were sounding out Democrats to see if they would endorse a sheriff’s run by her husband, retiring state trooper Bob Fernandez – first reported in these newspapers in March 2017.
Second, voters should want the county’s top law-enforcement
officer to have a strategic mind.
Now, Sheriff Devlin is showing he does.
With Fernandez challenging him in the Nov. 6 election, Devlin approached the more even-handed county board chairman, David Bliss, who succeeded Kathy Clark, and agreed to resign his son’s fate to an even-handed application of Civil Service law. Going into the fall election with the issue unresolved would have been folly.
This is no endorsement of the incumbent. Bob Fernandez has some baggage, but he does bring an impressive resume and an engaging personality to the race.
Still, Sheriff Devlin has shown resilience under fire and a strategic mind in opening the way to a fair resolution to what must be a personally anguishing situation, qualities anyone would certainly want in the county’s leading law-enforcement officer.

Seward’s Proclamation Raises Profile Of ‘2nd Chance Month’

Seward’s Proclamation Raises

Profile Of ‘2nd Chance Month’

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, presents a state Senate proclamation recognizing “Second Chance Month” to Ameen Aswad, executive director, Jail Ministry of Otsego County Executive Director Ameen Aswad, county Director of Community Services Susan Matt, and county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.  “Once individuals have paid their debt to society, they will be returning to our communities and we all have a stake in their successful reintegration,” Seward said today. “Second Chance Month is an opportunity to recognize and support those who want to make an honest effort at a new life.” Second Chance Month is a national movement aimed at bringing awareness to the stigma and barriers those coming out of prison or jail face.


Sheriff Surrenders Authority Over Son

Sheriff Surrenders

Authority Over Son

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

County Rep. Ed Frazier, foreground, thanks chair David Bliss for breaking the deadlock over the investigation of the sheriff’s prison-guard son. (Jim Kevliin/

COOPERSTOWN – After a 15-month standoff, Ros Devlin’s fate as a correctional officer is now in the hands of the chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

With one abstention and two absences, the county reps voted a few minutes ago to accept Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s proposal to turn over authority for investigating and possibly removing his son from his job to county board Chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego.

In a short discussion, county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, first thanked Bliss for moving matters forward, but he asked the county labor attorney, Matt Ryan, “Does this get us where we need to be?”

Sheriff, Bliss Reach Accord On Devlin Son

Sheriff, Bliss

Reach Accord

On Devlin Son

Medical Examination Agreed Over

Deputy Suspended More Than Year

By JIM KEVLIN  • Special to

Chairman Bliss
Sheriff Devlin

COOPERSTOWN – A breakthrough has been agreed to in the case of county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s son Ros, a correctional officer at the county jail who has been under suspension since January 2017.

The sheriff has agreed to recuse himself under Section 72 of state Civil Service law, which will allow county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, to order a medical examination of the son, Bliss confirmed a few minutes ago.

The examination could determine whether the younger Devlin can return to work, or could open the way for his eventual dismissal.

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