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.”
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.
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/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – The county Democratic Party chair this morning issued a statement confirming that Republican Bob Fernandez has indeed been endorsed by the Democratic county committee in this Tuesday’s election.
The new chair, Aimee Swann, said there has been some confusion in this regard.
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.
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.
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?”
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.