News of Otsego County

Teri Barown

TILLAPAUGH: Administrator Barown Excelled

Administrator Barown Excelled

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch presents Teri Barown with a plaque. (Jim Kevlin/

Editor’s Note: Here are Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s remarks at a Sunday, Nov. 1, reception honoring retiring Village Administrator Teri Barown on the veranda at 22 Main.

That we are going to miss Teri Barown’s institutional knowledge, competent expertise and efficiency is a given. In my nine years as an elected official, Teri’s leadership abilities were always apparent and so very valued.

Village officials, residents and visitors have all benefited from her professional and skillful handling of village administration. She could keep the day-to-day operations of this Village flowing smoothly and, at the same time, was willing to take on new tasks, learn new skills and accept new challenges.

And she always did it calmly and impartially – though as all of us who worked with her know and at times witnessed, she never has suffered fools gladly. And as (former Mayor Jeff Katz) and I often remarked, she doesn’t necessarily have a poker face – if we headed off in what she perceived as the wrong direction – she didn’t have to say anything – we knew.

Without a doubt this year has had its trials – including a March village election delayed three times and then for the first time, a tie vote, necessitating a runoff election. But as a fine example of Teri’s competency – representatives from both parties recognized and voiced appreciation for Teri’s impartial and informed handling of the election.

I know I personally will miss her not only as a trusted and knowledgeable Village Administrator but also as a friend. And as a friend I totally understand and respect her decision to retire and enjoy, what this pandemic has highlighted – the importance of family. The Village’s loss is her children’s and grandchild-ren’s gain – Blake, Olivia and Rhyder – have won the lottery and are blessed to have a loving and in-charge grandmother caring for them.

Teri your Colleagues and Community wish you a long and joy filled retirement – filled with family, travels and many celebrations. Thank you sincerely for 15 years of dedicated service to our hometown Village.

And finally – a special gift, selected and paid for by the entire Village Board – a gift representing how very much we respect and value you – and how very much you have meant to not only each of us, but all the Village of Cooperstown itself. We are fortunate that Jim Dean made this gift possible,

So Teri – lift the drape – I will then read the info and Dedication Label.

The original image of this bird’s-eye image of Cooperstown, was drawn by hand, and printed with stone lithography, in Troy, by Lucian R. Burleigh in 1890. This is an archival, enhanced view of that original image provided by Jim’s company, New York Archival Prints, here in Cooperstown.

Here is the dedication label::
“To Cooperstown Village Clerk and Administrator Teri L. Barown, upon the occasion of your retirement. Your 15 years of outstanding service to the Village of Cooperstown as Village Clerk and Administrator, are very appreciated by our community and its elected officials.

“From the Village Board of Trustees with our best wishes. November 1, 2020.”

In the long history of Cooperstown commemorated by this 19th-century Village map, your 15-year tenure as Village Clerk and Administrator represents a standard of distinguished, diligent, and loyal public service that is an example to Village officials, employees, and community members. On behalf of all of us, thank you.

Village Gives Thanks To Retiring Barown

Village Gives Thanks

To Retiring Barown

Mayor Praises Her Institutional

Knowledge, Efficiency, Expertise

A tearful Teri Barown – she retired Friday after 15 years as village clerk, then village administrator – was joined at this afternoon’s farewell ceremony on 22 Main’s pillared veranda by daughters Julie, center, and Nicole, and son Matt. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch presents Teri Barown with a plaque “from a grateful Cooperstown community.”

COOPERSTOWN – Despite the rain, they came to praise her:  Teri Barown, village administrator for the past five years and village clerk for 10 before that.

“Teri’s leadership abilities were always apparent and so very valued,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, who also emceed the ceremony.  “…All have benefited from her professional and skillful handling of village administration.

“She could keep the day-to-day operations of this village flowing smoothly and, at the same time, was willing to take on new tasks, learn new skills and accept new challenges,” the mayor said.  “And she always did it calmly and impartially.”

Barown’s Successor Recruited

Teri Barown’s Successor

Recruited In Former Clerk

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


COOPERSTOWN —Jenna Utter was worried.

She had three children at home – Lucas, 10, Dawson, 6 and Leah, 5 – and had lost her job as a paralegal in County Attorney Ellen Coccoma’s office after working for the county – in various roles – since 2012.

Then, she saw that the Village of Cooperstown was seeking a deputy treasurer. “It was local and I wouldn’t have to travel,” she said.

She interviewed, but after Village Administrator – and, before that, longtime Village Clerk – Teri Barown announced her retirement in late September — she was asked back for a second interview.

Monday, Oct. 26, Village Board voted unanimously to appoint Utter to succeed Barown.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said.

Utter is a 2003 Edmeston High School graduate, where she was active with National Honor Society, basketball and soccer, and theater. “I’ve lived here my whole 35 years,” she said.

She got her B.A. in Child and Family Studies from SUNY Oneonta in 2007, interning with both Opportunities for Otsego and Catholic Charities.

She used her degree, working for the Department of Social Services in the legal department, where she discovered she enjoyed paralegal work. In 2014, that vaulted her to working for as a deputy clerk to Clerk of the County Board Carol McGovern.

“I learned that I enjoy taking minutes and making agendas,” she said. “I love the politics of it. But mostly, I enjoy working with people.”

Her husband, Kevin, has worked for the county Highway Department for 14 years.

After five years, she took a position in 2019 as a legal secretary for District Attorney John Muehl, and then, when Coccoma needed a paralegal, moved over in March.

But it was short-lived, and with COVID-19 bearing down on the county, she was among the 59 county employees laid off in June, just three months after she started.

“I’ve always worked,” she said. “I was so worried. And we were on a tight budget.”

She interviewed for the position and was hired a week later.

“Jenna came with high recommendations,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.

For now, she will hold the position of village clerk, as did Barown from 2005 to 2015, when she was promoted to village administrator.

Barown is retiring this Friday, Oct. 30. She was present at the trustees Monday meeting, and received a standing ovation.

“It’s impossible to replace you,” said Tillapaugh.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with everyone,” said Barown.

A reception for Barown is planned Sunday, Nov. 1, with remarks from speakers, including former Mayor Jeff Katz, on the front lawn of Village Hall, 22 Main St., to allow for social distancing.

Though Utter’s start date is to be determined, Tillapaugh says that she will “shadow” Barown this week to get a feel for Village Hall.

“Some things were just meant to happen,” said Utter.


Former Deputy Clerk Named To Succeed Barown

Former Clerk Named

To Succeed Barown

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Jenna Utter

COOPERSTOWN – Jenna Utter, former deputy to  Clerk of the County Board Carol McGovern, has been tapped to succeed Village Administrator Teri Barown as Village Clerk, following a unanimous vote by the Cooperstown Village Trustees at their meeting this evening.

Utter, a former assistant to County Board Clerk Carol McGovern “came with high recommendations,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.

For now, she will hold the position of village clerk, as did Barown from 2005 to 2015, when she was promoted to village administrator.

Reception Planned For Retiring Village Administrator


Reception Planned For

Village Administrator

Teri Barown

COOPERSTOWN – Retiring Village Administrator Teri Barown will be honored with a community reception on Sunday, Nov. 1, on the front lawn of Village Hall, 22 Main St.

Barown, who has served as village clerk from 2005 to 2015 and as administrator from 2015 to 2020, is retiring Oct. 30. The reception, with social distancing and masks required, will be held 1-2:30 p.m., with remarks and presentations starting at 1:30 p.m.

Barown Set Standard For County Municipalities

Barown Set Standard

For County Municipalities

With Teri Barown, the Village of Cooperstown got professional management right.

In 11 years as village clerk, Barown earned the confidence of numerous village boards, of Democratic and Republican trustees alike.

When the Katz Administration launched a $10 million redevelopment of the downtown – the Tillapaugh Administration continued it – it soon became clear grantsmanship was too time-consuming for an unpaid part-time board.

With NYCOM’s blessing, Barown was promoted from clerk to administrator. A busy, drama-free, five-year period of accomplishment followed.

Just before Teri was promoted, the City of Oneonta lost its first city administrator. Over the next four years, it lost two more.

So what lessons might be drawn from Teri Barown’s successful tenure?

• One, she was a known quality.

No surprises, and that lesson’s been learned. Looking toward a new Oneonta city manager, City Personnel Director Katie Böttger’s and City Engineer Greg Mattice’s names have been mentioned. At the county, Treasurer Allen Ruffles is in play.

• Two, flexibility in hiring matters.

In addition to having a gem already on staff, the Village Board saved tens of thousands of dollars by promoting Barown and giving her a raise from $55,000 to $70,000 (with incremental bumps since then.) Common Council has paid well over $110,000 and up just to start. Teri didn’t have an MPA, as required in Oneonta’s City Charter; but she got things done.

• Three, she respects (and likes) people.

Asked what advice she has for her successor, she said “maintain an openness.” To trustees, she said, “Hire someone who can handle the duties, and work with the staff that’s here. We have excellent staff here.”

She called village clerk and, then, administrator, “dream jobs,” where she could serve a community of people she had known since girlhood.

• She was a good employee, excellent really.

Former Mayor Jeff Katz said: “She cared, but it was more than that. She’s emotionally invested in her job and the wellbeing of the village. Whatever was thrown her way, she
did it gladly and she did it well. She’s tenacious that way.”

That’s an employee everybody wants.

• She could handle politics.

While she was administrator, the Village Boards contained all Democrats. ‘Nuff said. Politics connects people with government; don’t cut that connection.

County board chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, have been coming to similar conclusions.

In effect, hire the right person – someone with commitment, experience and people skills –
and let them do their job.

Village Administrator Teri Barown Retires

Village Administrator

Teri Barown Retires

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Teri Barown

COOPERSTOWN – In 2016, administering a half-dozen major state and federal grants at the same time, Cooperstown’s part-time, unpaid village trustees concluded they needed more administrative firepower at 22 Main.

A Village Board committee – Mayor Jeff Katz and Trustees (now mayor) Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Lou Allstadt – invited a team from NYCOM, the New York Conference of Mayors, to assess operations.

When NYCOM recommended creating the village-administrator job, there was a roadblock.

“We can’t afford a new salary,” Katz recalled telling the team.

“You don’t have to,” came the reply. “You’ve got that person”: 11-year Village Clerk Teri Barown. “Give her the title.

Give her a raise commensurate to the title” – at the time, from $55,000 to $70,000.

And that was it.

“Whatever success we had when I was mayor couldn’t have been done without Teri,” Katz continued. “She was crucial to it all. It was one thing to get the money; another to administer the grant.”

But all good things must come to an end.

Monday, Oct. 5, village trustees accepted Teri Barown’s retirement letter: She plans to care for two grandchildren – son Mike’s Blake, 8, and Olivia, 6, whose parents are strapped for childcare in time of COVID-19.

“She made herself absolutely essential to our village operations,” Tillapaugh said in announcing the news at the Village Board’s organizational meeting.

The trustees decided to advertise the village clerk position – Barown continued to fulfill those responsibilities – and reassign duties until a way forward becomes clear.

Barown obtained her “dream job” in 2005 when she was hired as village clerk, and village-administrator job was even better, she said on her promotion in 2016.

A native of Cooperstown, Barown is a 1979 CCS graduate.

She attended Herkimer Community College to become a paralegal, then studied business administration at Utica School of Commerce’s Oneonta campus.

She worked in the late Attorney Lynn Green’s offices on Main Street for eight years, then spent 12 years in Otsego County government as assistant county personnel officer. She joined the village after three years as NYSHA (now Fenimore Museum) membership manager, and four as Laurens Central School
district clerk.

Son Mike, Town of Maryland, works for Norfolk Southern out of Hartwick. Teri also has two daughters, Julie, on maternity leave with 5-week-old Rhyder from L.M. Townsend Catering, Cooperstown. And Nicole, who is single and working at Bassett Hospital’s accounting department.

Looking ahead, Barown hopes to travel at some point, maybe to Ireland. “I’d love to get back to Hawaii,” where Julie was married.

For a while, Barown has been the longest-serving municipal administrator in Otsego County. The City of Oneonta, the only other community with professional management, has had three administrators since 2012.

Barown was actually the village’s fourth administrator, after Village Clerk Doug Walrath was promoted to administrator in 1990. He was succeeded by Dick Linn, who served two years, and was succeeded by Trustee Giles Russell, an unpaid volunteer. When Russell stepped aside in 1995, the position was vacant
for 20 years.

Why did Barown succeed? “She’s a super-hard worker,” Katz said.

“She cared,” he continued. “But it was more than that. She’s emotionally invested in her job and the wellbeing of the village. Whatever was thrown her way, she did it gladly and she did it well. She’s tenacious that way.”

Add as single mom she raised three children and got them through college, he remembered telling her once, “You’re like a hero.”

Village Offices Remain Closed; DPW Work Force At 50 Percent

Village Offices Remain Closed;

DPW Work Force At 50 Percent

COOPERSTOWN – The Village of Cooperstown will be alternating its Water, Sewer and Streets department staff –  with one half off one week, the second half the next week, through April 15 – due to the Governor Cuomo’s extension of his March 16 emergency order, Village Administrator Teri Barown announced today.

Additionally, the Village Office remains closed to the public, except by appointment 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.  For an appointment, call 547-2411 during office hours, or email

Barown Named Village Manager

Barown Named

Village Manager

Cooperstown Village Clerk Teri Barown has been promoted to village administrator.  (Jim Kevlin/
Cooperstown Village Clerk Teri Barown has been promoted to village administrator. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – Teri Barown, Cooperstown village clerk since 2005, has been appointed village administrator, the first person to fill that position in two decades.


The Village Board made the decision Monday evening, which – given the city manager vacancy in Oneonta City Hall – makes her the sole professional municipal manager in Otsego County.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103