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News of Otsego County

Village Hall

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 www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.”

Pumpkins Aglow At Cooperstown Village Hall

Pumpkins Aglow On

Village Hall’s Steps

Coopertown’s Frank Panzarella’s puts the finishing touches on his “Puking Pumpkin” at 14th annual Pumpkin Glow this evening on the Village Hall steps, organized by the Cooperstown Art Association. The event encourages locals to bring their own jack-o-lanterns to the Village Hall for an evening of treats, ghost stories and a radiant display of pumpkins. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27

Fall Guitar Fest Concert

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GUITAR CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Headline concert of Classical Guitar Fall Festival features The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo performing de Falla, Rossini, Moravec, more. Fine Arts Building, SUNY Oneonta. 607-865-8775 or visit cgsuny.org

CONCERT SERIES – 7:30 p.m. Open 49th Cooperstown Concert series featuring Molly Tuttle, performing distinctly original works. Ballroom, Village Hall, Cooperstown. 607-547-1812 or visit cooperstownconcertseries.org/molly-tuttle-saturday-october-27/

Something To Read By Roaring Fire
50th ANNIVERSARY WINTER CARNIVAL

Something To Read By Roaring Fire

Karen Katz and Dr. Al Kozak of the Friends of the Village Library sort the thousands of tomes at the Cooperstown Winter Carnival Book Sale, underway until 5 p.m. today, and 9-5 Saturday and Sunday, in the boardroom at Village Hall. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
CLICK HERE FOR WINTER CARNIVAL SCHEDULE
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, NOV. 28
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, NOV. 28

Singer Rudy Currence

At SUNY Oneonta Tonight

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To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

CYBER MONDAY!

CONCERT – 9 p.m. Rudy Currance. Hunt Union Waterfront, 108 Ravine Pkwy., Oneonta. Info, activities@oneonta.edu, (607)436-3730, or CLICK HERE.

3D DESIGN – 6 p.m. Create your own holiday themed cookie cutter. Optional 3D printing. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org/3d-printing

PUBLIC HEARING – 7 p.m. Public hearing on Cooperstown Comprehensive Plan. Village Hall, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Copies of the plan can be reviewed at the Village office, cooperstownny.org/residents/

CLICK FOR MORE HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOV. 11
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOV. 11

Art For The Holiday

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Veterans Day.

HOLIDAY ART SHOW & SALE – 5-7 p.m. Holiday gift giving themed exhibit opening. All pieces by member artists. Village Hall, 22 Main St, Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstownart.com or (607)547-9777

THEATER – 7 p.m. “Into the Woods.” High School musical. Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave, Cooperstown. Info, cooperstowncs.org

SEMINAR – 8-10 a.m. “Business Planning.” Registration required. Cost: $35. Otsego Co. Chamber of Commerce session meets at Northern Eagle Beverages conference room, 41 Browne St., Oneonta. Kelly Decker, (607) 432-4500, Ext. 207, kelly@otsegocc.com, otsegocc.com.

Shiny, Refinished Locks, Fittings Adorn Village Hall’s Front Door

Shiny, Refinished Locks, Fittings

Adorn Village Hall’s Front Door

Bill Rigby of Historic American Hardware, Cooperstown, installs the shiny refurbished original hardware on the front doors of Cooperstown’s Village Hall, as upgrades to the front (south side) of 22 Main near an end. The architect-designed heavy wood front doors were installed at the time of the building’s construction in 1899. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Bill Rigby of Historic American Hardware, Cooperstown, installs the shiny refurbished original hardware on the front doors of Cooperstown’s Village Hall today, as upgrades to the front (south side) of 22 Main near an end. The architect-designed heavy wood front doors were installed at the time of the building’s construction in 1899.  Restoration of the interior front doors remains to be complete.   (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Work To Begin A Week Early On Cooperstown Village Hall

Work To Begin A Week Early

On Cooperstown Village Hall

Cooperstown Village Hall
Cooperstown Village Hall

COOPERSTOWN – Repairs and repainting on the Main Street side of Cooperstown’s Village Hall will begin sometime this week, a week early than expected, according to Trustee Lou Allstadt, who chairs the trustees’ Building Committee.

During the renovations –  they include the front steps, the columns, porch and front doors – library patrons and people accessing the Cooperstown Art Association, village offices and the police station must do so through the building’s Fair Street entrance, Allstadt said.

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