The Cooperstown Fire Department announced Tuesday, June 29, that it has received a donation to honor the memory of Fred Kerr.
The donation will go to the purchase of an extractor washer/dryer for cleaning turnout gear and lowering the risk of cancers in volunteers.
Kerr served as fire chief in Bristol, Ohio, in the 1980s. He loved Cooperstown and his family had a cottage on Otsego Lake for more than a century, his widow Carol Kerr said in the media release.
The donation came from the D Squared Fondation.
Village to hold hearing about 20 Glen Avenue
The Cooperstown Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, July 26, at Village Hall, about subdividing and issuing a special-use permit to the owners of 20 Glen Avenue.
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.
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
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.”
FILM SOCIETY – 7 p.m. Film Society of Cooperstown presents “The Last Picture Show” (1971). Free, refreshments included. Village Ball Room, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-437-6903 or visit www.facebook.com/FilmSocCoop/
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
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.