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New Board Faces Challenge, Opportunity

Written By Editor on 11/7/13 | 11/7/13

A headline like the one can be written about nearly every election. The same could have been said after the 2011 election when Supervisors had the opportunity to focus on bringing the County back from the flood. While this did occur in many cases, the infighting over the last two years has poisoned much of the discourse.

However, the new County Board of Supervisors is under new management with many new faces representing the town governments.

There are many challenges for the Board-- including many that cannot be resolved overnight or all listed here.

Tying Up Loose Ends

The Board will have to choose who will be the next Chair. Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe is ahead by two votes in his race against Frank Tatten with absentees still yet to be counted. The Supervisors could pick Mr. Skowfoe to serve another term if he wins. Former Chair and Esperance Supervisor Earl van Wormer could be chosen as a bridge between the experienced and new members of the Board. Carl Barbic of Seward has been mentioned, but at 86 may be deemed too advanced in age.

The Board will have to decide what to do with Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington, who is currently suspended.

The Board will also need to carry out an overhaul of many of its policies as requested by the Fitzmaurice and Walsh lawfirm in the Report.

Economic Development

Sharon and Middleburgh may be growing, but there are still struggles across the County. With the Guilford sale in the competent hands of Bill Cherry, a deal is more likely but is still a large undertaking. On top of this, economic damage from the flood still haunts large portions of the County.

Cobleskill's tepid economic growth under Tom Murray also needs to be corrected as businessman Leo McAllister prepares his new administration. On the County level, issues revolving around Planning Director Alicia Terry's poor handling of the Guilford situation will need to be addressed.

Political Reform

Obviously the changes made in the wake of the Fitzmaurice Report will be large, but it only represents a small part of the overall picture. Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone argued recently that a County Executive is desperately needed and the weighted voting system the County currently uses is showing its age.
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