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Letter to the Editor: Admin Debacle Proves We Need a New County Board

Written By Timothy Knight on 3/11/15 | 3/11/15

To the Editor:

I love serendipity.  A nice bit popped up this morning and it can really stand the light of day.  The crocuses don't need the light yet.  Soon, I hope.  But, I digress.....

I started my day's reading with the Schoharie News, email edition.  Among the information was a brief financial report of the major parties in the county and some suggested implications on the November election at which time all the county supervisor positions will be decided.  I wondered to myself what  impact the new Administrator position and person might have on those important elections in our little county.  I didn't plan to give it more thought.  Serendipity, however, had other plans.

The Daily Gazette arrived not much later and imagine my surprise (and maybe my amusement) when I read (under the headline: "Administrator plan sees challenge, change", page C2) that Supervisor Philip Skowfoe, Fulton, has introduced Local Law 4 to the Schoharie Board of Supervisors.  Local Law 4 of 2015, if passed, will abolish Local Law 1 of 2015.  Local Law 1 created the position of full-time Administrator for the County.  Skowfoe wants it gone and is quoted, saying, "We've got something that works now, why are we changing it?"  

His motion highlights a beautiful irony.  That is, the Board voted and Democracy was served.  The decision was made, fairly and squarely.  We are to have an administrator.  In the interest of full disclosure, I think the administrator is a good move and I said so the Board last fall.  I get that Skowfoe doesn't like it and doesn't agree with it but the deal is done.  

His willingness to waste time and tie up the board with any consideration of Local Law 4 stands as a perfect illustration of exactly why a County Administrator is needed.  Mr. Skowfoe, we do not have something that works now.  We need to change it.  You are proof.

The Times Journal editorialized on the particulars of the upcoming selection process and gave nary a hint of knowledge that Skowfoe had introduced Local Law 4.  I will give the TJ editor the benefit of the doubt that he knew and chose (wisely and with meaning) to simply ignore it as foolish folly.    

So, with enough Spring in the air to keep the temperature above freezing, this very morning gave me 1) a reminder of a pending election that can repopulate the County Board of Supervisors, 2) a specific reason to do so (not that I really needed one, just sayin') and 3) some specific thinking about how we take forward an important step.  All the local news outlets inadvertently conspiring has to be serendipity.  Has to mean something.

With luck, we will have a County Administrator before the November elections.  That position alone is intended to improve our lot but the position and person will be either hindered or helped by the people we elect as Supervisors.  We don't need to wait to know that there is willingness to impede our progress.  We will need to wait until November to elect a Board that values progress above obstruction but there is no question that is what we need to do.  We need to change something that doesn't work.

Chris Claus
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2 comments:

Norie61 said...

OK say we hire an administrator for the county, why do we need a Chairmen of the Board then. Every Super will have 1 vote and it must be equal. It appears to me that we are just making government bigger and we all didn't want that. The Administrator should have complete power over the BOS, being able to hire and fire Dept. heads, and hold Supervisors accountable for their actions or lack of actions. Without this, he then becomes a puppet for the Board.

jerryfromsummit said...

We don't need a new Board and we certainly don't need an Administrator. Schoharie County should be lead by a County Executive elected by the taxpayers.

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