The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted narrowly on Tuesday evening to amend the recently established County Administrator's functions and responsibilities, despite public concerns over the amended version.
Jo-Anne Noone typified the public's sentiment when commenting that creating an administrator was "A promise to eliminate political interests," but that the amended version, Local Law #3, managed to undermine whatever merits the original law had.
Cobleskill resident Gary Brady concurred, stating that "all of sudden this position is nothing but a big joke." He would go on to state that he felt, "This thing needs to go back to the drawing board."
Supervisors had initially considered both the original and amended versions of the law at February's county board meeting, but had voted to approve the original law after Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon came out against the amended bill, placing its passage in doubt.
The amended proposal created a firestorm in the political rumor mill for weeks, speculation that Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry sought to clarify at the public hearing.
"To set the record straight, prior to the law's adoption, Supervisor Federice asked me for my opinion and I suggested that the original law be cleaned up before it was voted on in order to more clearly define the role of the Administrator in the budget process," stated Cherry.
A role that was rolled back in the amended version, as well as with other previously assigned duties the administrator would have been tasked, but proponents of Local Law #3 had argued were redundant with that of responsibilities already belonging to existing officials.
Upset by the manner of which the proceedings had been set, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe angrily accused supporters of the amended law of setting the, "public hearing around the weighted votes," specifically that of Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister's 481 votes.
Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice, who has led efforts to establish an administrator after chairing an investigative committee into the matter, took offense to Skowfoe's comments, and stated that there is "nothing underhanded about the amended law."
Voting to adopt the amended version were Supervisors Barbic of Seward, Bleau of Wright, Federice of Conesville, Jordan of Jefferson, Lape of Richmondville, McAllister of Cobleskill, Milone of Schoharie, and Smith of Blenheim (1602 votes).
Opposed to the amended version included Supervisors Bradt of Carlisle, Buzon of Middleburgh, Manko of Sharon Springs, Skowfoe of West Fulton, Smith of Broome, and Vroman of Seward (1046 votes).
Supervisors VanGlad and VanWormer, who had both signaled their opposition to the Local Law #3, were both absent.