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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Board Chairman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Board Chairman. Show all posts

Letter to the Editor: Lape a Poor Choice for Chair

Written By Editor on 1/9/15 | 1/9/15

Dear Editor,
Congratulations, or should I say condolences to Dick Lape on becoming Chairman of the Board. I see the voting went right along party lines, guess I shouldn't be surprised. But one has to wonder if the best person was chosen for the job or did Mr. Lape just have more friends on the board? Another reason why this taxpayer does not have any faith in this board. This just proves to me that they all put their political parties first and the people of the county second. I am intrigued by the new Chairman's comment. His number one priority is to protect the health and safety of our residents. Does that mean he is against the land grabbing pipeline companies that want to take our land and ravage our county to bury 30 inch pipes in the ground to transport volatile gas somewhere else? I'd say that might be a health and safety issue to all of us. Will Mr. Lape back up his words and stand up and fight for the people or will he remain silent like Senator Seward and Schoharie's favorite son Assemblyman Lopez? Again, I am not surprised, but unfortunately this is the way career politician's work. Why take a stance or come out strong against anything that might affect your future political endeavors. After all, the rich people behind the pipeline companies might want to donate money to campaigns down the road. If a political office is not in one's future, there could always be a job. We all see who John Faso is working for. He tried to become a career politician, but he couldn't make it. However, I'm sure he is being well compensated by the Constitution Pipeline.

Thank you,
Jerry Fiore
Summit, NY

Opinion: County Administrator Won't Cut It

Written By Editor on 3/27/14 | 3/27/14

In the midst of two hours of back and forth arguing over the $2.6 million stream bank project budget shortfall this past Friday, Town of Broome Supervisor Bill Smith voiced his first public support for adopting a county administrator to provide additional oversight in Schoharie County government. Two months ago, the Schoharie News would have agreed; today, not a chance. 

There is no telling how we have reached this point in county affairs, as the tale varies depending on who you talk to in power, but one thing is for certain: there are no easy fixes to this crisis of mismanagement and corruption, and no band-aid solutions that will correct our county's faulty heading. 

Supervisors Milone and VanWormer should both be applauded for recognizing the status quo needs to be disrupted in some form on the county board, and that local government is in desperate need of real oversight after the Ethington and AECOM scandals. However, elevating one person - whether it be an administrator or an empowered Chairman - just wont cut it anymore.

The reason being is that nothing would change. Occupants of both proposed positions would be beholden to the county board for reappointment or reelection, and as such, they would be temperate in leadership as to not jeopardize their status. In addition, what's to say either position wouldn't become just a scapegoat of the very entrenched power they are being proposed to oversee?

Herein lies the crux of the county's dilemma - if we cannot trust the system we have to work, and neither of the proposed solutions would move the football beyond supplying the county board with a public scapegoat - then what other course of action is left but to consider taking the ultimate step and approving the creation of a county executive. 

Although the proposal is the bane of the board's existence, can we look at this objectively for one minute: is there any conceivable way having an elected, full-time county executive who would have the power to check the excesses of the Board of Supervisors, while monitoring the actions of department heads and ensuring all gears of county government work properly turn out bad? 

We don't think there is, but we could be wrong, of course. The editorial view of this internet newspaper has and always will be that reform is needed to sweep the ills of corruption, mismanagement and the public's lack of faith in local government out of the county system once and for all. But what do we know? We're just idealists... The only people who can change the system are the people of Schoharie County.  

VanWormer: Empower Board Chairman to Meet Administrative Needs

Written By Editor on 3/3/14 | 3/3/14

With the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors largely undecided on Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone's county administrator proposal, one member believes the ongoing public debate could be resolved within the framework we currently have now, rather than adding an executive layer to local bureaucracy.

Arguing that the implementation of an appointed county administrator would further widen the gap between residents and their government, Esperance Town Supervisor Earl VanWormer has suggested a simpler fix to the county's lack of executive oversight: empowering the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors to assume many of the proposed administrator's responsibilities.

Mr. VanWormer's proposed change would elevate the Board Chairman, a position he held for much of the last decade, to the equivalent of an Prime Minister in a parliamentary system. In addition to representing their town's constituents on the board, they would oversee the daily operations of county government and work with the department heads to ensure all gears turn properly. 

Citing figures that range from $250,000-$300,000 to cover the costs of an county administrator and all the position entails - personal staff, work space, office supplies, etc. - the Esperance lawmaker believes only a modest salary increase would be necessary to adequately compliment a full-time board chairman's additional workload. 

Coming just days after the Board of Supervisors welcomed the Greene County Administrator to brief them on his county's own governmental transition, it remains to be seen whether Mr. VanWormer's proposal takes a foothold in the continuing conversation, or like other proposed changes to county government, is assigned to the wastebasket of history. 

Van Glad Elected Chair of Board of Supervisors, Skowfoe Vice-Chair

Written By Editor on 1/3/14 | 1/3/14

Town of Gilboa Supervisor Tony Van Glad was elected by fellow members of the County Board to serve as Chairman for the 2014 legislative session in a split party-line vote early Friday evening. He received 1693 weighted votes to previous Board Chairman and Town of Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe's 1281.
Mr. Skowfoe would then be elected Vice-Chairman near unanimously, receiving fifteen of sixteen supervisors support, with only Town of Seward Supervisor Harold Vroman casting a vote for Town of Richmondville Supervisor Richard Lape, resulting in Skowfoe being elected the County's number two by a lopsided 2862-112 margin.

Newly elected Board Chairman Tony Van Glad,
photo courtesy of the Daily Gazette
The vote, which was conducted by call of the roll, mostly followed party-lines with Town of Broome Supervisor Bill Smith, a Republican, being the exception by supporting Democrat Phil Skowfoe, who was elected in 2013 as the head of a bipartisan coalition aligned against the Conservative faction.
After a brief intermission to allow Chairman Van Glad and Vice-Chairman Skowfoe to recite the oaths of their newly elected offices, Van Glad thanked a majority of the Board for supporting his candidacy and said that he would, "like to think we could have a bipartisan year," signaling the coalition of Mr. Skowfoe's administration is alive and intact.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Election Roll Call
Barbic of Seward - Phil Skowfoe
Bleau of Wright - Tony Van Glad
Bradt of Carlisle - Tony VanGlad
Buzon of Middleburgh - Phil Skowfoe
Federice of Conesville - Tony Van Glad
Jordan of Jefferson - Tony Van Glad
Lape of Richmondville - Tony Van Glad
Manko of Sharon - Phil Skowfoe
McAllister of Cobleskill - Tony Van Glad
Milone of Schoharie - Phil Skowfoe
Skowfoe of Fulton - Phil Skowfoe
Smith of Blenheim - Phil Skowfoe
Smith of Broome - Phil Skowfoe
Van Glad of Gilboa - Tony Van Glad
Van Wormer of Esperance - Tony Van Glad
Vroman of Seward - Tony Van Glad

Board of Supervisors Organizational Meeting, Chairman Election Set for January 3rd

Written By Editor on 12/26/13 | 12/26/13

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted last week to hold the 2014 county board organizational meeting, which will include the election of a Board Chairman and Vice-Chairman, on Friday, January 3rd at five that evening. The meeting is public and typically lasts only a short length of time.
Although incoming members of the County Board will have to make numerous appointments, nominations and conduct other routine new year business, the most important decision made next Friday may be who they select within their number to serve as head of Schoharie County government.
Incumbent Board Chairman, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe, is in good shape numerically to compete for another year at the helm of the county's troubled ship, but insider speculation has both Gilboa Supervisor Tony Van Glad and former Board Chairman Earl Van Wormer as strong candidates for the position as well.
Regardless of what direction the Board of Supervisors decide to take, Schoharie County's incoming Board Chairman will have their plate full and the eyes of the entire county on them, as citizens expect change in the aftermath of November's election that saw three incumbents removed from power and overall six new faces elected into the fray.

Skowfoe Leading Candidate for Board Chairman, Republicans Divided

Written By Editor on 12/15/13 | 12/15/13

 One might think, with November's election resulting in Republicans regaining control of the Board of Supervisors, that incumbent Board Chairman Phil Skowfoe is either facing an uphill battle to retain his position or is politically dead on arrival in the new year. However, you would be greatly mistaken.

After three weeks of making phone calls, e-mails and sitting down with various Supervisors - both returning incumbents and freshman legislators - there seems to be little to no consensus within the newly elected Republican majority, while the Democratic minority is united behind Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton.

According to sources with knowledge of the Board's inner-political workings, three potential candidates have emerged within the Republican ranks as viable contenders in next month's chairman election: Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt, Gilboa Town Supervisor Tony Van Glad and former Board Chairman Earl Van Wormer of Esperance.

However, none of the three candidates has widespread support through out the party, and two of the three have ruled out running altogether. Further complicating the situation is the private admission of one freshman Republican's support for the current board leadership, raising Mr. Skowfoe's weighted average to the lower to mid forties - well above any potential Republican at this juncture.

There are still several weeks between now and the Board of Supervisors organizational meeting in January - an eternity in politics - and anything could occur during that time to alter the dynamics of emerging alliances and coalitions on the county board, but as of now there is only one candidate with enough support to theoretically carry him across the goal-line.

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