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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Gene Milone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gene Milone. Show all posts

Letter to the Editor: Milone Urges County Administrator Approval

Written By Editor on 5/5/14 | 5/5/14

Dear Editor,

It has been five months since I introduced a Local Law calling for the appointment of a County Administrator, someone who would shoulder the responsibilities of a Chief Administrator working in conjunction with the County Board of Supervisors on a daily basis concerning the overall administration of county government. This is something our county has never had and is in desperate need of.  He or she would also become the go-to person on a daily basis pertaining to issues that affect not only the work force but, the general public as well.  This individual would appoint such office staff authorized by the board, take recommendations to the appropriate committee or to the Chairman of the Board, including recommendations to hire department head positions, work in conjunction with and coordinate activities of county department heads and the administration of all units of county government in order to most efficiently implement the directions of the Board of Supervisors.  He or she would have general supervision of all county departments and agencies, including supervision of purchasing and auditing functions, work with each department on the development of an annual plan (goals) for the most effective and efficient operation of county government, to aid the Board of Supervisors in evaluating proposals presented and make recommendations concerning such proposals, to serve as an adviser in developing policies and procedures, to initiate and oversee the collective bargaining process with organized employees and to serve as the Labor Relations Director to resolve grievances, to execute and approve contracts in the name of the county and be authorized to transfer funds within the adopted budget and to have such powers to perform other duties empowered by the Board of Supervisors.

This brief overview is what would be expected of this individual, creating something which has been missing in county government for a long time, that being accountability as well as someone watching the store on a daily basis which any successful business owner can appreciate.  The current state of our county government continues to leave a lot to be desired.  We have been without an IT Director for almost a year and a half, the Health Dept. still does not have a permanent director as well as the Personnel Dept.  Major contracts have been jeopardized by incompetence and we still have some individuals in place that were part of a conspiracy unveiled by the Fitzmaurice report.

It has been the philosophy of the Board of Supervisors for years that they, and only they, run the county, never willing to recognize that perhaps in many instances they were in over their heads on issues.  While it is not my intention to discredit my colleagues that I sit with at the County, because I appreciate and care about them all, I am willing to recognize that we are in need of help.  If that is not apparent then we become part of the problem and not part of the cure.  It remains my wish that the County Board and the general public take a serious look at the local law that was introduced.  Take a bold step forward in an attempt to remedy the issues which have plagued our county for years and if this concept proves successful we will have afforded our constituents the type of representation and government they well deserve.

Collectively we can stop county government from floundering on a daily basis.  We have an obligation to provide efficient and meaningful government.  Change never comes easy but if we can recognize change is necessary it becomes a lot more palatable. 

Gene Milone
Schoharie Supervisor

Valley Governments Move Toward Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 1/20/14 | 1/20/14

After months of battling foes on the County Board of Supervisors over a series of local laws intended to attract first time homebuyers and encourage residential repairs in the Town of Schoharie through the use of exemptions, Supervisor Gene Milone's tax abatements are starting to gain traction across the Schoharie Valley.
Spurred by the recently re-elected Schoharie town supervisor's proposal to implement countywide tax abatements at the organizational meeting, both the Town Board of Blenheim and the Village Board of Schoharie unanimously adopted their own form of the assessment exemptions. Town Supervisor Jim Buzon also pitched the idea to Middleburgh board members at their January meeting.
The recent burst of momentum for tax abatements bodes well for Mr. Milone, who can now count at least 25% of the board of supervisors weighted vote behind his proposal. It remains to be seen whether more valley governments effected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee consider the exemptions as a worthwhile means of revitalizing their communities.

However, not everyone is on board. Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt spoke strongly against the principle of tax abatements earlier this month, arguing that there is a hidden cost to these exemptions that will leave non-qualified homeowners with the bill, a position Mr. Milone has gone to pains to disavow.

Regardless of how the county board decides to act, there is definitely a movement toward granting these exemptions in an attempt to not only attract new residents into the valley communities, but to also continue rebuilding their homes and neighborhoods to place the tragic events of August 2011 behind them.

Milone Proposes Creation of County Administrator

Written By Editor on 1/4/14 | 1/4/14

Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who told the Schoharie News after the Fitzmaurice Report's first section was released that such a change was needed, introduced Local Law No. 2 - providing for the establishment of the position of County Administrator for the County of Schoharie - for consideration of his fellow Supervisors last night.
The law, which if enacted would create a weaker administrative position than other counties have implemented, would require the Board of Supervisors to either appoint a full-time Administrator or assign the position's duties to an existing county official, although members of the County Board are prohibited from dually serving.
To be even considered for the position, you must possess either a  Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Business or Public Administration and have six to four years of experience in the field. In addition to the appointee being required to become a resident of Schoharie County within 90 days, the Board may set other qualifications as they see fit.
Mr. Milone didn't go into specifics of what powers and duties said administrator would have, but according to a hard copy of the proposed law, "the County Administrator shall be the Budget Officer and shall be responsible for the overall administration of County Government," including the ability to make recommendations for appointments of department heads, supervise and evaluate all county departments, to serve as advisor to the Board of Supervisors, Director of Labor Relations and to have such other powers as conferred upon by the County Board.
No action was taken, as the Schoharie Supervisor wanted members to fully digest its contents before the January meeting on the 24th, which Town of Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister expressed concern over by asking Mr. Milone if he expected them to a reach a decision by then. Mr. Milone did admit that his personal recommendation for the position would be for Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry to be appointed in addition to his already elected duties.
County Attorney Mike West, who informed Supervisors that the creation of an executive or administrator had been looked at several times in the past, said that it, "doesn't hurt to look at change." A sentiment concurred by Town of Seward Supervisor Carl Barbic, who stated he was in favor of such a implementation and Mr. Milone who concluded his remarks by telling freshman legislators that "something more is needed than what is in place right now."

Letter to the Editor: Milone Looks Toward Future

Written By Editor on 11/24/13 | 11/24/13

Dear Editor, Neighbors and Friends,
Now that the dust has settled with respect to elections, it is time to continue focusing on issues of importance concerning both the towns and county. It has been no secret that flood mitigation efforts have been ongoing and numerous meetings have already taken place involving many state and federal agencies attempting to come up with not only a plan to address future flooding events, but also to acquire the necessary funding needed to implement them. I am pleased to say once again, that our Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Senator James Seward as well as our Congressman Chris Gibson, have been in the forefront on this issue ever since my calling upon them for assistance.
It is also important for you to know that there is currently a major movement to afford the County Board of Supervisors opportunity to address both the New York State Assembly and Senate regarding the issues of mandate relief to our county as well as reform on the recently passed Safe Act-two major issues which effect every Assemblyman’s and Senator’s district throughout the state. It is our hope to have our voices heard, and if necessary, summon the assistance of the general public through possible letter campaigns or demonstrations. Once again we have petitioned our Assemblyman, Peter Lopez and Senator James Seward for assisting us in this effort.
The introduction of solar energy to our county buildings and residents is another major issue being dealt with. This issue holds much excitement for county residents particularly with respect to cost savings that should be considerable. There are state contributions available pertaining to the implementation of solar energy, which the county should be taking full advantage of.
There also remains the issue of reconstructing County Government pertaining to policies and procedures being put in place, which have never before existed including disciplinary procedures for department heads. Our entire county workforce must be reassured that a new day has come with respect to workplace environment. Employees shall no longer work in fear and they must come to know how very much they are appreciated. There is necessity for new direction and it is my personal opinion that a county manager is needed to prevent our county from continuing to flounder from day to day causing lack of direction and the loss of accountability. The residents and employees of Schoharie County deserve better than business as usual.
The agenda concerning issues to be addressed and achieved is quite lengthy and I remain completely optimistic that the newly elected supervisors will not fall victim to the issue of control and that each will do their best to work with others concerning all the issues at hand. The struggle for power and control between political parties has caused major setbacks in our Democracy. It is past time for all elected representatives to work in the best interest of the people we represent. Our future depends on it. While change is not always easy to acquire we must remember that the people have given our county a fresh start. Hopefully the people will remain vigilant on the call for change.
Gene Milone

Milone: Thank You

Written By Editor on 11/10/13 | 11/10/13

Supervisor Milone requested that the Schoharie News publish this brief thank you letter to the citizens of Schoharie:

Town residents voted 62-38% to re-elect Mr. Milone over former Supervisor Martin Shrederis in an election that saw voter turnout increase 20% over 2011's campaign, which featured record low numbers across the county, due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene.

Letter to the Editor: Thank You for your Courage

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

Dear Editor,
While I have remained silent with respect to your articles, I wish at this point in time, to express my deepest appreciation.  There is much to be said for your willingness to seek out the truth.  Your commitment to write about your findings has been comforting to many, including myself.  You are a breath of fresh air and I congratulate you for your diligence.  The support you have given to identifying those individuals in county government that have been a part of ongoing wrongdoings, deception and criminal activity has been outstanding.
The struggle to stamp out corruption at all levels of government will continue without a doubt and it will take committed individuals to carry on that effort as well as journalists like yourself to help expose the truth.  I wish to thank you for believing in those of us who have been on the front lines struggling to unveil what the facts really were pertaining to allegations of targeting, harassment and discrimination in our county work place.
I wish to thank you for your courage, stamina and unbiased opinions.  You exemplify what true journalism is about.  Your website has and will continue to be a source of information to Schoharie County residents.  As an elected representative of the people, I could not ask for anything more than for you to report  what is factual.  You have captured the attention of many.  Please stay committed to what is right and I thank you personally for believing in me.
Gene Milone

Opinion: No Choice But to Re-Elect Gene Milone

Written By Editor on 11/4/13 | 11/4/13

Simply put: there is no other logical choice for Schoharie residents other than incumbent Supervisor Gene Milone. Since his election  two years ago, Mr. Milone has consistently stood on his principles with complete disregard for party identification or whatever status quo existed on the county board prior to his arrival, instead focusing on the needs and welfare of Schoharie County's residents as a whole.

Mr. Milone, who initiated the Fitzmaurice Report by his motion almost twenty-one months ago, has fought what can only be considered a Goliath sized campaign in not only seeing the report through to its inevitable conclusion but also in its complete and damning release - with the end result being Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington's suspension and the discovery of several supervisors working in collusion with her to assist her takeover of the county Health Department.

After weeks of personal indecision on whether to endorse in the Town of Schoharie, due its contentious nature and the poisonous details of the report's release, we simply could not sit on the sidelines after putting together the final piece of this entire puzzle which pointed towards former Schoharie Supervisor Martin Shrederis as being among a conspiracy of supervisors that worked in coordination with Cassandra Ethington's reign of terror. 

As such, the Schoharie News would like to endorse Mr. Milone's re-election bid and encourage every voter in Schoharie to hold their ballot high for the incumbent's principled, honest leadership in the fight to reform Schoharie County politics, regardless of its political costs to himself... And to remember the words of his opponent in our interview published last week that "amount of money [spent on the report] is a waste," and that the report is nothing more then a "witch hunt."

Schoharie 2013 Interview: Milone vs. Shrederis

Written By Editor on 10/30/13 | 10/30/13

Town of Schoharie voters will have to choose between incumbent Supervisor Gene Milone and the man he defeated in the 2011 election, former Supervisor Martin Shrederis, once again in next week's hotly contested town supervisor campaign between these polar opposites that the Schoharie News was fortunate enough to interview.


Mr. Milone - Before retiring to Schoharie, Mr. Milone worked in the New York State Transit Authority for three decades where he rose up the ranks from a bus driver in Staten Island all the way to the presidency of his local union, and later served as a supervisor. Since moving to Schoharie he has served as Town Councilmen for six years and Supervisor for two.

Mr. Shrederis - Mr. Shrederis is a lifelong resident of Schoharie who owned a dairy farm for a number years and recently retired from Berne-Knox school district where he was employed as a bus mechanic. He has served as President of both the Schoharie Fire Department and Little League Association and previously served as Supervisor for fourteen years. 


Mr. Milone - Mr. Milone stated that his campaign has "been very well" to this point, adding that he has visited "almost 650 houses," and that its "almost at its conclusion." He has used this opportunity to address issues that came up at monthly board meetings and to gain the public's perspective on the town's state of affairs.

Mr. Shrederis - Mr. Shrederis believes that he lost in 2011 because he "didn't have time to campaign," due to his many public responsibilities in the aftermath of Irene's devastation in addition to his own home being flooded and still holding a full-time job. He decided to run again because "people [have] asked me to keep running and running."

Town Level

Mr. Milone - Mr. Milone stated that "first and foremost [there] is a need for a grocery store," and that he has worked closely with neighboring Supervisor Jim Buzon and Congressman Chris Gibson's staff to bring one into the area. He also touched on his 2014 budget proposal that sees only a "0.9% increase in taxation," that "represents the cost of operation," and his position that he will not take a salary if reelected, emphasizing that he is a "firm believer of leading by example."

Mr. Shrederis - Mr. Shrederis named his "biggest concern" as bringing more businesses back to Main Street and that he's in favor of the pipeline looking to come into Schoharie, adding that the result will be "cheaper fuel." He also hopes that the Town of Schoharie and Cobleskill Stone's legal issues can be resolved, stating that "we won the last case," and that "maybe we can get this resolved." 

Tax Abatement

Mr. Milone - Mr. Milone said that he "struggled with himself for a long time since the flood" and that he spent that time "understanding their loss and the tears," concluding that his proposal for tax abatement would be the town's "opportunity for us to rebuild our community," and that if it doesn't work "we lose nothing." Four town laws were passed and it "offers something for everyone."

Mr. Shrederis - Mr. Shrederis position is that "first of all: we had many residents that were hit by Irene," and "they got a tax break for a short period of time." Adding that the tax abatement is "too long of a period," and "not fair to all residents who got a short-term break" that people who want to move in got a longer tax break. He conceded that "it's an incentive," but it’s "way too long."

The Report

Mr. Milone - Mr. Milone's motion twenty months ago before the Board of Supervisors initiated the entire Fitzmaurice Report process that resulted in the first section being released last Friday. Mr. Milone painfully opposed that release on the grounds that its contents would be "misleading," and that he wanted the full report published. 

Mr. Shrederis - Mr. Shrederis contends that the "amount of money [spent on the report] is a waste," and that the "second half isn't going to come out with more than the first," labeling the first section has nothing more than "scuttlebutt." He went on to label the report as a "witch hunt," but that it was "smart they sent it to the attorney general."

Clear Differences Define Milone-Shrederis Race

Written By Editor on 10/29/13 | 10/29/13

The voters of Schoharie have little room for error in November 5th's town supervisor rematch between incumbent Gene Milone and former supervisor of fourteen years Martin Shrederis, as neither candidate shares a modicum of commonality with the other which has created a situation where their differences are clear and the election's victor will have a firm mandate.
In a combination of interviews set for publication tomorrow morning, the Schoharie News will outline the issue by issue differences between the two candidates ranging from the report to tax abatement to everything in between, as well as both of their accomplished resumes of community and work experience that offers Schoharie voters with two desirable choices.
At this juncture the editor of this publication can readily concede an inability to choose between the candidates, believing both to have skills and ideals that would best serve not only their respective community but also the county as a whole in regards to their position on the board of supervisors. It goes without saying that the residents of Schoharie likely share these misgivings and hopefully tomorrow's interviews will prepare them to make the final decision next Tuesday.

Cherry: Board Has Betrayed the Trust of the People

Written By Editor on 10/25/13 | 10/25/13

Following last night's overwhelming vote in favor of releasing the original compilation by Fitzmaurice and Walsh concerning allegations of wrongdoing in the county workplace, Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry blasted the board's decision to "suppress the second (and most legally important) part." Adding that "the Board has betrayed the trust of the people."
The motion to release was opposed only by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who insisted that the report be released in its entirety and that publication of only the original version would be "misleading" to the public, a position that confused many in the aftermath of last evening's vote but was praised by Mr. Cherry.
"Gene Milone should be credited for being the lone Supervisor who voted to release the entire report," the County Treasurer declared forcefully. He followed up by stating that "Many of the rumors, innuendos, and gossip in the first part are unsubstantiated, but it's the actual allegations of law-breaking I care about," concluding that "The people have a right to know if civil service or election laws have been broken."
While the Board of Supervisors did vote to release Fitzmaurice's original findings, which are mostly hearsay and accusations, there is still a second and larger part of this waiting to see day light and until that occurs we can only speculate as to the validity of the first portion's contents.

Milone: Report Shows "Desperate need of a County Executive."

Written By Editor on 10/19/13 | 10/19/13

Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who is seeking reelection against former supervisor Martin Shrederis in a rematch of 2011's race, was hopeful heading into yesterday's county board meeting that they would finally have answers on the long awaited Fitzmaurice Report. Which unfortunately was not the case.
Although Chairman Phil Skowfoe's announcement was yet another delay, this time until Thursday October 24th, Mr. Milone was sure of one evident need that this nearly two year old fiasco has made clear: that we are in "desperate need of a county executive."
Arguing that "the community needs someone to monitor what's going on" beyond the county board's monthly meetings, Mr. Milone was optimistic that in the aftermath of the report being released that "the board [would] put in policies and procedures to make this doesn't happen again." Including the creation of a county executive.
Mr. Milone helped initiate this entire process by making the motion authorizing this investigation by the Fitzmaurice law firm twenty months ago. And with its contents just days away from official release, he appears to be looking towards the aftermath and what steps we can take in order to avoid this again on a policy level and a structural level within county government.

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