Recorder R WEEKEND
www.recordernews.com Sun & 90s. Details: Page 16
Neverending stories Local author pens 10th book about Adirondack life. • Page 2
Back on track Mohawks snap losing streak by hammering Glens Falls. • Page 32
July 7-8, 2012
Supervisors vary on changing government By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Inside Charlie’s Angle: Why so scared?
Varied opinions were expressed by some Montgomery County supervisors this week when prompted to comment on the Charter Commission’s recommendation to switch board of 15 supervisors to a nine-member board of legislative representatives, a proposal they will start voting on Tuesday. All 15 supervisors were contacted by the Recorder this week and allotted the opportunity to offer precursory opinions of the com-
• Page 11
mission’s work to date. Calls to supervisors William Strevy of the town of Florida, Herbert Allen of Canajoharie, and Greg Rajkowski of Mohawk were not returned. A message to Palatine Supervisor Brian Sweet at his residence indicated he is away until Monday. Of the 11 interviewed, board Chairman and
Charleston Supervisor Shayne Walters, Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald J. Barone Sr. said they will vote against resolutions associated with the charter. Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington, Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito “Butch” Greco, 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara and St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano appeared firm in their support of a legislature, though they admitted Please see CHANGE, Page 7
A show of hands
Ag producers laud withdrawal of youth safety laws Column: Farm issue has room for improvement Having hope Manufacturer optimistic about textile’s future in area. • Page 3
Still waiting Check out today’s MSPCA pets of the week. • Page 9
Check it out Coming Sunday at WWW.RECORDERNEWS.COM: RIVERLINK CONCERT SEASON KICKS OFF
Also inside: Comics ................................1B Classifieds ....................2B-8B Crossword ..........................2B Happenings ......................8-9 Entertainment..................17-19 Lottery numbers ..................6 Nation/world ........................6 Obituaries ............................6 Opinion............................10-11 Sports ............................20-32
By LINDA KELLETT For the Recorder
By LINDA KELLETT For the Recorder
There are just some people that you never forget. They’re the people who make an indelible impression on you because of their strength of character, their courage or their perseverance in the face of adversity. A local 4-H’er and champion showman who competed at various local agricultural expositions against my own children is one such individual. Seriously injured in a farm accident in the fall of 1992 when her coat caught on a spinning PTO shaft, the then9-year-old lost her legs but never her indomitable spirit— continuing to show cows and win trophies with the aid of prosthetics in the years that followed. The accident also made the youth a statistic — one of many children under the age of 16 hurt or killed in farm-related accidents each year. According to a fact sheet detailing childhood agricultural injuries in the United States that was published in 2012 by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (a sister organization to the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health in Cooperstown), there were approximately 2.2 million farms in the U.S. in 2011. Two years earlier, more than a million youths were reported as living on farms, with more than half doing work there. An
Please see IMPROVEMENT, Page 13
Linda Kellett/For the Recorder
Farm workers harvest grass silage on Pavlus Road in the town of Palatine.
t was an act lauded as a victory for farmers but criticized by those who supported the adoption of more safety laws for children: In late-April, the U.S. Department of Labor withdrew controversial labor regulations that could have had a devastating affect on agriculture. The multi-faceted rules, announced in an August 2011 news release by U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, would have strengthened existing child labor regulations by “prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins.” Tobacco-growing operations also were included. Farmworkers under 16 also would have been prohibited from operating almost all power-driven equipment, although a “limited exemption would permit some student learners to operate certain farm implements and tractors, when equipped with proper rollover protection structures and seat belts, under specified conditions,” the release noted. Additionally, the proposed regulations would have prevented children from working in “the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.” Finally, the proposed rule called for the prohibition of youth “in both agricultural and non-agricultural employment from using electronic, including communication, devices while operating power-driven equipment.” Please see SAFETY, Page 12
Recorder, July 7, 2012 — 7
$?(&! What did that politician just say? NEW YORK (AP) — What the $?&(! is going on with our politicians? The mayors of New York and Philadelphia and the governor of New Jersey let loose with a few choice vulgarities over the past two weeks in otherwise Grated public settings, including a town-hall meeting and a City Hall event. And all three men knew full well the microphone was on. While foul language has been uttered in politics before, the blue streak is making some wonder whether it reflects the coarsening effects of pop culture in this reality-TV era of “Jersey Shore” and “The Real Housewives,” a decline in public discourse, a desire by politicians to come across as average Joes, or just a really hot summer. First there was famously blunt New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie branding a lawmaker “one arrogant S.O.B.” at a town hall last month (and using some stronger epithets in discussing his passion for the music, though not the politics, of Bruce Springsteen in an interview published in The Atlantic this month.) Then New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, apparently having trouble stomaching a slew of puns in his prepared remarks for Tuesday’s contestant weigh-in at City Hall before the Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, chuckled, “Who wrote this s—-?” to guffaws from the crowd. Then it was Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s turn on Thursday at a news conference where he discussed a shooting a few blocks from the center of the city’s July Fourth celebration. He said he wasn’t going to let the city’s image be harmed
The Associated Press
In this March 29 photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a crowd at a town hall meeting in Manchester, N.J. Last month, Christie branded a lawmaker “one arrogant S—” at another town hall meeting. The mayors of New York and Philadelphia and the governor of New Jersey have all unleashed unprintable terms in public in the last two weeks, cursing with microphones on in otherwise G-rated settings ranging from a town-hall meeting to a hot-dog-eating contest weigh-in.
by “some little ass—— 16-yearold.” “My sense is: Because they want to appear to be in tune with popular culture, politicians feel free to express themselves in profane ways,” said Rutgers University political scientist Ross K. Baker. And he finds that troubling: “I honestly do believe that, in aping the coarseness of popular culture, people in public life are really dragging us into a discourse of fang and claw.” President Harry S. Truman was criticized for his use of such salty language — for his time — as “hell” and “damn.” And
many Americans were shocked by Richard Nixon’s liberal use of profanities on the Watergate tapes, which made “expletive deleted” a pop-culture catchphrase. In more recent years, then-candidate George W. Bush was caught on what he didn’t realize was a live microphone describing a reporter as a “majorleague ass——,” and Vice President Dick Cheney hurled the F-word at Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor. In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden was heard using the F-
word on live television in a whispered congratulation to President Barack Obama at the signing of his health care bill. The seeming proliferation of political swearing reflects changes in both social norms and the media landscape, said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. Offhand remarks that might once not have been reported now get captured on video and posted online. “Politics has been nasty” for years, Thompson said. “The difference is we now have media
that show this stuff.” Nutter, who has used vulgarities before in response to street violence, has described his language as an “honest, clear, direct response.” Christie has built his political career on his brash style. His warning to people to “get the hell off the beach” as Hurricane Irene approached last year appeared in big front-page headlines around the state. As for the lawmaker who was the target of the Republican governor’s salty remark last month, he’s not complaining. “He actually gave me national attention,” Democratic state Sen. Paul Sarlo said. “The term is more of an insult to my mom, who is not politically involved.” Still, Sarlo saw the comment as unbecoming of a governor who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender. The biggest problem with political figures using bad language is that it crowds out whatever they were actually trying to say, said etiquette expert Lizzie Post of the Emily Post Institute. “The words we’re focusing on are probably not the ones they want us to,” she said. And what of the average citizens politicians are trying to reach — or, perhaps, emulate? Kristina Klimovich, for one, doesn’t like to hear them swear. “I think there’s always a line, and as a public servant there are certain standards they have to adhere to,” said Klimovich, of New York. But Lisa Garfield of Springfield, Mass., said, “It makes them more human.” “I’m 52 years old,” she said, “and I don’t know anyone who’s never used a cuss word in their life.”
from page 1
some items in the proposal aren’t to their ideals. Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeff Stark, whose son, Vincent Stark, is a member of the commission, said he agrees with all the commission’s recommendations. Root Supervisor John Thayer and Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler said they will likely OK resolutions that will appear before them this month and in August so the constituency can decide if it wants to change the county’s form of government, but that’s not to say they would vote for them as residents at the polls Nov. 6. And Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush, a candidate for the state 111th Assembly District, refrained from commenting at all, stipulating he wants to see a final document. The commission has one meeting left, scheduled Wednesday, before their proposal is due to the board July 15. But Quackenbush is one of seven members of the Education and Government Committee, which will be the first to see resolutions associated with the charter. On Tuesday, the resolution sponsored by committee Chairman and Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington aims to set a public hearing Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. concerning proposed local law No. 3 of 2012, a local law adopting a charter form of government. If the committee — which also includes Stagliano, Sweet, Thayer, Greco and Chiara — moves the resolution setting the public hearing, it will appear before the full board at its monthly meeting July 24. If the resolution is approved there, Coddington said he will submit a resolution for the committee’s August meeting to put the referendum on the November ballot. Coddington also hopes to schedule a special meeting after the Aug. 14 public hearing for the board to vote on the charter.
TWO HATS TO ONE
A switch from a Board of Supervisors to a legislature would appear to have the most implications for town supervisors. Currently, supervisors are elected to lead the 10 towns’ governments, and they also serve on the county board. Under a legislature, the 10 town supervisors will still be elected to serve at the town level, but instead of them serving the county board, too, legislators will be elected, one from each of the commission’s proposed districts across the county. By voting to send the charter to a referendum, supervisors are essentially taking the risk of reducing their two jobs to one, and thereby eliminating one of two stipends they receive for that work. In addition to stipends from their respective towns, the county annually budgets $155,000 in stipends split amongst 15 supervisors. The chairman, which changes annually, receives $15,000 for the year, and the rest receive $10,000 apiece. Walters said he doesn’t believe the personal implications of the changes will have any impact on the supervisors’ upcoming votes. “Nothing can change until our terms end, anyway, and you can always lose an election,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me,” Coddington said of the potential reduction in his role. “Some people like serving the county, and I’m the one that doesn’t. Some supervisors who like doing the county job can just run to be a legislator.” Throughout the charter process, Coddington has often joked he’s voting himself out of one of his jobs, but to clarify the implications, he made note Thursday the current system of government has 25 positions — 10 town supervisors, and 15 county supervisors. “Under a legislature, there will be 19: 10 town, and nine county. It’s eliminated six positions. I look at the town and county as
two totally different jobs, even though they’re the same people. With a legislature, nothing will change for the towns, the city or the villages. It will just be nine different people for the county.” It would create a structure comparable to one that currently exists for city government, as it has both alderman and supervisors. But Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler said that she doesn’t like that setup, citing politics. “I want to commend the commission for the time they’ve put into the charter, and I believe this should go to the people so they can decide, but the concerns I have are the Chicago politics in the city of Amsterdam,” Wheeler said. She said if the city’s representation was one that combined the aldermen posts with supervisors, “it would cut out the political nonsense.” Walters comments indicated the same sentiments about local politics, something he doesn’t think legislative districts will change. “I’ve only heard the change is a valid reason because we don’t get along,” he said. “But how is a legislature going to be any different? I don’t think it will make anything more efficient. I think we need to fix our own system, and I think that can be done.” “I don’t think government has any great secrets,” said Thayer. “My view of government is if people are not happy with the job I’m doing, by all means, I hope someone runs against me and votes me out.” Thayer said having town supervisors serve the county is a benefit for their towns, which are the smallest in the county. “Under the charter form of government, town supervisors are kind of left in the dark. I’ve had conversations with at least one supervisor from Otsego County, who went through that change, and his flavor of it was that the towns are left fending for themselves; that the county doesn’t have a lot to do with the towns.” Stagliano, who said he’s supportive of the
switch, said that “disconnect” is intended under a charter government. “Without a charter, the county doesn’t have real government, it’s just operating under county law,” Stagliano said. “Is there a disconnect, sure, because that is the intent. There’s a concern that as supervisors, city or town, whether we do wear two hats, and hopefully the separation will ease that.” Stark hopes a move to a legislature will allow county officials to focus on the county and its $93 million budget. “Legislative districts will put the focus on county government without having the contradictions from town governments,” he said. And let’s face it, the present form is only one of seven left in the state. Most county governments have changed to a different form, and that’s an indictment of our system.” DiMezza said he doesn’t like the legislative district proposal because under nine districts, parts of the city will be grouped with parts of his town. “I don’t think city people should represent people in the town,” he said. Greco said he supports the switch, but agreed with DiMezza. “I don’t like the city being broken up, which is why I was in favor of eight legislative districts because the city stayed intact,” he said. “I don’t like the city being torn apart.” Chiara said he thinks the public needs more education on the proposal. “There’s some confusion about the town supervisors and where everyone stands. That’s a major issue. But at least we came this far.” For Barone, the past referendums on the change are indicative of how he should vote. “It’s been proposed several times before, and voted down, but we keep bringing it back up, and it bothers me that people don’t believe the voters and keep shoving this in their face. They’ve already said no.”
In the dark
Officer is one of the dead from shooting near Texas college campus.
Viewers, critics lash out after NBC does not show parts of Closing Ceremony.
Doug Edick’s first practice as Rugged Rams’ head coach goes to plan.
• PAGE 2
• PAGE 5
• PAGE 20
Recorder AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK
Charter chatter By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Jaime Studd/Recorder staff
Several southside streets and businesses were without water Monday afternoon in the city of Amsterdam, following a water main break on DeStefano Street. The break forced an emergency water shutdown that affected residences on DeStefano Street, from Essex Street to Route 5S and Nolan Place, as well as Stewart’s Shops, the Amsterdam Recorder, Super 8 Motel, Brown Coach, Liberty Enterprises, Barkley School, the Dutch Mart, the NYS Thruway toll plaza and maintenance building, and the Valley View Motel and Mini Mart. The shutdown began at approximately 3 p.m. and water was restored to those affected by Monday evening.
INSIDE Storms possible. High in the 80s.
• Page 10 Comics ............................9 Classifieds ..............12-15 Crossword ....................12 Happenings..................3-4 Entertainment ................5 Lottery numbers ............3 Nation/world..............2, 11 Obituaries........................6 Opinion ............................8 Sports ......................16-20
August 14, 2012
Serving the Mohawk Valley since 1878
Otsego County changed board many years ago
Fulton County board votes to override levy Near-unanimous vote keeps options open By JAIME STUDD Recorder News Staff
JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors decided Monday to keep its options open with respect to the state-mandated tax cap, voting overwhelmingly to authorize overriding the tax levy limit, if necessary. The 18-to-1 vote — Gloversville Ward 6 Supervisor Richard Ottalagano was absent — followed a public hearing on the issue in which no members of the public spoke on the issue. The discussion on the part of the board members themselves was nearly as brief, with just a handful of supervisors speaking up in favor of the resolution. Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Michael Gendron advocated for passage of the override, citing an estimated increase in costs coupled with little or no indication that any mandate relief will be provided by the state. Please see FULTON, page 4
It’s been more than 40 years since Otsego County made the switch from a Board of Supervisors to a Board of Representatives, the same change Montgomery County’s government could undergo in the near future. Several Montgomery County supervisors say officials from neighboring counties, like Otsego County, have warned them about the switch to a legislature because it allegedly diminishes the townships’ interests at the county level. Otsego County Rep. Donald L. Lindberg is one official who wishes his county’s system could revert to a Board of Supervisors, citing what he deemed a lack of accountability to the constituency. Conversely, neighboring district Rep. Beth S. Rosenthal believes Otsego County’s current form of government is efficient, limits the “good ol’ boys” network, and gets more people involved in their local government. While Otsego County’s government is not identical to the one proposed by the Montgomery County Charter Commission, they are thematically similar in the districting of municipalities that are each represented by an elected legislator. Currently, the Board of Supervisors consists of the supervisors of the towns, who serve ex-officio as county legislators, while city supervisors are voted to represent wards, and serve solely as county officials, having no other duties as city officials.
Please see OTSEGO, Page 7
Montgomery County gov’t stays course By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
FONDA — The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will host a public hearing tonight at 6 p.m. at the county office building on Broadway to let the constituency voice its opinion on changing the county’s form of government. A charter, or a documented structure and organization of government, has been proposed by a Charter Commission that met one last time Monday on the steps of the Old County Courthouse on Park Street. The meeting was originally organized to make any recommendations for modifications to the draft they submitted to the board, which will vote tonight whether or not the charter will go to a public referendum in November. But their only recommendation, in the words of Chairman Dustin Swanger, was “let the public decide. “It’s the strongest argument we can make.” Elected Executive
Currently, Montgomery County does not have a charter, instead operating under county law. The executive and legislative authority remain joined in the legislative body; in this case, it’s the Board of Supervisors. When the Board of Supervisors voted to create the commission, they charged it to craft a charter with provisions for an elected executive, which is the principal difference between a charter county and a non-charter county. The executive position is designed to administer the dayto-day affairs of county government. Please see MONTGOMERY, Page 7
Recorder, Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — 7
from page 1
“The creation of the office of the elected executive provides the county with potentially strong leadership, because the executive is elected by the voters of the entire county,” reads the state Department of State’s local government handbook. “The executive provides a a focus of public attention in county government that is lacking in the organization under the county law. Like elected executives at other levels, the county executive operates under constant scrutiny.” Proponents of the charter say the executive post will bring efficiency to Montgomery County’s government, which operates under a system of committees that meet monthly “Currently, the department heads have to answer to all 15 members of the Board of Supervisors, with the result that there can be conflicting input about the direction of each department,” reads a “white paper” on the charter written by commission member Orrie Eihacker. “A county executive would eliminate this inefficiency.” The commission has pointed to an anonymous survey of county department heads in their justification of the post, as several surveys indicated the employees have a general lack of direction from their 15 bosses, and no one who can provide an immediate answer to questions or problems. But board Chairman and Charleston Supervisor Shayne Walters, the biggest vocal opponent to the charter government, believes the supervisors can “fix our own government,” and is concerned about the budgetary impact of the position considering a salary, benefits, and the post’s administrative staff. In his time as chairman, Walters said he’s worked more closely with department heads, and believes the problems of county government are that of communication, and “with a legislative board, it’s not going to be any different.” Walters believes the board’s committee system is missing a connection with the department heads, and in an attempt to fix that, he’s scheduled the meetings with fewer people to foster more intimate and meaningful conversations with the employees. But when asked what will happen to those meetings under a new board chairman, as they change annually, Walters said, “Then it goes back to the way it used to be. That’s the chance you take, but at least you set the precedent correctly.” Legislature
The local government handbook says every county has the power to enact laws, adopt resolutions, and take other actions having the force of law within its jurisdiction. This power, along with the related authority to make policy determinations, is vested in a legislative body. In the commission’s proposal, nine legislators would represent nine districts. Under the charter, town supervisors will no longer serve the county legislature, but they would keep their positions at the town level, and city and village governments would operate as is. “The county legislators would be elected only to serve on the county legislature,” reads a “white paper” written by commission member Orrie Eihacker. “Their only job would be to run the county and solve any problems that affect the county as a
whole. This would eliminate any potential conflict between town interests and the interests of the county as a whole.” “You can say what you want about that two-hat crap, but town supervisors know a lot about budgets, and that helps with the county budget,” he said. “We can see the benefit of shared services quickly, and I think it will have an implication financially if the town supervisors are gone.” Swanger has said he thinks town residents vote for their supervisor with the town’s interests at heart, not the county’s, and with the county’s $93 million budget, “the county should not be an afterthought.” Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington, who’s been a proponent of a charter form of government, said the change will allot the opportunity for supervisors to focus on their towns, and the legislators to focus on the county. As someone who’s lived both in the town of Root and Glen, Coddington said he’s familiar with folks from both municipalities, and is not bothered by the idea of electing a legislator to represent multiple townships. “A lot of people who are town supervisors are very familiar with the whole area. I’m sure whoever runs will know what people need, and after all, the person still has
to come from that district.” Walters, on the other hand, fears his “small town” will get lost on the map. As town supervisors, “we deal directly with the taxpayer. If we move to a legislature, the legislator will be responsible for a larger area than just my small town. I don’t think they’ll have that personal contact with the taxpayer. Supervisors are very personal because we’re working for the people we live next to.” Treasurer
The commission’s proposal includes a provision that would change the elected treasurer post to a commissioner of finance who is appointed by the executive, pending legislative approval. The commission originally decided to switch it from an elected post to an appointed one because they wanted to attach qualifications to it, considering the size of the county’s budget. They also believe it would foster a better working relationship if the executive could choose the finance commissioner. It’s been a “lightening rod” of debate, in the words of Swanger, as many supervisors fear it’s an issue that unnecessarily complicates the charter more than it needs to be. But the commission decided to
Heather Nellis/Recorder staff
From left, Montgomery County Charter Commission members Fred Hidde, Jim Post and Orrie Eihacker are pictured during the panel’s final meeting Monday at the Old County Courthouse.
stick with its recommendation Monday, noting their only suggestion to the board would be to make it a separate referendum on the ballot. “It’s the people’s government. They should decide if they want to elect their treasurer,” Swanger said. Changing government
The state Constitution authorizes alternative forms of county government to transfer functions or duties from one unit of local government to another, subject to public referendum, and must be
approved by separate majorities in the area of the county outside the city, and in the city. First, the Board of Supervisors will vote tonight in a special meeting at 6:30 p.m., after the public hearing, whether or not to let the public vote on the charter. If they agree, it will be on the ballot in November, and if it’s respectively approved by voters in the city and in the towns, elections for the executive and the nine legislators will take place in November 2013. The charter would then go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
from page 1
If a charter government is approved in Montgomery County, the 10 town supervisors will still be elected to serve at the town level, but will no longer serve on the county board. Instead, legislators will also be elected, one from each of the commission’s proposed districts across the county. Charleston Supervisor Shayne Walters and Root Supervisor John Thayer both say they’ve spoken with town supervisors from neighboring counties that have boards of representatives, who’ve affirmed their fears about the towns being “left in the dark” under a districted legislature. “Under the charter form of government, town supervisors are kind of left in the dark,” said Thayer in a recent interview. “I’ve had conversations with at least one supervisor from Otsego County, who went through that change, and his flavor of it was that the towns are left fending for themselves; that the county doesn’t have a lot to do with the towns.” According to Cherry Valley Supervisor Tom Garretson, it’s not the case with his representative. Elected in 2005, Garretson said he’s had two representatives for his town, “and both have been excellent.” “They come to my meetings every month, and give updates on county business, and they’re there to hear any concerns the town might have,” he said. “They’re doing exactly what they should do — represent the town.” Garretson feels any supervisors’ involvement in county government is dependent upon the supervisor’s own will. “It’s up to the supervisor how connected they want to be with county government, and state government,” he said. “The representatives I work with have been wonderful, and it’s never been an issue. And once a year I have lunch with my senator to make sure I stay in touch at the state level. I don’t
know what other supervisors do, or how they’re representatives are, but I know Cherry Valley is well taken care of.” Lindberg has been the representative of Otsego County District No. 6 for the past 13 years. District No. 6 encompasses the towns of Worcester, Decatur, Maryland and Westford. Lindberg has also served as the supervisor of Worcester, so he’s seen both sides of the coin. Lindberg feels the system under the Board of Representatives reduces accountability to voters. “I’ve seen the Board of Representatives spend money like it’s water,” Lindberg said. “When you become a representative, you don’t just represent one town, you represent three or four. If you [anger] everyone in your township, you can still get elected because you still have three other ones that might support you. That’s why I don’t agree with it, because I think if you do a good job, you always get elected. And if you don’t, you don’t.” Lindberg referenced Otsego County’s construction of a nursing home, which he said is “costing us all kinds of money.” “A Board of Supervisors wouldn’t go and do that if they knew they had to go back and answer to their township. That’s why being a supervisor, it keeps the people in mind, because it makes the supervisor come home, and they have to count on that group of people in that town to get elected. “I wish we were back to a Board of Supervisors,” Lindberg added. But he also warned that some supervisors’ resistance to the switch could be rooted in what he deemed self-serving interests, like the county’s contributions to supervisors’ state retirement funds, or their annual stipends. “They don’t always tell you the whole story,” he opined. “They’re taking care
• Custom Landscaping & Designing • Quality Nursery Stock • Screened Topsoil • Complete Tree Service • Evergreen & Shrub Trimming • Mulching or Decorative Stone for Shrub Beds • Stamped Concrete • Cobble & Belgium Block Edging • Japanese Beetle and Grub Control
Landscaping & Tree Service 518-843-1841
101 Erie St., Amsterdam (along bike trail)
of themselves, too.” When asked if he gets along with all the town supervisors in his district, Lindberg said yes, adding “I actually have other supervisors, that I don’t even represent, call me and I’ll help them out. But if I’m helping someone in someone else’s district, what is his representative doing — he isn’t paying attention, he doesn’t care. I hear it all the time, ‘I called mine, and he doesn’t want to hear it.’ “The closer you get to home, and the smaller the government, the better it is,” he added. Ironically, Rosenthal said she ran for office because she didn’t feel like county representatives were listening to the towns’ concerns about hydrofracking. Rosenthal is serving her first term as the representative of District No. 7, which encompasses the towns of Cherry Valley, Middlefield and Roseboom. Her previous political experience extends to a four-year stint as the Roseboom town clerk. “I think the legislature is efficient because some representatives, like myself, go to great lengths to service the towns and foster open communication,” she said. Rosenthal said she attends her townships’ monthly board meetings, shares news, and takes their concerns to the county level. “If you have that kind of representation, everyone is in the loop sharing lots of information,” she said. “I regularly interact with the three supervisors in my district, and I think they do a good job running their towns.” Rosenthal credits Otsego County’s government to limiting cronyism. “My concern is under a Board of Supervisors, it helps keep the good old boys network in place,” she said. “At least with a Board of Representatives, more people have a say in our government.”
SUPER SNEAKER SALE!!!
Final Days of 50-75% OFF Our TENT SALE EVERYTHING PRICED TO SELL!! DON’T MISS IT!! Rt. 30N, Amsterdam • 843-5050 www.sievertssportinggoods.com
www.recordernews.com Clouds & 40s. Details: Page 16
Going abroad Local doctor to teach physicians in Peru. • Page 4
November 3-4, 2012
Is the thrill gone?
Many local residents disappointed by presidential race
Bowl bound Amsterdam gets set to take on Burnt Hills for title. • Page 32
Showing class Senior athletes handle defeat with dignity. • Page 29
Sleep in Sunday Don’t forget to set clocks back 11 12 1 one hour 10 2 at 2 a.m. 9 3 Sunday. 8
Check it out Coming Sunday at WWW.RECORDERNEWS.COM: NEW MEMORIAL DEDICATED IN AMSTERDAM
Also inside: Comics ..............................6B Classifieds ....................7B-12B Crossword ........................11B Happenings ....................18-19 Entertainment ................2B-3B Lottery numbers ..................6 Nation/world....................14-15 Obituaries ............................6 Opinion............................10-11 Sports ............................21-32
BARACK OBAMA By JESSICA NICOSIA For the Recorder
our days before what could be one of the closest presidential races in recent history comes to an end, many local residents say they are generally disillusioned with the process. While most have made their choice, many people are upset with the campaigns of both candidates. And like much of the country, local residents appear to be split on who they favor — President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican. “It’s always the top two people that are getting pushed,” said Adam McCoy, 17, a sen-
• Full ballots for Fulton and Montgomery counties, Page 3 • A list of polling places in Fulton and Montgomery counties, Page 5
ior at Fonda-Fultonville High School. He is disappointed in the two-party system. “If a third-party candidate did get elected president, what kind of pull do they have in the Senate,” he said. “I think it needs to be balanced out in all elections so that the third party can get into all offices easier.” Laura Burda of Amsterdam echoed many local residents when she said her choice is “the lesser of two evils.” “I think I’m looking at the way that people
present themselves now,” she said. “And I just think that mudslinging and that kind of thing is so unnecessary. It doesn’t help anyone. I don’t think (Romney is) answering the questions that he’s being asked. I think he skirts the issues. And I think Obama is very upfront and honest. It’s a personality thing too ... and I think Romney kind of scares me.” Shirley Jacobs from Glen is shocked by “all that money they spend on their campaigns.” “I tend not to believe politicians,” she said. “They can always spin it, and they do. That’s my thought.” Please see ELECTION, Page 2
Feelings mixed on charter plan; many unaware of it By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Montgomery County’s government could be changed Tuesday when voters consider adopting a charter form of government during the general election. From the proposal has emerged a mixed bag of supporters and naysayers, while even more appear unaware of the proposition, which is guised on the back of the ballots. Mary Brown is a Participation in Government teacher at Fonda-
Fultonville High School. She’s included the local, state and national elections as part of this semester’s curriculum, including the county charter referendum. Some of Brown’s students are old enough to vote, including many of the people quoted in this story. In preparation for her electionrelated lesson plans, Brown said she picked up sample ballots from the Montgomery County Board of Elections and saw the Please see CHARTER, Page 12
Heather Nellis/Recorder staff
Fonda-Fultonville High School teacher Mary Brown, at right, leads a discussion during her Participation in Government class Oct. 25.
12 — Recorder, November 3, 2012
from page 1
proposition on the back of the ballot — the first time she’d heard about it. She wasn’t the only one. Most of the students in Brown’s class said they’d never heard about it before it was introduced to them in class, just two weeks before the election. “It’s odd that we will be voting on it in two weeks, but none of us knew about it until yesterday,” student John Morey, a Sammonsville resident, said on Oct. 25. When asked who he believed to be at fault for the general lack of knowledge about the proposal, student Joe Fox of Fultonville said he thinks it’s a combination of factors. “I would have liked to see our elected officials engage with us a bit more about it, but I also think people have to be willing to inform themselves and want to take that time out of their day.” Student Christian Meyer of Glen appeared concerned about the ramifications of uneducated voters. “If people don’t know about it, then only a couple of people are voting on it, and it’s probably the people who want to see it changed,” said Meyer. The proposition is the culmination of seven months of expedited research, deliberation and public meetings by the ninemember county Charter Commission, which was appointed in March by the Board of Supervisors. They were required, by resolution, to craft a charter, in less than four months, that included provisions for an elected county executive. A charter is a document that defines the powers and duties of a government. The commission was given the option whether the charter transferred legislative functions to a legislature, or retained a board of supervisors. The commission chose the former. The charter seeks to replace the 15-member county Board of Supervisors with a nine-member legislature. Currently, 10 supervisors are elected to serve their town governments, and they also serve on the county board with five supervisors elected from each of the city of Amsterdam’s wards. Supervisors would still be elected to serve the 10 town governments but would no longer serve the county board. Instead, nine legislators would be chosen from districts that have equal population. Town supervisors are currently paid two stipends — one from their town, one from the county. City supervisors only receive a county stipend. Under the charter, instead of paying 15 supervisors to work on the county board, stipends would be paid to the nine legislators. The charter directs the elected executive to oversee the county departments. He or she will appoint department heads, propose a budget, and will have veto powers that can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the legislature. The commission wasn’t given a budget to do the work of creating the charter and providing outreach, though in-kind servic-
Shown above is a map depicting the nine legislative districts included in a proposal to establish a charter government for Montgomery County.
es were provided in the way of administrative support from county Senior Planner Doug Greene. The bulk of the commission’s outreach included a set of three mandated public hearings in late June and early July, a set of three public information sessions in October, letters to the editors of local media, radio appearances, a website at www.montgomerycountycharter.com, and a Facebook page. “I hadn’t heard anything about it. Then again, this is the first day I’ve had time to sit down and eat breakfast in a couple months because work has been so busy,” said Amsterdam resident Ian Guere over a plate of food at Emmy Lou’s diner on Chuctanunda Street in early October. Shirley Jacobs of the town of Glen said she’s an election inspector, but she’d only heard general information about the charter proposal. Jacobs said the proposal seemed redundant in the change from a Board of Supervisors to a legislature. “If the supervisors have the time, and they’re willing to work at the county level, what’s the problem,” she said. “We do need a head of our government, so it’s not a bad idea to have an executive, but do we need different people at the county?” “It seems like too many hands in the pot,” said Ripa-Cecile Landreville of Fort Johnson. Fonda-Fultonville student Sara James of Fonda disagreed. “I think splitting their work would be more effective, so there’s only a responsi-
bility to one form of government,” she said. “There are probably a lot of things that the supervisors don’t pay attention to just because there isn’t enough time.” Eighteen-year-old Lukas Paro of Fonda thinks it’s simply time for change. He made note of the region’s struggles both in the way of education and job growth. “It’s the human way to adapt, and we need to accommodate change so things can get better,” Paro said. “We need new ideas, and if there’s a separation of power, they can focus more on what they’re supposed to do.” “I like the concept of a separation of power, because the government has more logistical problems than anything else,” said 19-year-old Travis Warner about the executive. But of the proposal to switch to a legislature, Warner said, “I’m concerned if there are more people involved in government, there could be problems with communication. If the legislators have to communicate with the town supervisors, things could be misinterpreted, and it’s just opening things up for miscommunication.” Ariane DeRose of Fonda thinks the proposal sounds organized and fair. “I think it would be more balanced, instead of one group of people making all the decisions,” she said. John Morey of Sammonsville said he thinks the concept is debatable considering what he deemed “pros.” “But I think the current government has done its job,” he added.
Morey wondered how political schemes would work out under the new system. “It seems like the executive could play for votes from legislators from the city, because there are more from that area,” said Morey. “Does that mean there will be more done for the people who live in the city?” Clyde Sammons, a 17-year-old from Sammonsville, said he’s worried how a legislature would hurt towns’ abilities to get problems addressed at the county level. “Especially if someone is elected for the district who isn’t from my town — are they going to address my town’s issues?” Sammons asked. “If you make the districts, what’s the point of having town boundaries?” said 19-year-old Clayton Piening of Charleston. Amsterdam resident Mike Mason is a retired county Highway Department employee. He said he’s split about the different pieces in the proposal. Of the executive, he thinks it’s a good idea. “I was an employee when the county had an administrator, and I think the county was run better,” he said. “I think running the county should be put in the hands of an executive, not a board of supervisors.” Of the switch to a legislature, however, Mason wasn’t sold. “I think it will hurt the small towns like Root and Charleston,” he said. Polls will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The charter proposition is on the back of the ballot.
The Montgomery County charter referendum: Point-counterpoint By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff Root Supervisor John Thayer, the chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, and Dustin Swanger, the chairman of the Montgomery County Charter Commission, were asked to make three points to help explain their respective positions on the proposed charter. Thayer is against the changes, while Swanger supports them. On the executive, who is elected at large and charged with overseeing the county’s day-to-day operations. He or she will appoint department heads, propose a budget, and will have veto powers that can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the legislature. Thayer: “My primary concern is the amount of authority the executive would have. The executive would be able to dic-
The question This is how the proposition on the Montgomery County charter will appear on the ballot on Nov. 6. It will be on the back of the ballot. “Shall Local Law No. 2 of 2012 of Montgomery County be approved - A local law to adopt a charter form of government pursuant to Article 4 of the New York State Municipal Home Rule Law, effective Jan. 1, 2014?” tate to department heads how they run their departments, and how they handle personnel. It would take a two-thirds majority to override the executive’s veto, and we all know how politics are in Montgomery County, so with the right people in place, it might be difficult to override the veto. I don’t particularly have a problem with an executive, but I’m not comfortable with the executive outlined in this charter.” Swanger: “We need to have an executive based on his or her vision of Montgomery County’s future. We need someone elect-
ed who can give us a voice in Albany, because if you ask someone who our chairman is, they either don’t know, or they mention a supervisor who was chair four years ago. There’s no connection because the chairman changes annually. I also think we need someone running the day-to-day operations of the county, because we don’t have that now. Nothing against the supervisors, but I think that’s a mistake.” On the legislature, which would be made up of nine legislators voted from districts that
have equal population to eliminate the weighted voting system in exchange for a one man, one vote system. Town supervisors would still be elected, but would be replaced on the county board by legislators. Thayer: “It removes the local flavor from the Board of Supervisors. For the smaller towns, we don’t have heavy weighted votes, but we definitely have the voice. If you have a supervisor willing to engage, I believe the towns have a voice. When you start carving up the county to create districts, in essence, you lose the voice of the towns. It will be up to a legislator to communicate with the towns, villages and city to ensure their interests are represented at the legislature.” Swanger: “Going to a legislature will give the board specific duties, and will provide checks and balances for the executive, but it’s equally important to go to
legislative districts so the legislators’ focus is on county business, not the town or village business. I also think it’s important to have a one man, one vote system because under the weighted voting system, if you get the right five or six to vote together, they carry the day, and I don’t think that’s dangerous.” On the charter, a document that defines the powers and duties of a government. Thayer: “I’m not entirely satisfied with the language in the charter. I’ve noticed a lot of vagaries in it, like for the auditor. In one part it states the county may have an auditor, and in another, it says the county has to have an auditor.” Swanger: “It gives us a constitution, and we don’t have one. We’re one of only nine counties in the state that operates under the default form of government, and I think we’re playing catch-up.”
Frequently asked questions about the Montgomery County charter By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
The following details frequently asked questions about the charter, and answers to them by Charter Commission member Orrie Eihacker: • What is a county charter? — A charter is a tool that enables county government to organize itself by setting up the basic structure and organization. A charter specifies the powers and authority of the county government. It prescribes procedures for the use of county powers, and also makes it clear who has what power among various agencies and officers of the county. Thus, a charter establishes responsibility and accountability in the exercise of those powers. Montgomery County does not currently have a charter, rather is organized under a structure that has been relatively unchanged since the 1700s. Only nine other counties in the state use this structure. • How did the idea of a charter for Montgomery County come about? — The Board of Supervisors decided it was time to look into the idea of having an elected county executive. State law says in order to set up a new elected position, the county needs to have a charter. In March, the board voted to set up a commission, composed of volunteer community members, to study the idea of a charter so we could have an elected county executive. State law allows counties to have charters to reorganize governments. The board also decided to have the commission study the idea of including a county legislature in the charter. (Fact check: The Board of Supervisors directed the Charter Commission to include provisions for an elected executive in the charter, but gave the commission the option to transfer legislative functions to a legislature, or to retain a Board of Supervisors. The commission chose the legislature.) • Why have an elected county executive? — Right now, the 15-member Board of Supervisors run the county. They work very hard, but they have to oversee a nearly $100 million budget with numerous departments and employees, as well as represent their towns. We need an elected county executive so there is one leader elected by the voters of the county as a whole, to run the county. The Board of Supervisors has hired administrators in the past. However, a hired administrator has to answer to each of the 15 supervisors. If there is a disagreement, the board can fire the administrator, even if people think he or she was doing a great job. An elected executive answers to the voter. The voter decides if the elected executive stays on, each time there is an election. • What does a county executive do? — The charter says the executive is responsible for the “proper administration of all county affairs placed in his or her charge.” The executive acts on, and enforces all laws the legislature enacts. He or
she is responsible for preparing a budget, appointment of department heads, subject to legislature approval, and is responsible for setting the direction of the county for the future. • Can the executive veto bills? — Yes, the charter gives the executive the authority to veto bills voted on by the legislature. The legislature can override the veto with a two-thirds vote. The executive also has line item veto authority over the budget. • What is the term of the executive? Are there term limits? — The executive would be elected to a four-year term, and could serve no more than three full terms. • What about the Board of Supervisors? — Right now, the county has a 15-member Board of Supervisors, consisting of town supervisors and five members from the city of Amsterdam. Town supervisors have two jobs: they supervise their towns, and sit on the Board of Supervisors to legislate and execute countywide issues. Because the towns have different populations, the Board of Supervisors uses a weighted voting system, so the towns with higher populations get higher weighted votes than towns with lower populations. • Why does the commission deem that problematic? — Having town supervisors serve on the county board sometimes causes conflicts between the interests of the towns, and the interests of the county as a whole. With a weighted voting system, it can look as if supervisors from smaller towns have less of a say in county affairs than supervisors from larger towns. • The commission’s choice of a legislature: — Legislators would be elected only to serve in the legislature. Their only job [in that role] would be to run the county and to try to solve problems that affect the county as a whole. Also, each legislator would have one vote. No more weighted votes, because the legislators would be elected from new voting districts that will have approximately an equal number of residents. • What is the term of a legislator, and are there term limits? — Legislators will be elected to three-year terms. There is a limit of four terms, or 12 years, but if a legislator sits out one term after reaching that limit, he or she may run again. • What happens to town supervisors? — Town supervisors are still elected; the charter does not change the towns. • What about the city and the villages? — There will be no change; the charter does not change the city or the villages. • What happens next? — In order to pass, a majority of the city and a majority of the residents of the towns must vote in favor. If it passes, there will be elections for the executive and legislature in November 2013. The charter will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Recorder, November 3, 2012 — 13
CHARTER AT A GLANCE
The following details an abstract of the ballot proposition written by county Attorney Douglas Landon that will be available at the polls Tuesday: • Title of law: Local Law No. 2 of 2012 — A local law adopting a county charter form of government pursuant to Article 4 of the Municipal Home Rule Law. • The current system: Currently, Montgomery County government operates under default rules provided by the state. All executive and legislative powers are held by a board of 15 supervisors. Each of the 10 towns elect a supervisor, who are the executives of their towns, in addition to their duties at the county. Each of the five wards in the city of Amsterdam elects a supervisor, who have functions only at the county. Because of the widely differing sizes of the towns and wards, each supervisor receives a weighted vote on the issues before the Board of Supervisors in proportion to the size of the population they represent. • The proposed county legislature: If adopted, the charter will change county government by abolishing the Board of Supervisors and replacing it with a nine-member Legislature. The members of the Legislature will be elected from nine equally sized districts for a term of three years. Equally sized districts will eliminate the need for weighted voting and comply with the principle of “one man one vote.” The legislature will be the lawmaking and policymaking body for the county. • The proposed county executive: The charter will create the position of executive to oversee the many county departments. The executive will be elected from the county at large for a term of four years. The executive will appoint department heads, subject to approval by the legislature. As budget officer, he or she will propose the county budget, which will then be subject to change by the legislature. He or she will also have a veto over legislation, and a line-item veto over the budget; both veto powers may be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the legislature. • No effect on town and city government: Town and city governments will not be changed by the charter. Town supervisors will continue to exist and will continue their duties as executives of their towns. City aldermen will continue to be elected from the five wards of the city. • Term limits: The county executive will have a lifetime three-term limit. Legislators will be subject to a limit of four consecutive terms. • Sheriff, county clerk, county treasurer, district attorney and county coroners: Under the charter, each of these offices will continue to be elected in the manner they currently are. The powers and duties of each officer will not be affected by the county charter.
Decision time: Three face off in Minden town justice race By JOSHUA THOMAS and LINDA KELLETT For the Recorder
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, three candidates will face off in the election for Town of Minden Justice. The three candidates, Frank J. Alford (Republican), Ronald Bentz (Independence-Conservative), and Cindea Bradley (Democrat), all of Fort Plain, are running for the seat vacated by JuneAnn Rogers. While Rogers’ position wasn’t up for election until 2013, whoever is voted into the position will begin a brand new, four year term. Training will take place following the results of the election, and the new justice will begin January 1, 2013. Voting will take place at two locations, the Minden Town Hall and the Fort Plain Senior Center, from noon to 9 p.m. Republican Frank J. Alford, of Fort Plain, graduated from Middleburgh Central High School, and went on to earn a double Bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College (a major in English and minor in History, and a major in Acting and a minor in Directing). He worked as a professional actor in New York City for a few years, earning spots in prolific productions and national campaigns. He was also the original morning man on WBUG radio, where he worked for ten years on and off. He also
Election 2012 noted that he has training in survival and combat, and ran a search and rescue company for some time. Alford was involved in political activities in Middleburgh years ago, but has not yet served as an elected official. He noted that he is interested in the position of justice because there exists the possibility to give back to the community through service. He explained that he’s also familiar with the legal system, as his father was an attorney in Middleburgh, where Alford served as law clerk for a number of years, providing him valuable experience in legal research. Ronald Bentz, of Fort Plain, is running on the Independence party ticket for the second time. He also secured the Conservative line in the September, 2012 election. He ran six years ago against current Justice Sue Buddles, receiving 178 votes. While that number wasn’t enough to win, it was enough to ensure Bentz that he was on the right path, sticking to his guns in remaining tied to a party he believed in (Independence), refusing to change his party affiliation even at the expense of losing votes. Bentz, a longtime resident of Fort Plain, also attempted to secure a seat on the
Minden Town Council during last year’s November elections, receiving 75 votes to incumbent, Republican candidate Karolann Grimm’s 259 votes, and incumbent, Republican candidate Douglas R. Simmons’ 247 votes He is adamant that if not elected justice November 6, he will continue to work toward a public service position, as it’s something Bentz has always strived for. Bentz has a military background, serving in the United States Air Force where he earned his GED, then attending several colleges. Retiring from U.S. Air in 2002, Bentz said he worked for several different airlines over his 22 year career in that field. Bentz noted that his travels, which brought him all over the United States — the fact that he’s interacted with people from all walks of life— have prepared him for the position of justice, as he believes in equal rights. He believes that he has the ability to treat anybody that might come before him with equal fairness. While she may have lived in Fort Plain less than a decade, Democrat Cindea Bradley is no newcomer to politics or involvement in her adopted hometown. One of two elected assessors for the town of Minden and a principle account clerk currently employed by Montgomery County, the California native and single mom was working as a fraud investigator
for AT&T Wireless when she moved to the Mohawk Valley in June 2004. Now 57, Bradley is not afraid to tackle new challenges. Although she completed coursework at the American River College and Heald’s Business College in California, she never earned a college degree. She’s currently taking classes at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, where she’s working toward an Associate’s degree in Accounting and/or Business Administration. “It’s never too late to go back to school,” she said, noting that she’s passed mandatory coursework associated with her assessor’s position and is doing well in her classes at FMCC. She’s also been a familiar figure in the courtroom of Minden Justice Susan Buddles. Bradley said she’s the only candidate for the available justice post who has gone to court virtually every Monday night for the past four months in order to learn about the position. “They send you to training and they teach you what the law is and you have to do things within the law. I’m a nice person and I always try to find the best in people, but some people you need to get tough on,” Bradley said. She added, “I’m intelligent, fair and honest... What qualifies me the most is my enthusiasm, I strive for excellence, I promise to do a good job, and I can pass the tests.”
Amsterdam council discusses several issues.
Get a listing of this weekend’s local music scene.
Local soccer standouts shine in tournament.
• PAGE 3
• PAGE 12
• PAGE 24
Recorder AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK
THURSDAY November 8, 2012
Serving the Mohawk Valley since 1878
Ballots impounded in tight state Senate race By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Trailing opponent Cecilia Tkaczyk by a whisker in the race for the 46th state Senate District, George Amedore Jr. filed an order Wednesday to impound the machines and ballots across the five county district. The unofficial tally favors Tkaczyk by 139 votes, but nearly thousands of absentee and affidavit ballots need to be counted throughout Schenectady, Montgomery,
Greene, Ulster and Albany counties. The order was filed in Montgomery County Supreme Court, and a judge will likely determine recount procedures, including how and when the absentee and affidavit ballots are opened. “It’s typical in any close race,” Amedore Spokesman Kris Thompson of the impound. “It’s ensuring the integrity of
the election.” Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said the order was faxed to his office, and mandates a deputy’s presence to open or close the machine and ballot storage room at the Park AMEDORE Street election board. “We locked it up tonight and took the key,” Amato said Wednesday evening. The order has been modified so that the
deputy doesn’t need to stand guard at the election board, Amato said, but the storage room can only be locked or unlocked in the presence of both the Republican and Democratic commissioners. TKACZYK Both candidates declared victory in the race Tuesday night, Please see IMPOUND, Page 5
Voters make historic pick
Measure to change county government passes easily Inside
By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Heather Nellis/Recorder staff
St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano, right, references a Power Point presentation on county finances Wednesday during a meeting with department heads and union representatives at the county annex building on Park Street in Fonda Wednesday. Pictured with Stagliano is Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Thayer.
The cards on the table Supervisors break down use of fund balance By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
FONDA — In what some Montgomery County supervisors hoped would foster an understanding of the 2013 budget process, the Finance Committee on Wednesday relayed the county’s fiscal state to department heads and some union representatives. “The supervisors are criticized for not having two- and threeyear budget plans,” said Chairman and Root Supervisor John Thayer. “It’s time to have a plan.”
Thayer, St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano and county Treasurer Shawn Bowerman led the illustrated presentation, which focused heavily on the county’s fund balance, and the supervisors reliance of those reserves in balancing the budget. Bowerman’s $92 million preliminary plan released Oct. 1 uses $1.34 million in fund balance and does not cut any positions. He cited the board’s self-described historical tendency to reinstate cuts he’s proposed. “Because of the overuse of fund balance the last five years, you’ll
see the chart go in the drastically wrong direction,” Bowerman said. “You can see a direct correlation to balance the past budgets.” “We don’t learn from our mistakes,” Bowerman said later. “It’s a 10-year viscous cycle with the fund balance.” The problem with that, Stagliano said, is the means that raised the fund balance to its former height are no longer options: sale of the county’s former nursing home, stimulus money, and Please see BUDGET, Page 5
A breakdown of the vote
Nearly 8,000 voters on Tuesday agreed it was time to change the centuries-old structure of Montgomery County’s government. Unofficial tallies indicate a pair of necessary majorities were met to approve a charter that establishes a legislature and an elected executive post. More more than 1,000 absentee and affidavit ballots still need to be counted, however, and the results have to be certified. The unofficial results say the charter was approved in the city of Amsterdam by a margin of 2,665-1,339, and cumulatively approved in the 10 towns by 5,299-3,645. Many local officials admitted their surprise of not only the outcome, but the turnout. “I truly never thought I’d live to see the day, having served on
• Page 5
three county charter commissions going back to when I was still in law school in 1977-78,” said Charter Commission member Robert Going. The charter transfers the authority of the 15-member Board of Supervisors to a nine-member legislature. If the election numbers hold, the charter will be instituted in 2014, with elections held for the legislators and executive in 2013. Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington, who headed the Board of Supervisors Government Study Committee this year, said the districts and its corresponding map will be finalized by the county Planning Department in the upcoming Please see COUNTY, Page 5
INSIDE Comics ..........................11 Classifieds ..............16-19 Crossword ....................17 Happenings ....................4 Lottery numbers ............5 Nation/world..............2, 10 Obituaries........................4 Opinion ............................8 Sports ......................20-24
Mostly sunny, with highs in the lower 40s.
• Page 9
from page 1
months. He said the map needs to be completed by June, when the political process kicks off with petition pickup. Having supported a change in county government the past 27 years, Coddington said he’s pleased with the referendum results. “I’m very surprised. I thought it might pass maybe in the city and fail in the towns, or vice versa, but the plurality is very telling. There are 8,000 people ready for change,” he said. “This is 25 years overdue,” said St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano, who was also surprised by the results, and the turnout. “If it passed, and only 50 to 100 people voted on it, I thought maybe that would be unfair, but I never expected close to 13,000 people to jump in.” This is the first time that the Board of Supervisors allowed a public vote on a proposed charter. “They are much to be commended, as they did so knowing that the result could be a substantial, if not total loss of personal power and authority,” Going said. “That showed great character, especially people like the late [Board of Supervisors Chairman and Charleston Supervisor] Shayne Walters, who allowed the people to decide, though he may have personally opposed its passage.” Currently, 10 supervisors are elected to serve their town governments, and they also serve on the county board, with five supervisors elected from each of the city of Amsterdam’s wards. Supervisors will still be elected to serve the 10 town governments, but will no longer serve the county board. Instead, nine legislators will be chosen from districts that have equal population. The charter directs the elected executive to oversee the county departments. He or she will appoint department heads (subject to the legislature’s approval), propose a budget, and will have veto powers that can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the legislature. The measure failed in the town of Charleston, and in Palatine voting District 3. It was approved at all other 46 voting districts, unofficial results indicate. Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, who’s against the charter, said democracy prevailed.
By the numbers The following details the unofficial results of the Montgomery County charter referendum by municipality. Numbers compiled using data from the county Board of Elections: Municipality City of Amsterdam Town of Amsterdam Canajoharie Town of Florida Glen Minden Mohawk Palatine Root St. Johnsville
Yes 2,665 1,129 580 506 399 615 765 425 273 413
No 1,339 682 391 367 220 444 434 341 263 200
“The voters have spoken, and we’ll just have to see what it provides,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people know what’s in the 27-page document.” DiMezza said though the county will save money from six less stipends paid to legislators, he’s concerned about the salary that will be necessary to lure qualified candidates to run for the executive post. “There’s no way this form of government isn’t going to cost money. You can’t get an executive of a $93 million budget for $60,000.” The Board of Supervisors will set the salaries for the legislators and the executive in the next year. Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito “Butch” Greco agreed the changes won’t be budget-neutral, but thinks having a day-to-day executive to oversee operations might lead to savings in the future. “I think the legislative body is excellent, I believe in it,” Greco said. “My big concern is the individual who applies to be the executive. There are no qualifications, and if the wrong person gets in there, the county could be in deep trouble. My advice to the voters is when the time comes, make sure the person you choose is a qualified individual. If we get the right individual, we’re golden.”
from page 1
the outcome of which likely won’t be known for weeks while the ballots are recounted. Tkaczyk said Wednesday, “I am confident that when all votes are counted, I will maintain my lead.” Thompson said Amedore is confident the race will turn to his favor, however. “We launched an ambitious pro-
Recorder, Thursday, November 8, 2012 — 5
gram for the absentee ballots,” he said. In Montgomery County alone, 1,070 absentee ballots were returned, of which 387 are Democratic, and 502 Republican, according to election officials. The Senate District is said to have been drawn for Amedore, the five year Republican assemblyman who raised five times the
amount of campaign contributions than his opponent, a Democratic farmer and school board member. Tkaczyk’s campaign saw a lastminute upswing, however, when a pair of downstate political action groups took to her calls for campaign finance reform, dedicating a half million dollars for mailers and TV ads.
to consider merging departments like the Youth Bureau with Fulton County, and to consider how it would save the counties money if Fulton-Montgomery Community College became a state institution. “The department heads have a job to do, and we don’t expect them to take a slash and burn on their budgets,” Stagliano said. “I hope what they took away from it was an appreciation of what the financial condition of the county is, and how we’re better of planning our future instead of reacting.” CSEA Unit President Edward Russo said he was glad the supervisors took the time to have the presentation. “I think my biggest point is labor wants to work with management, and some supervisors think the answer is just to lay people off. They need to meet with us to tell us what’s going on, like they just did, because cutting people just means they’re cutting services.” Sheriff Michael Amato, who stands to lose five deputies under
the most recent budget proposal, had mixed feelings about it. He’s had two long-time investigators resign to work for the Gloversville Police Department in the past months. “I’m glad they had the presentation, but I feel it’s too late. It’s November. They’ve given us three or four budgets, and I’m disgusted what they’ve done. It’s killing the morality of my department to have those kind of cuts.”
from page 1
increasing the county’s sales tax rate from 3 percent to 4 percent. “There’s no nursing home to sell, there will be no sales tax increase,” he said. The Finance Committee’s 2013 budget recommendation to the board includes 35 layoffs, eliminates all outside agency funding, doesn’t use fund balance, and stays within the state-imposed tax cap. Currently, the presentation indicated, the fund balance rests at $6 million. If Bowerman’s recommendation to use $1.3 million in fund balance is enacted, it would bring it down to about $4.6 million. “The goal,” said Bowerman, “is to keep the fund balance at that level. Even $4.6 million is low for a $93 million budget. The lowest the state recommends is no less than 5 percent of the budget, and that $4.6 million is close to that.” So what the supervisors asked from the audience was suggestions how the county could move forward to change the way it does business. Some of the ideas were
WEEK’S POLL AT
DO STORES AND OTHER BUSINESSES START PUTTING OUT CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SALES AND DISPLAYS TOO EARLY?
ON AND VOTE TODAY!
UNBELIEVABLE BUYS! Beer & Light
$ 12 pk. cans
30 pk. cans
30 pk. cans
Bill’s Beverage Co. Corner of Park St. & Locust Ave. M. - F.: 9 - 6 Sat.: 9 - 5
Official: NY emergency boss fired in Sandy flap ALBANY (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has fired his $153,000-a-year emergency management director for diverting a crew to remove a tree from his Long Island home’s driveway after Superstorm Sandy hit, a state official said Wednesday. Director of Emergency Management Steven Kuhr was fired after the governor was told that Kuhr called a Suffolk County crew to remove a fallen tree from his driveway, according to the official. Kuhr was working in Albany at the time last week, shortly after Sandy hit. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the personnel decision wasn’t announced. A spokesman for Cuomo declined to comment. The New York Times first reported the action. Cuomo appointed Kuhr in October 2011 as executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Homeland
Security and Emergency Services. There was no answer at Kuhr’s office Wednesday night and a phone number listed in his name was not working. The action comes as Cuomo has bitterly criticized utilities for what he said has been slow progress restoring power to customers from the Hudson Valley through Long Island. Most of the power has been restored to more than 2 million customers who lost electricity because of Sandy, though lights started flickering off again Wednesday night as a new storm raked the region. Kuhr previously was president of Strategic Emergency Group, a consulting firm that had contracts with New York City, the state and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, according to the news release announcing his appointment. Kuhr had also worked for New York City for 20 years including with the fire department.
Professor, wife in apparent murder-suicide FRANKLIN (AP) — Police say an upstate New York college professor and his wife are dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond says the bodies of Willis and Wendy Brown were found at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday in their home in the village of Franklin, 40 miles northeast of Binghamton. He says both had been shot, but won’t say who opened fire or when they died until autopsies are concluded. Brown was an assistant professor of applied sciences and building technologies at the State University of New York Delhi. Wendy Brown worked as a financial adviser. A spokesman for the school says the campus was shaken by the deaths and counseling was made available to students. DuMond says the investigation is continuing, with more information likely available today.
Lottery numbers ALBANY (AP) — Here are the New York Lottery numbers selected Wednesday: MIDDAY DAILY: 2-0-2 LUCKY SUM: 4 MIDDAY WINFOUR: 4-2-9-0 LUCKY SUM: 15 EVENING DAILY: 5-1-7 LUCKY SUM: 13 EVENING WINFOUR: 8-0-8-5 LUCKY SUM: 21 PICK 10: 1-4-10-16-18-25-28-30-36-40-45-46-48-63-67-70-7477-78-80 TAKE FIVE: 1-15-21-27-33 LOTTO: 12-17-21-23-26-51 BONUS: 34
Daily Bridge Club by Frank Stewart Tribune Media Services
Taking a stand
Day of honor
Ilion defends Remington factory amid new gun ban.
Nation remembers Martin Luther King Jr. on day of Obama inauguration.
Galway girls basketball team succeeds without star power.
• PAGE 5
• PAGE 8
• PAGE 16
Recorder AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK
January 22, 2013
Serving the Mohawk Valley since 1878
‘Our journey is not complete’ Term II: US must help poor, elderly, Obama says By DAVID ESPO The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Turning the page on years of war and recession, President Barack Obama summoned a divided nation Monday to act with “passion and dedication” to broaden equality and prosperity at home, nurture democracy around the world and combat global warming as he embarked on a second term before a vast and cheering crowd that spilled down the historic National Mall. “America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands,” the 44th president declared in a second inaugural address that broke new ground by assigning gay rights a prominent place in the wider struggle for equality for all. In a unity plea to politicians and the nation at large, he called for “collective action” to confront challenges and said, “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.” Elected four years ago as America’s first black president, Obama spoke from specially constructed flag-bedecked stands outside the Capitol after reciting oath of office that all presidents have uttered since the nation’s founding. Please see OBAMA, Page 2
INSIDE Chance of snow, cloudy with a high near 17.
• Page 8 Comics ............................7 Classifieds ..............10-12 Crossword ....................11 Happenings ....................4 Entertainment ................9 Lottery numbers ............3 Nation/world................2, 8 Obituaries........................4 Opinion ............................6 Sports ......................13-16
AHS musicians compete, then take in ceremony By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
The Associated Press
President Barack Obama waves after his ceremonial swearing-in Monday at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington.
The Amsterdam High School Marching Rams and Jazz Band stacked five awards this weekend in a trip to a Washington, D.C. music festival, and took advantage of the location in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech Monday. “The students loved every minute of it,” said Director Michael Perry. “Just being down here was a phenomenal experience, to be apart of the crowd and the excitement.” Perry said he’d originally applied for the band to have participated in the inaugural parade, in which the president parades down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Sixteen marching bands are chosen from roughly 2,800 applications, Perry said. And even though the Marching Rams wasn’t chosen, Perry decided to make the trip anyway to compete Saturday in a Presidential Inauguration Festival, organized by the student travel organization Brightspark.
Please see AHS, Page 2
Proposed district changes spark controversy By HEATHER NELLIS Recorder News Staff
Montgomery County election officials’ proposed revisions of the Charter Commission’s legislative district map have sparked allegations of gerrymandering. The Board of Supervisors is set to adopt a map of its discretion tonight at its monthly meeting, where Republican election Commissioner Terrance Smith is expected to explain changes he recommended with Deputy Democratic Commissioner Caroline Swartz. A public hearing on the proposed local law is scheduled before the meeting at 6:45 p.m. It will take place in the supervisors chambers at 64 Broadway, Fonda. The election board’s recommended changes would primarily shift district boundaries in the city that were initially outlined by the county Charter Commission. Of the 1,842
residents that would be moved under the election board proposal, 1,492 are city residents. It would move the residences Amsterdam Republican Committee Chairman and 1st Ward Supervisor Vito “Butch” Greco and 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald J. Barone Sr. into separate districts. That would prevent them from having to run against each other in a primary, like the commission’s map would, if they both choose to seek election to the new legislature this fall. Democratic Committee Chairwoman Bethany Schumann-McGhee said she thinks the changes are politically motivated. “There’s no justification for the changes other than protecting Republican incumbents. I think the non-partisan commission’s lines are much more fair.” The map drawn and endorsed by the county Charter Commission would require all but one incumbent — Conservative Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara — to pit
against one another in elections this year if they chose to run for the legislature. Eleven of the 15 sitting supervisors are Republicans. But Republicans say the changes are tied to money saving measures in ensuring the county won’t need voting districts for an absurdly small number of people. For example, at a special board meeting in December, Smith said the commission’s map stands to create an election district in Fort Plain for three people. In a memo written by county Senior Planner Doug Greene to the Board of Supervisors, Greene said Smith proposed the changes, and included before and after maps. Smith said that was “misinformation,” because he worked on the changes with Swartz. He said he wasn’t sure why Democratic Commissioner Jamie Duchessi didn’t work on the review. Please see DISTRICT, Page 3
Recorder, Tuesday, January 22, 2013 â€” 3
State Police: Amsterdam man dead in crash; driver jailed CHARLTON â€” A 24-year-old man is accused of driving on drugs and causing the motor vehicle collision on Route 67 Sunday evening that killed Glenn L. Smith, 50, of Amsterdam. State Police said Marcus R. Young, of Granville, was charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while ability impaired by drugs and numerous traffic violations as a result of the crash. He was reportedly traveling westbound on Route 67 at 4:55 p.m., crossed the center of the roadway into the eastbound lane, striking Smith's oncoming vehicle. Smith was transported from the scene by Galway Ambulance to Saratoga Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Young was arraigned in Charlton town court and remanded to the Saratoga County jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. Additional information was not available Monday. â€” Heather Nellis
Carla Kolbe/For the Recorder
The Mayfield Lake Polar Plunge on Saturday morning officially kicked off the second annual Mayfield Community Winter Carnival which proved to more than double in attendance, add more activities and bring in more vendors from last winters premiere event, over the weekend. Event volunteer and organizer Terri Brubaker of the Mayfield Community Group said the event has grown in popularity and is here to stay. Aside from the polar plunge, activities included were sno-box derby, kids ice fishing contest, tug of war, out house races, skating, x-c skiing, snowshoeing, hockey, volleyball, broom ball, skating, games, vintage sled show, food and beverages. The ice skating rink will remain open for winter and weather permitting. A Mayfield Community Group meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. at the Mayfield Municipal Building, on School Street. New volunteers are encouraged to attend. ABOVE: Mayfield Mayor Jamie Ward redeems himself, wetsuit free, and being the first to plunge into the icy Mayfield Lake water on Saturday morning. BELOW: Polar Plunge coordinator and Mayfield Jr./Sr. High School Principal Rob Husain, at center, takes the plunge.
IN BRIEF AARP to offer free tax service
electronically and any refunds can be deposited into personal savings or checking accounts. This is usually accomplished within seven to ten days. Seniors desiring assistance must bring with them the following: A valid social security card or social security 1099 statement; 2012 W-2 forms (wages); 2012 1099 forms (interest, dividends, stock sales, social security benefits); 2012 information on amounts paid out for mortgage interest, real estate and school taxes, charitable contributions and medical expenses if you intend to itemize deductions. Assistance is also available in completing the IT 214-Claim for Real Property Tax Credit for Homeowners and Renters. You will need information on town/county, village and school taxes for the completion of this application. Call 673-2943 for any further questions.
CANAJOHARIE -- Beginning in February, trained volunteers from the American Association of Retired Persons, will be available to assist seniors with the preparation of their tax forms at Arkell Center located on Montgomery St. in Canajoharie. This service is a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service to provide seniors with assistance in the completion of both their federal and state returns. Volunteers will be at the Arkell Center every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning Feb. 13. It is necessary to make an appointment by calling 6732943. The AARP Tax Aid Program is a nationwide service and volunteer counselors are required to complete a training course each year and pass an IRS certification exam. All information is confidential. Returns are filed
from page 1
Smith said he didnâ€™t write the aforementioned memo with Greene, and said he didnâ€™t have written reference materials to detail the justification for each proposed change, though he said it likely would have been appropriate. When asked to justify the changes, Smith only pointed to one that would prevent a 38-person election district on Amsterdamâ€™s South Side. â€œIf the numbers are that small, it doesnâ€™t make sense economically,â€? Smith said Friday. â€œWeâ€™re required to have four inspectors man a table in each election district.â€? When asked to comment on the allegations he crafted the boundaries to favor Republicans, Smith said, â€œThatâ€™s interesting, because Iâ€™m hearing itâ€™s impacted Republican incumbents worse.â€? Smith said he didnâ€™t work with supervisors on his revisions, and wasnâ€™t aware of their addresses. Greco defended the voting district argument, but said he wonâ€™t support the revisions when the Board of Supervisors votes to adopt a map tonight. He echoed other supervisorsâ€™ support of the commission-endorsed map, as it was posted at polling sites and
R. & A. WAITE, INC. Income Tax Preparation Accepting New Clients
Available Year Round 18 North Perry St., Johnstown, NY
accompanied voter education materials on the charter. â€œThe changes are not for the Republican party. But as far as Vito â€˜Butchâ€™ Greco is concerned, Iâ€™m against it. The charter commission came up with a map, and I want it to stay the way it was. I will not support any major revisions to the original maps.â€? Greco said heâ€™s unsure if he will be able attend tonightâ€™s meeting, but his absence would mark a â€œnoâ€? vote, anyway. Greco said he agreed with Amsterdam Democratic Committee Chairman and 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeff Stark, who issued a pair of analyses on the changes. Stark deemed them â€œunnecessary.â€? His first memo looked at the impact of the changes in terms of the number of residents shifted from one district to another. Stark ultimately agreed some minor changes are necessary, and those changes will result in moving 116 residents county-wide.
But of moving nearly 1,500 residents in the city, Stark deemed that â€œneedless.â€? Starkâ€™s other memo considers the financial impact that Smith referenced. Moving the aforementioned 116 residents would allow for the elimination of 11 election districts, and Stark estimates that would save $5,500. But of the changes that move an additional 1,842 residents, Stark says it wonâ€™t eliminate any more election districts, so it wonâ€™t save any additional money. He said it would save the same amount whether the people are moved or not. â€œTherefore, again, I view the additional proposed changes as unnecessary.â€? Whether the maps are altered is of the discretion of the board. â€œThe supervisors will make the final choice where the boundaries go,â€? Smith said. â€œThey asked for my recommendation, and if they donâ€™t agree with it, they donâ€™t have to vote that way.â€?
Do you or someone you know suffer from constant â€œringing in the ears?â€?
We might be able to help you!
80 Audiology & Hearing Aids
AMSTERDAM 109 Polar Plaza - 620-4267 MAYFIELD 2431 Rt. 30N - 620-4611 www.hearforyou.info
ALBANY (AP) â€” Here are the winning New York Lottery numbers selected Monday: MIDDAY DAILY: 8-5-7 LUCKY SUM: 20 MIDDAY WINFOUR: 5-0-7-6 LUCKY SUM: 18 EVENING DAILY: 3-1-2 LUCKY SUM: 6 EVENING WINFOUR: 0-9-8-0 LUCKY SUM: 17 PICK 10: 2-3-7-15-16-17-25-32-34-41-48-50-55-57-59-62-6475-77-80 TAKE FIVE: 7-9-12-26-38 SWEET MILLION: 1-5-14-15-21-36
ST. MARYâ€™S INSTITUTE
10 Kopernik Blvd., Amsterdam, NY 12010 /FF 5PPER #HURCH 3T 2OUTE %
PANCAKE BREAKFAST & OPEN HOUSE Sunday, January 27 8 am to 1 pm ADULTS s CHILDREN
TOURS LE! V A AILAB
"REAKFAST INCLUDES 0ANCAKES SAUSAGE SCRAMBLED EGGS HOME FRIES AND BEVERAGE
ST. MARYâ€™S INSTITUTE OFFERS: â€˘ Early Childhood-8th Grade â€˘ Full-day Programs for Early Childhood and Pre-K â€˘ Before and After School Care â€˘ All Faiths Welcome!
For tickets or information, please call 842-4100 Tickets available at the door!