Two significant events took place at the County Courthouse facilities on Monday, March 28, 2016. For me, the more significant event took place at 11:00 a.m. A Vietnam Veterans Memorial Service took place in front of the Courthouse. This ceremony represented a long overdue expression of thanks that many Vietnam veterans had not received upon their return home after serving overseas.
Hundreds of similar events were held across the U.S. on Monday and Tuesday (March 28th & 29th) to commemorate “Vietnam Veterans Day.” This unofficial observance coincides with the final withdrawal of combat units and support personnel from South Vietnam on March 29th, 1973. These ceremonies were part of an ongoing effort to honor American troops who served during the Vietnam War era. When Vietnam veterans came home from the unpopular Vietnam War 50 years ago they didn¹t get the fanfare, appreciation or welcome that veterans typically get today. These ceremonies represented a belated welcome home to those veterans and to make sure that they felt the thanks and appreciation that today’s veterans receive. Vietnam War era veterans are those who served between November 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975. I served during the Vietnam era (though not actually in Vietnam). I want to express my thanks to those who served with me, and to those who organized Monday’s ceremony. It was greatly appreciated.
The second event was the regular monthly meeting of the Legislature. At 2 p.m. former Army Specialist Fourth Class Lynda Jones, of Friendship, led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lynda served from September 10, 1974 through September 9, 1977, and again from October 17, 1978 through February 29, 1980. Her service is greatly appreciated. Chairman Curt Crandall issued a Proclamation declaring March 29, 2016 as Vietnam Veterans’ Day in Allegany County.
The County Legislature considered 20 different resolutions. Many were routine, but several stand out as having special significance. Resolution #78-16 amending Local Law #3 of 1992 to Prescribe the Qualifications, Term of Office, Powers and Duties, and Process for Removal of the County Administrator, was approved unanimously. These changes had been thoroughly debated and considered, and were probably long overdue. Resolution #79-16 approved an increase of more than $30,000 in the salary of the District Attorney. Five Legislators, including myself, voted against this State mandated resolution. The State Constitution, Statute of Local Governments, Municipal Home Rule Law and County Law, all state that the County Board of Legislators has exclusive authority to establish the salaries for county officials, including the District Attorney. However, the State now establishes salaries for District Attorneys, but requires the County Legislature to “rubberstamp” its decision. This is both illegal and offensive. If the State wants to increase the salaries of County officials it can undoubtedly do so by changing the laws, and paying for the increases. The highest court in the State, the Court of Appeals, has reviewed and approved this situation. However, I believe the Court is mistaken on this issue.
Resolution #80-16 changed the date of the second regular meeting of the Board in July. That meeting will now be held on July 21, 2016, at the County Fairgrounds in Angelica. Resolution #81-16 corrected an earlier resolution regarding the amount of space being rented from the County IDA at the Crossroads Commerce Center in Belvidere. Resolution #82-16 was withdrawn. Resolution #883-16 called upon the State Legislature and Governor to share DMV revenue with counties in a more equitable manner. Resolution #84-16 confirmed the appointment of Corinne Davis, Deborah Hint, Robert Starks, Kim Bolander and Tammy Kokot to the County Youth Board. Resolution #85-16 approved the appointment of Jerry Scott to the Southern Tier Extension Railroad Authority. Resolution #86-16 approved the purchase of six vehicles for various county departments. Resolutions #87-16 and #88-16 repealed Resolutions #17-16 and #52-16, which were determined to be unnecessary. Resolution #89-16 expressed support for funding for farmland preservation.
Resolutions #90-16 through #96-16 dealt with the transfer of funds between various accounts, and acceptance and re-appropriation of funds. Resolution #96-16 approved a contract with Maximus Consulting Services, Inc. Resolution #97-16 accepted bids from three landfill operators for the disposal of solid waste. These facilities will replace the County Landfill which is nearly filled up.