SERVING THE PUBLIC GOOD

The March 13th session of the Allegany County Legislature had some unusual elements. It began, as usual, with the Pledge of Allegiance. Former Air Force Airman First Class Bobbi Foster led us in reciting the Pledge. She enlisted in the Air Force on December 14, 1984, and served until June 29, 1987. Her primary assignment was as an Administration Specialist. She has worked, until recently, for the Veterans Administration. She lives in Andover, with her husband.

Privilege of the Floor was granted to John Padlo and interns from the BOCES Government Internship program. They are receiving “hands-on” experience in how local government works. Director Kathryn Boyle-Kirsch of the Allegany County Association for the Blind gave a presentation on the services provided by that organization. Representatives from several County agencies and departments were available to answer questions, and new reports were received from additional county agencies.

Eight separate resolutions were considered and approved by the Legislature. Resolution #32-17 was taken “off the table” for consideration. It approved an appropriation of $8,000 for the Allegany County Association For the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Inc. This resolution had been previously tabled to gather additional information about its programs. That information was delivered during “Privilege of the Floor.” This resolution was approved by a vote of 12 ayes, and 2 noes, with 2 legislators absent. Resolution #45-17 approved the creation of one full-time position of Account Clerk Typist in the Office For the Aging (“OFA”). Resolution #46-17 created 3 part-time positions of typist in OFA. These positions will actually allow the County to reduce staffing expense in OFA. Resolution #47-17 re-appropriated $4,497 for the County Comprehensive Planning School Grant. Resolution #48-17 accepted and appropriated a $434 insurance payment from NYMIR for damage to a DPW vehicle. Resolution #49-17 approved an agreement with the Allegany County Agricultural Society (“County Fair Board”) for $8,000. Resolution #50-17 approved a lease with Sanzo GT, LLC, for office space for the Cancer Services Program at 20-24 Water Street, in Cuba, at a monthly rental rate of $541.50.

Resolution #51-17 sought approval for an electric purchase agreement through MEGA (Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance) between the County and Constellation Energy Services of NY, Inc. This agreement will run from now until December 31, 2018. It is projected that this will generate considerable savings for the County over the next 21 months. The exact amount cannot be ascertained until the period has expired, and we can compare the rates we paid with the rates available through our regular utility provider. I think this shows prudent analysis, and creative planning that should save the county significant sums.

After acting on all of the resolutions the Board conducted its audit of the approved bills and expenses, and then approved payment of those amounts. This was approved by unanimous vote of the Legislators present. At that point Chairman Crandall informed the Legislature that I had requested and been granted Privilege of the Floor. I delivered some comments that reviewed my time of service as a Legislator. I then announced that I needed to “resign” from the Board. My service had started on January 1, 2006, and ended on March 13th, 2017. Recent changes in my law practice have made it necessary for me to spend more time on the legal work that “ actually pays the bills.” While challenging and rewarding, my service as a Legislator has been rendered at the expense of time spent on my full-time job and with my family. Much remains to be done, but there are many qualified individuals who can serve and work to achieve further progress.

My comments emphasized several points. Although there are differences of opinion and disagreements about specifics, I am confident that every legislator serves out of a sincere desire to improve conditions in our County. We just differ on how to accomplish that objective. I believe that each individual can make a difference, and urge others to give serious consideration to serving at the village, town, school district, or county level. It has been a privilege to serve as your Legislator for the past 11 years.

 

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