Delaware officials make 2009 appointments
By Matthew J. Perry
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors announced the reappointment of its chief officers at its organizational meeting on Jan. 7. Chairman Jim Eisel, Vice Chairman Tina Mole, Budget Director John Meredith and Clerk of the Board Christa Schaeffer will continue to serve in those positions for 2009.
Eisel thanked the board for its support and stated that there would be no changes to the standing committee memberships. He then took the opportunity to set the tone for what is promising to be a difficult year for county government.
The chairman took issue with Governor Paterson’s recent statements that suggest all New Yorkers will “share the pain” of budget cuts. “I feel the state must reduce the size of government, so that taxpayers have additional money to spend in their pockets, not additional taxes that will only prolong the downturn.”
Eisel also called on all county department heads to draw their purse strings tighter and do all that is possible to eliminate waste. “We have to be careful about spending and new hires and [minimize] travel outside of the county.
“Stay tuned,” he concluded. “It’s going to be an interesting, bumpy ride.”
The board’s first resolution appointed Janice Burdock as the county’s Democratic Election Commissioner. She replaces William Buccheri, who stepped down last year. The board also reappointed Tom Briggs as Director of Office of the Aging, and Lisa Barrows as the STOP DUI Commissioner.
The resolution to reappoint Briggs passed unanimously; Barrows’ reappointment also passed, but five supervisors, including Eisel and Andes’ Marty Donnelly, opposed it. Neither one directly criticized Barrows’s work at STOP DUI; Donnelly stated that she made “remarkable progress” in the department over the last four years. But both cited a disagreement Barrows had with county attorney Richard Spinney, which resulted in Barrows filing a complaint against Spinney with the Professional Standards and Legal Ethics Committee. That committee declared the charge unfounded, according to Spinney.
“The charge went nowhere and it was unconscionable,” Eisel said. “She probably does a good job, but I voted in defense of my county attorney, who I think does a very good job.”
The board also passed a resolution in support of a continuing effort in the county to define the economic impact of New York City’s land acquisition program. Watershed Commissioner Dean Frazier explained that the state’s Local Government Efficiency Program could be a source of funding for the next phase of impact analysis, which will include a new county comprehensive plan that is in an early stage of development.
Frazier explained that the goal is for all county towns to link with the county’s comprehensive plan by incorporating shared data, analysis and vision statements in their own plans. This effort, coupled with an environmental impact study commissioned by the county that is expected to be completed next month, is part of an ongoing attempt by watershed municipalities to marshal clear, defensible arguments that detail the negative effects of land acquisition on the local economy.
“Once the EIS comes back in, we can’t be stepped on so easily,” Frazier told the board.
The board expressed unanimous approval for the efforts of the planning board, which is leading the effort to draft the comprehensive plan, and watershed affairs. Colchester Supervisor Bob Homovich declared that all county residents should be aware of the implications of the land acquisition program, which will continue through 2017. “The city makes it clear that the economic development of Delaware County is not in their best interest,” he said.
Masonville’s Craig DuMond agreed. “Most people just don’t comprehend the gravity of the situation.”