We view the news that Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell will not seek re-election with disappointment.
Crowell, 37, said Monday that his commitment to the U.S. Army reserves would make it difficult for him to remain in the important county post to which he was elected by a razor-thin margin in 2009.
Crowell, of Middlefield, believed to be the first-ever Democrat to be elected treasurer in the county, has been on active duty since January.
“It’s just not compatible with military service” he said about being treasurer, adding that were he to be reactivated, it would probably be for a longer period than his current nine-months.
When this newspaper endorsed Crowell in October 2009, we said “we want the treasurer to do more than just number-crunching — … we want a treasurer who will look at the big picture of the county’s finances and offer creative solutions. …”
This, Crowell has done, even as the county has struggled with financial challenges, including extricating itself from MOSA and determining the future of the Otsego Manor nursing home.
If nothing else, Crowell’s calm, competent tenure has been a welcome contrast to that of his predecessor, Myrna Thayne, who frequently clashed with the county board of representatives.
Thayne worked with the board on a 2007 budget that mistakenly raised the tax levy 22 percent. After the problem was detected, the board refunded the excess to taxpayers. The board refused to approve her budgets in 2008 and 2009.
Crowell’s intention to exit leaves the county in a bit of a pickle, which he certainly could have and should have avoided.
In January, announcing a leave of absence from being treasurer, he said he intended to run for re-election and would begin to campaign in earnest in October.
Because he missed the July 15 deadline for withdrawing his nomination, as of now, Crowell’s name will remain on the November ballot. He said that he only learned of that date upon returning home on leave, but if he was contemplating ending his tenure, he owed it to Otsego County citizens to be better-informed.
Otsego County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross said she believes it will be impossible for Crowell to have his name removed from the ballot.
Crowell has endorsed Russ Bachman, who became interim treasurer Feb. 1, as his successor. Bachman, an independent, would have to get at least 1,000 signatures by Aug. 15 to get his name on the ballot.
Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate said the Democratic executive committee, after Crowell’s decision, has endorsed Bachman. The Republicans have yet to determine their candidate.
Amid all the uncertainty about the important county post, we wish Crowell, an Army captain serving his country honorably, continued success and happiness.