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January 9, 2014

Eisel picked to lead Delaware board again

By Cheryl Petersen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — DELHI — Jim Eisel was re-elected chairman, and Bovina Supervisor Tina Mole was elected vice chair by overwhelming margins Wednesday in the first 2014 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

After the election, Eisel began conducting the meeting and was greeted by three demonstrators who oppose the New York Safety Track in Harpersfield. They held up handwritten signs showing their displeasure with Eisel. 

“There is no demonstrating in a board room,” said Eisel. “Remove the signs or I’ll call an authority in to remove you.”

The signs were put down. One, however, faced outward.

“Turn it around so I don’t have to look at it,” said Eisel, who said “thank you” after the sign was turned away.

Eisel was the only supervisor nominated for the chairman position. Town of Andes Supervisor Marty Donnelly, who nominated Eisel, said: “Mr. Eisel is efficient, successful, has an open-door policy and is respected by many people both inside and outside the county.” 

Mole was the only nominee for vice chair. Both margins were 17-1, with the only dissenting votes coming from Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller.

“Year 2014 will be a challenging year,” said Eisel. “The government indicates an upturn in the economy, but we must be vigilant on how we spend tax dollars. Costs must be contained.”

New Supervisors were then welcomed and encouraged to ask questions.

Commissioner of Department of Social Services Bill Moon distributed a 35-page document with an overview of the fiscal, legal, and operational functions of the department. 

“The document is intended to keep the communication between supervisors and the department clear,” said Moon. “As we focus on how the department is run, we can aim for more efficiency.”

Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe asked Moon whether the recent cold weather will mean an increase in requests for fuel assistance by needy residents.

“Yes,” answered Moon. “The emergency fund was opened one week ago and fuel is being delivered to eligible individuals and families.”

“I know many taxpayers who keep their thermostat between 60 and 65 degrees and strive to be energy-efficient.” said Franklin Supervisor-elect Jeff Taggart. “Can the Department of Social Services require the people receiving fuel assistance to also keep their thermostats lower?”

Moon said no. 

“Individual rights need to be respected. However, when the county is responsible for housing, we have acted on good faith to ensure that those who are receiving fuel assistance do, for example, keep their windows closed.”

Further board re-appointments included Walton Supervisor Bruce Dolph as county budget director, Porter Kirkwood as county attorney and Christa Schafer as clerk.