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June 19, 2013

Common Council hires Kendall as city clerk

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — The Oneonta Common Council hired Douglas Kendall as the next city clerk during a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night.

Kendall, 54, will earn $48,500 annually and start July 13, a day after the pending resignation of James Koury, who has been city clerk for more than 20 years.

Kendall, who attended the meeting in Common Council Chambers, said he applied for the job because the city clerk position offers him opportunities to apply his museum-based skills at a job in Oneonta, where he has lived for 13 years. 

Many techniques in museum work are similar to duties of a city clerk, Kendall said. He has been the registrar at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass., since last year.

Between 1999 and 2011, Kendall was curator of collections for the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown and an adjunct professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. He earned a doctoral degree in American and New England studies at Boston University.

Kendall’s appointment as Oneonta city clerk is contingent upon passing a drug test. Until July 13, he will be paid $23.32 an hour, up to $2,800, for time spent training with Koury, according to a motion approved by six of the eight council members.

Members Chip Holmes of the Eighth Ward and Michael Lynch of the Fourth Ward were absent Tuesday night. After the vote, Mayor Dick Miller said Lynch told him that he would have abstained from the vote, based not on the candidate but on the hiring process.

Lynch on Monday issued a memo to the mayor saying a day’s notice to consider a recommendation for a department head candidate was too short.

Nonetheless, the council welcomed Kendall with applause.

“I’m really looking forward to working with all of you,” Kendall said.

Koury announced May 10 that he is resigning to pursue different chapters in his life. Koury’s pay in 2012 was $53,755, according to the SeeThroughNY website.

The pending transition prompted Miller and council members Madolyn Palmer of the Fifth Ward and Maureen Hennessy of the First Ward to initiate thanks and praise for Koury.

“The clerk’s office is where it all comes together,” Miller said. “It’s the hub.” 

Koury filled a pause in comments by saying, “I have one more meeting.” 

A job description said the clerk’s office is the gateway to city government for many residents, and a critical role is to be clerk for the Common Council and for city boards and commission. The clerk also is the administrative assistant for the mayor, council and city manager and manages city records and handles requests for information from the public.

In other business Tuesday night, the city’s police and fire chiefs gave their monthly reports on staff, overtime and incidents. The council approved a bid for $21,800 to TW contracting in Otego for resurfacing on the roof of the Asa C. Allison Jr. Municipal Building, among other actions on business items.