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January 15, 2014

Schoharie mulls adding county manager

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Schoharie County’s Board of Supervisors is being asked to fill a void in county government by hiring an administrator to oversee county business on a day to day basis.

The proposal is being touted by Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone, a Democrat. He argues the county now has an opportunity to address some of the failings of county government cited in a scathing report issued last fall by a consultant hired to look into allegations of nepotism and mistreatment of some county employees.

Milone said running the county without the assistance of an on-scene manager is too much of a challenge for the town supervisors preoccupied with their own local governments and, in many, cases, their own full-time jobs.

“No one has the time,” said Milone. “Everyone is busy. You can’t meet once a month and run a county.”

Similar proposals have surfaced in recent years in Otsego and Delaware counties but have died on the vine, with the resistance offering centering on concerns that another level of bureaucracy would make local government even more expensive.

But Milone said that instead of hiring creating a new job, he would assign the duties of administrator to County Treasurer William Cherry. He is also the county budget officer as well as the coordinator of recovery programs created after numerous homes and businesses were damaged in the flooding of 2011.

Cherry would be paid an added stipend for the new duties, if Milone’s plan wins the support of his fellow supervisors.

“I know Bill is wearing three hats now, but he is willing to get this off the ground,” Milone said. “I have complete faith in this man.”

Contacted by The Daily Star, Cherry said he is not lobbying for the additional duties, but would take on the position if the supervisors agree to try the new approach.

The county board is scheduled to take up the issue when it meets again on Jan. 24.

The board has a new chairman, Gilboa Town Supervisor Anthony Van Glad. He replaces Phil Skowfoe, a Democrat, who was re-elected in November as the Fulton town supervisor.