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May 11, 2013

Oneonta clerk Koury calls it a career

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — After more than 20 years in the job, Oneonta City Clerk Jim Koury announced Friday he will be leaving the position in the middle of July.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with the city,” he said, talking behind his desk Friday. “It’s been a fun environment to work, but it’s time to close this chapter of my life and start a new one. I’m ready for the challenge.”

Koury, a 52-year-old 1978 Oneonta High School graduate, said “I’m looking at a few possibilities. It’s time to discover a new Jim Koury.”

It’s scary but its exciting at the same time, he said. He has been thinking about the move for a couple of years. His salary was $53,000.

As a gay man, “I have a passion for equality and equal rights. We have a long road to go,” he said. With his magazine “Diversity Rules” back in print since March, he wants to devote more time to that. It has been available digitally for two previous years.

“I have evolved in advocacy and activism,” he said. “That’s where my passion lies.”

He said he’ll always have roots here.

“I love Oneonta, but I am not challenging my creativity,” he said. He returned to Oneonta in the early 1990s after being laid off from a job as a planner in a private Saratoga firm during an economic downturn.

The highlight of his career was opening City Hall for weddings on the day that same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, Koury said.

“It was a great day,” he said. “I was glad to be part of it.”

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said after discussing the resignation with the city’s human resources committee, a search will start, as early as next week, for a new city clerk. He appreciated Koury’s willingness to stay at the job, until his replacement was ready.

“Jim has been a rock for me. He is a resource I could not have functioned without,” Miller said. “I will miss him.”