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Local News

January 31, 2013

Miller's re-election bid gains support

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“I want it very clear that I reached out to both parties,” Miller said.

In the 2009 election, Miller bested Republican Erik A. Miller, then-Third Ward alderman and no relation, by 1,123 to 934. The mayoral term ends Dec. 31.

Of 4,728 registered voters in the city of Oneonta as of Wednesday, there were 2,142 Democrats and 1,184 Republicans, Otsego County Board of Elections officials said, and unaffiliated voters numbered 1,011. The Independence Party had 291 voters, and the Working Families Party had 19.

Miller, 69, said he and the Common Council are stepping back from the day-to-day operations of the city since the hiring of a city manager. With the change, Miller took a pay cut from $19,350 previously to $12,000 this year. He also moved from the long-time mayor’s office on the first floor of City Hall to a smaller room on the second floor.

During Tuesday’s interview, Miller said his biggest challenge as mayor was learning how government works. While his background included business and education, including positions in the State University system and locally as a former president at Hartwick College, Miller said he didn’t have any experience with municipal operations.

Since taking office in 2010, Miller said, the toughest issue he faced was addressing behavioral and command problems in the police department. Though some feedback was that the reaction was “heavy handed,” the outcome was positive, he said.

A more recently formed Police Department Task Force is looking at staffing, assignments, resources and other issues. Miller said previously he hopes for a positive outcome similar to results of a Fire Department Task Force that addressed staffing and other concerns and resulted in changes at no cost to the city.

Miller said his accomplishments include no layoffs, wage increases and labor contracts; multiyear planning for budgeting, facilities and capital projects; initiatives for arts and for housing and funding and award for micro-enterprise grants.

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