COOPERSTOWN _ Two former chairmen of the Otsego County Board of Representatives are in contention to climb back into the captain's chair.

One is Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts. The other is Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester.

The next chairman is expected to be selected at this morning's meeting of the Board of Representatives.

The victor will replace former Chairman Floyd "Sam" Dubben, R-Middlefield, who did not seek re-election to his seat.

While rank-and-file county lawmakers are paid $10,500 per year, the chairman's pay has been set at $19,834.

Lindberg had no comment on the behind-the-scenes jockeying that insiders say has played out for the past several weeks. Powers confirmed he was pursuing the chairmanship but said he was declining to make predictions on the outcome.

Otsego County GOP Chairman Sheila Ross told The Daily Star on Tuesday night that she expects GOP support will be galvanized behind Powers.

"I think they will be united," she said of Republican lawmakers.

The 14-member board, which features five new faces this year, is split, with seven Republicans and seven Democrats. But Republicans hold 3,529 weighted votes to the Democrats' 2,638 weighted votes.

Despite the Republicans' significant advantage, it would not be enough to keep Democrats from controlling the outcome if they support Lindberg.

Add Lindberg's 532 weighted votes to the Democratic total, and the total would be enough to carry the day.

Rep. Rich Murphy, D-Town of Oneonta, would only say that Democrats "have had conversations" with both Powers and Lindberg. He said he will make his final decision on whom he will support for chairman at today's meeting.

One of the most important functions of the chairman is to appoint representatives to the various committees, which oversee the day-to-day operations of county government.

Murphy said he hopes the chairman, once selected, will use his power to assign representatives to committees that are good matches for their skills and interests.

Both Powers and Lindberg have had significant disagreements with Democrats.

Powers strongly disagrees with Democratic proposals to have the county board come out in favor of home rule legislation that would allow local communities to zone out heavy industry, including gas drilling. Lindberg has upset Democrats by suggesting that the county consider selling the county-run Otsego Manor nursing home to a private operator.

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