Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas.
Randy Douglas will seek an unprecedented fourth term as the chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Douglas, who has served three years as the chairman, equalling the tenure of former Westport Supervisor Wally Huchro, said he decided to throw his name into the ring after talking it over with his family and staff of the town of Jay.
“Although they feel I am just being a glutton for punishment, I have all their blessings,” Douglas said in a letter to colleagues and the media Dec. 28. “I believe my experiences and my close contacts in both Washington and Albany including my personal friendship with Gov. Cuomo will continue to be an asset to all of Essex County.”
Douglas also announced that Bill Ferebee of Keene would be seeking the position of vice chairman instead of North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi.
“I certainly will miss Supervisor Politi’s wisdom and support as he has been a wonderful vice chairman and friend these past three years,” Douglas said. “Roby had sent out a letter to the members of the full board a few weeks ago saying that he was not going to seek re-election as the vice-chairman.”
Douglas said that he has a unique working relationship with Ferebee as the two were key players in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
“We have worked very closely on many issues that we have faced in our townships and all of Essex County,” Douglas said. “We have worked side by side to help the towns of Keene and Jay recover from the effects of Hurricane Irene. Bill and I have become quite close friends. As you can see over the last few weeks we don’t always agree. However one thing his family and my family know that our difference in positions while serving the people of Essex County will never ruin our friendships.”
“Randy does a fantastic job and I would have been happy if Roby had continued on as vice chair,” Ferebee said. “When Roby bowed out, I talked to Randy about it. I feel that I am ready having been through the budget process and a member of the negotiating team with the union.”
Ferebee said he knows there are challenges facing the board in the coming year, and he wants to be part of the solution.
“I know that we have a big battle ahead of us,” he said. “We need to get started on these things in January, and that will be my goal.”
As for the future, Ferebee said he would entertain the thought of becoming the board chairman, but not in the near future.
“I truly am hoping that Randy will stay in that position for a long time, but I definitely would look at the position,” Ferebee said.
“At this point, it is a one-year commitment,” Douglas said. “My original plan was to stay on as long as Gov. Cuomo is in office, and I hope that I can do that.”
The organizational meeting of the Essex County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take place Monday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. in Elizabethtown, where nominations for chairman and vice-chairman will be sought and voted on.