Assemblyman-Elect Dan Stec pulls one of several rocks out of a backpack presented to him Dec. 21 by Johnsburgh Supervisor Ron Vanselow (left) and Hague Supervisor Edna Frasier. The gag gift represented Stec’s oft-repeated metaphor of how the state passes off its burdens to the struggling local municipalities , without providing funding.
Presiding over his last Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting before he assumes his new position Jan. 1, state Assemblyman-elect Dan Stec reflected Friday Dec. 21 on the board’s accomplishments during his tenure as Chairman — and the other county supervisors offered up witty barbs and best wishes.
Stec said achievements of the board included keeping county tax increases at a minimum, rebuilding the county’s depleted financial reserves from $3 million to $12 million, rebuilding infrastructure including four bridges, resolving personnel problems in the county Social Services Department, and taking a leadership statewide in combatting water-borne invasive species.
The accomplishments on the latter issue include Asian clam control efforts and moving toward establishing a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination law, Stec said.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” Stec said. “We took the ball over the goal line in Warren County, and the state can learn a lot from us.”
Queensbury Supervisor David Strainer praised Stec for his integrity in politics.
“You can be proud you went up through the system,” Strainer said. “You didn’t buy your way into office — You are going to do a great job in Albany.”
Glens Falls Supervisor Dan Girard added his thoughts.
“You have been one of the hardest working supervisors — you have the whole picture of what’s really going on,” he said. “You will be a great representative of our county.”
Several county supervisors presented Stec with gifts.
Stec received a mantel clock from Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, chosen by his peers to succeed Stec as county board chairman, and Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, who is to be the next county Finance Committee chairman.
“We’ll miss your leadership,” Thomas said as the gift was presented.
Stec replied afterwards, “You’ll be getting an upgrade,” referring to Geraghty.
Gifts express political leaders' humor
Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood gave him a large red push-button that broadcasts “No” in various voices. She indicated that the device would be useful in his legislative work. Also, county Emergency Services Director Brian LaFlure gave Stec a red corded telephone handset — resembling the White House hotline — to plug into his cell phone so he could keep in touch, while in Albany, with his Warren County comrades.
Another gag gift Stec received was a backpack full of rocks from Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow and Hague Supervisor Edna Frasier, representing a metaphor Stec has used to describe the county’s frustrations over the state passing down its responsibilities to its counties without providing funding — The state, he has said again and again, is urging their counties’ leaders to hike ever faster up a slope as the state’s legislators add rocks to the hikers’ backpacks.
Stec accepted the backpack with a chuckle, and pulled out rocks that were emblazoned with the phrases, “tax cap,”state retirement costs,” “Medicaid,” “Home Rule” and “Mandates.”
“As you accomplish solutions to these issues, you can take one at a time out of your backpack,” Frasier said.
Stec was the target of several quips from people referring to his tendency to be long-winded.
While Glens Falls Third Ward supervisor Bud Taylor praised Stec for his ongoing support of human services issues, he said that the legislature might have to extend its sessions to accommodate his speeches.
Stec fired back, “I was made for filibusters,” prompting laughter from many.
In providing an example of brevity, Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson wished Stec well as he repeated children’s author Dr. Seuss's seven-word speech he gave at a college graduation: “Good morning; Good job; good luck; goodbye.”
Stec was for a moment almost at a loss for words.
Several supervisors to assume new responsibilities
Later, the Assemblyman-elect praised Geraghty as his successor as county Chairman.
“As budget officer — which is a position harder than chairman, Kevin would plow through issues and pull a rabbit out of a hat when required,” Stec said. “He’s done an outstanding job and you’ll be in very good hands.”
Geraghty said later he was pleased to lead the county beginning in 2013.
“It’s an immense privilege,” he said, noting he’d learned a lot in seven years.
Bolton Supervisor Ronald Conover is to move into the chairmanship of the county Finance Committee, vacated by Thomas.
Stec is to be sworn in as a new state Assembly member in a ceremony at noon Jan. 1 by judge David Krogmann at the entrance of the county courthouse.
He will be sworn in again in Albany at 2 p.m. Jan. 8 in a ceremony in the state legislative office building, Hearing Room C.
Stec said that he had been informed this week of his Assembly committee assignments — he is to serve on the Local Government, Banks, Social Services and Tourism committees. He was also named the ranking minority member on the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, considered an important position for the Adirondack region he represents.
“I’m deeply honored to have been elected to my new position,” Stec said.