Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas is joined by wife Peggy as he was sworn in for his fifth term as Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman by County Clerk Joseph Provoncha Jan. 6.
For the fifth time, Randy Douglas took the oath of office as the leader of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
The Jay Supervisor was unanimously elected to serve an unprecedented fifth term as the boards chairman, with vice chairman Bill Ferebee of Keene being re-elected as well.
“It is an honor to work with all of you in this capacity,” Douglas said during the Jan. 6 Organizational Meeting. “Together, with all of you, we have worked very hard to keep all Essex County needs on the minds of our state and national leaders. I can assure that I have given my heart and soul to this position and will continue to do so. I can tell you that the state of this county is strong.”
Douglas talked about continuing to push through the challenges that have faced the county over the past four years, which have included the potential closure of the Moriah Shock Facility, the closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge, and natural disasters like Tropical Storm Irene.
“Because of what we have learned from that trying time we are so much better prepared and nothing phases us any more,” Douglas said. “We have worked well with Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist us in our most difficult times. I know the North Country’s well being is near and dear to his heart.”
Douglas also spoke about tackling fiscal restraints at the county level.
“We convinced the state legislature to support our income tax percentage increase,” he said. “We visited all the department heads to see first hand their operations. Some may say we did not do enough, some may say we went to far. It will continue to be a fine line to juggle what we need in Essex County and what we can afford. If you really think about it, we have averaged to two percent levy limit that the governor is asking for.”
The key to the success of the board, Douglas said, has been the ability of all sides to work together.
“Its called compromise, common ground and respect for each other’s opinions and sitting together at the same table to come together for the best interests of the county,” Douglas said.
Douglas also addressed the newest members of the board, including Bill Grinnell (Ticonderoga), Stephen McNally (Minerva), Noel Merrihew (Elizabethtown, former board chairman), Shaun Gilliland (Willsboro) and Ed Gardner (Essex).
“I can tell you the job is difficult,” he said. “I assure you your way of life has changed as of Jan. 1. However, I can tell you that this is the most rewarding job you will ever have.”
Douglas also spoke about continuing to work with county department heads to curb spending as well as forming committees to look at the fairgrounds in Westport, home nursing care and working with the town of North Hudson and local Native American leaders on the potential for a casino at the former Frontier Town.