Re-appointed Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas shares a fist bum with North Elba Supervisor and former co-chairman Roby Politi during the 214th organizational meeting of the board Jan. 7. Politi, who did not seek to be re-appointed to the position, was replaced by Keene Supervisor William Ferebee, second from right.
Saying that it was a challenge, “that I must do,” Randy Douglas again took the gavel to preside over the Essex County Board of Supervisors for an unprecedented fourth term.
“These times we have faced over the last three years have been very difficult,” Douglas said during the 214th Organizational Meeting of the board Jan. 7.
As reported, Douglas was joined by Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee, who was sworn in as the vice chairman of the board, replacing North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi.
“Your leadership, wisdom and most of all, your friendship, have been appreciated over the past three years,” Douglas said of Politi. “I am happy to have my good friend Bill Ferebee join me as vice chair. He has shown his leadership with his dedication to lead his town out of Irene.”
Douglas set forth his priorities for the new year, focusing on finances.
“We are now forced with the heavy burden of funding a tax levy and tax rate that our constituents can live with,” Douglas said. “We need to quit the blame game and saying that it was someone else that put us here. I believe that we must scrutinize every tax dollar that we spend, including our contract agencies. We need to push the state to give us the home rule to allow us to work with our sales tax and occupancy tax.”
Douglas said that he plans to visit each department personally in 2013 and assign a supervisor to be as personal liaison to each one.
Douglas concluded by saying that he wanted to do a better job communicating to constituents.
“We must do a better job in public perception,” Douglas said. “We do so many things well to assist our people, and they need to know about that. However, one bad item is what they will focus on.”
Douglas was nominated for the position of chairman by Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston.
“He took a hold of the reigns during this economic downturn and there could not have been a more challenging time, especially during this past year,” Preston said.
Preston added that Douglas was key in providing state relief and attention to the North Country.
“Because of his efforts, if there is so much as a leaf blowing in the Essex County parking lot, Gov. Cuomo comes to the county to make sure we have everything we need,” Preston said. “That is the kind of clout Mr. Douglas has.”
His nomination was seconded by Politi.
“Few have demonstrated the passion and dedication that he has,” Politi said. “He has earned our respect.”
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava introduced the nomination of Ferebee as vice chair.
“He has proven his commitment not only to his town but also to the residents of Essex County,” Scozzafava said. “He can share a difference of opinion with his colleagues and respectfully agree to disagree.”
The nomination was seconded by Lewis Supervisor David Blades.
“I believe that Mr. Ferebee’s leadership along with Mr. Douglas’ leadership will take the 214th Board of Supervisors to a mush better location,” he said.
Also sworn in during the organizational meeting was St. Armand Supervisor Charles Whitson Jr., who was appointed by the municipality to fill the unexpired term of the late Joyce Morency. He was joined by new clerk to the board Judith Garrison and assistant clerk Dina Garvey.
Douglas took a moment to thank retired clerk Deborah Palmer.
“Deb was there day in and day out to help me,” he said.
During the meeting, the board also changed the date of their next full board meeting from Monday, Feb. 4, to Thursday, Feb. 7, to avoid conflict with the Association of Counties meeting.