QUEENSBURY - On Jan. 4, the leadership of Warren County underwent a transition that happens only a few times per decade.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe stepped down and Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec took over his role.
Monroe decided to retire from the post to devote more time to both his personal life and his work as chairman of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
On Dec. 21, Warren County supervisors hailed Monroe - and gave him a hearty ovation - for his three years leading the board. The supervisors said he had worked hard in his position, advocating for the taxpayers, working on a team that cut the size and cost of government through a difficult era.
"Fred Monroe certainly led Warren County during some of the toughest times the county ever endured," Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley said, noting the budget cuts that boosted government's efficiency while lowering its operational costs.
County budget officer Kevin Geraghty also praised Monroe for his work ethic and leadership. He said while Monroe had personal opinions on fiscal issues that at times differed from others on the board, he worked to advance the objectives of the majority.
"Fred was a very good leader for the county," Geraghty said. "As board chairman, he tackled important issues during very difficult times, considering the financial state of the county and state government."
Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy said Monroe had been successful at advocating a reorganization of county government that boosted efficiency by establishing a strong county administrator position. This move, he said, boosted accountability in government, from management on down.
"Fred was a very knowledgeable chairman, very well informed about a lot of issues," McCoy said. "There wasn't an issue that Fred didn't have a good handle on - and he was very fair among all the supervisors."
Monroe stepping down as county chairman would free up 25 hours or more of his time per week, and while months ago he had thought about retiring from the town of Chester Supervisor post, he was now leaning toward seeking re-election.
"I believe I will run, but circumstances can change," Monroe said.
Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover said Monroe was analytical in examining county issues, and didn't let emotions sway decision-making during some very tumultuous times.
"Fred stays calm when others are losing their composure," Conover said. "He sets high standards in government, and looks at things from both sides before he takes a position."
Geraghty echoed the point.
"Fred was a gentleman at all times," he said, noting that Fred could be a strong and articulate advocate for combatting excessive state government regulations, yet remain diplomatic.
Bentley offered a similar thought.
"He's been a good advocate for Adirondackers' rights," he said. "He's help keep the Adirondacks from being turned into a playground for the elitists and environmentalists."
Geraghty said the county leaders would continue to seek Monroe's advice.
"We still have his expertise and his knowledge," he said.