I read my Democratic Party colleague Steve Vegliante’s letter asking for the public to support his Democratic Party slate this election cycle. It was a well-written piece that laid out his party’s platform and, as would be expected, supports his Democratic candidates. The letter is a testament to Steve’s leadership within the party. I must respectively disagree with him on some items.
On the legislative candidates: Action speaks louder than words.
Steve lists a platform and states “Each (Democratic legislative candidate) has committed to working together.” If there is a return to a democratic majority, Scott Samuelson would be the likely Chair. Remember the previous board under Scott’s leadership. A 7D-2R board was in constant turmoil and bickering impeding decisions such as building the state-mandated jail.
The last four years under Republican leadership (5R-4D) the jail was built on time and under budget at a low-interest rate.
They also supported spectacular growth and job creation. AND:
- lowered unemployment rate to lowest in NYS
- lowered county property taxes
- union contracts passed and ratified with wages increasing for county employees who had been leaving for town and village jobs which paid better
- refusal to share sales tax until more data from casino and other new entities but a willingness to share services to save taxpayers on all levels of local government
- improved infrastructure and at last,
- County bus service
All nine legislators worked together and developed consensus on most issues with the exception of the Visitors Center, which was poorly handled. Republican Chair Luis Alvarez, on behalf of the entire board in a historic action to interact with county residents, visited all fifteen town governments each year to present the county position on topics and listen to town board concerns. All nine members participated in an annual evening public presentation of the State of the County.
With a Republican Chair and a Democrat Vice-Chair the entire board worked together. ARE YOU AND YOUR COUNTY BETTER OFF THAN FOUR YEARS AGO? If so, please vote Republican for Rob, Nadia, Mike, Nick, George, Luis, Joe and Alan for legislature. Vote Row B for a better and brighter Sullivan County future.
On County Court Judge-Farrell vs Dolan
Steve seems concerned about our outstanding District Attorney, Jim Farrell, moving on to be County Judge. He says “While it may seem a natural progression, ask yourself, if you or a member of your family is wrongfully accused of a crime, would you want the judge who holds your freedom in his or her hand to be a career prosecutor and former chief prosecutor?” WOW. George L. Cooke, William Deckelman, Ben Newberg, Robert C Williams, Louis Scheinman, to name a few icons in recent Sullivan County history, went from DA to County Judge. These were outstanding Judges. Now Steve is crying foul about a Jim Farrell flyer which hit Dolan hard. I did not respond to the slanderous Sullivan Times editorial (Rich Klein) hit job on Jim Farrell last week which Cynthia Dolan says was “well researched.” Jim Farrell has responded!
I have known Jim Farrell for his entire career. Jim has dedicated his professional career to the People of Sullivan County with 24 years of experience in criminal law and in county court. Jim is fair, showing no bias or prejudice. He is a dedicated public servant who is active in his community. Jim is the only candidate for County Judge with real county court experience. Jim Farrell has my full confidence and I know he is the right person to be elected County Judge.
On County Clerk-Reeves vs Sager
Steve is questioning the Teamsters Union vetting process as it applies to Russell Reeves only. What Steve is referring to is the fact that the Teamsters Local 445 has endorsed Russell Reeves over David Sager for County Clerk. In a highly publicized vote that occurred when Sager was a county legislator, Sager voted against giving the County’s Probation Officers a 25-year retirement plan. The Probation Officers, who are represented by the Teamsters Local 445, had been trying to obtain this benefit for over 2 decades. The ensuing heated argument that occurred between Sager and then Legislator Kathy LaBuda was well documented in local newspapers. The 25-year retirement plan for the Probation Officers ultimately passed without Sager’s support.
The same argument that Steve makes about the process for the Teamsters endorsement can be made about the CSEA endorsement in the same race for County Clerk. Two members of CSEA are leaders in other political parties that endorsed Russell Reeves. They, nor anyone else in the CSEA membership, were consulted when CSEA endorsed Sager. Does that mean that the vetting process was controlled by a few members with ties to the Democratic Party?
Labor organizations are their own entities with their own set of rules. How they conduct business is between their leadership and their members. No one party can expect to own union endorsements.
Thinking back to the Senator Bonacic challenge from Sager, where Sager was trounced, Sager’s demeanor and temperament are certainly not like Dan Briggs’ or Russell Reeves’. On a personal note, Linda Blom Johnson offers a clear choice for adding outstanding experience and gender diversity to the NYS 3rd Judicial District and deserves your support!
Chair SC Republican committee