Republican supervisors cry 'politics' over Tague request


By Patsy Nicosia

Loudly and clearly, Republican supervisor after Republican supervisor blasted a call from Schoharie County GOP chairman and Assemblyman Chris Tague Friday to change their meeting time, calling it blatant politicking, ridiculous, and insulting.
Then, they caucused, and in a vote of the entire Board of Supervisors, the question was referred to the Rule Committee for discussion—after the November election.
In a letter read by Republican Elections Commissioner Ken Schweigard, Mr. Tague, as chairman of the Schoharie County Republican Committee, asked supervisors to move their meetings from 9am the third Friday of the month to “later in the day” to “allow for better transparency and more input from our Schoharie County residents.”
Mr. Tague called his request a bipartisan issue and said his Democratic counterpart, Democratic Chairman Cliff Hay has supported the change in the past.
“This is a bipartisan issue,” he said in his letter.
Maybe it is, Mr. Hay, the first to respond, said.
But he told supervisors he hadn’t heard anything about Mr. Tague’s letter till just the day before.
Evening meetings were tried in the past, Mr. Hay pointed out.
“No one attended.”
After seeing Mr. Tague’s letter, Mr. Hay said he polled Democrats and they agreed the meetings should stay as they are.
Republican Blenheim Supervisor Don Airey was outraged at Mr. Tague’s suggestion the change would improve transparency.
“When I heard the word transparency…well, I’m going to be transparent,” he said. “This is clearly motivated by politics and it’s not the way to start this discussion.
“I was in favor of it before, but not this way. It’s insulting.”
Insulting, he said, because being supervisor means more than one meeting a month.
Republican Carlisle Supervisor John Leavitt agreed, noting as other supervisors did, that day meetings allow department heads to be there.
Seward Supervisor John Bates, also a Republican and former sheriff, said his training taught him to ask “who, what, where, when…The timing of this is ridiculous,” he said.
“There are other issues in it.”
Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe, one of two Democrats on the board, said he’s lost track of the money he’s lost devoting himself to “more than one meeting a month,” and Gilboa Supervisor and Republican Tony Van Glad said a slow week is 25 hours—and includes talking with people in Stewart’s, banking, and making phone calls.
At Conesville Republican Bill Federice’s suggestion, the GOP reluctantly left the room to caucus over the letter, returning about 15 minutes later to vote to send it to the Rules Committee instead of letting Mr. Tague’s request die.
Mr. Airey was one who said he’d support it in the spirit of compromise, “even though I’m not jazzed about reopening it.”
“I think it should be dead in the water,” said Mr. Skowfoe. “I truly do. It’s been tried.”
As most of the GOP caucused, supervisors left behind suggested it was all a move to open a specific seat to a candidate who’s not available during the day.
Mr. Coppolo, Mr. Leavitt, and Mr. Bates, all Republicans, and Mr. Skowfoe and Sharon Supervisor Sandy Manko—the other Democrat—all voted against the resolution by Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman asking Rules to consider the change after the election.
Voting in favor of sending it to Rules were: Mr. Airey, Mr. Federice, Mr. Van Glad, Mr. Vroman, Peggy Hait, Jefferson; Dick Lape, Richmondville; Alex Luniewski, Wright; Leo McAllister, Cobleskill; Alan Tavenner, Schoharie; Earl Van Wormer, Esperance; and Stephen Weinhofer, Broome.