OSWEGO, NY – The new chairman of the Oswego County Legislature hopes to continue in the footsteps of his predecessor – and find ways to do things even better.
Legislator Fred Beardsley (R) was nominated today (Jan. 3) by the Republican majority to take over the position held last year by fellow Republican Barry Leemann, who didn’t seek re-election.
The Democrat minority nominated Legislator Amy Tresidder for the post.
Beardsley was elected with the vote going along party lines, with Shawn Doyle (R) voting no and Bonnie Kastler (R) abstaining.
There was no seat for Beardsley on the floor of the legislature and his nameplate had already been affixed beneath “Chairman” on the dais.
“That was brought up when I walked in. If something goes wrong, I guess I’d have to go out in the hallway and stand,” the chairman quipped following the meeting.
He said he intends to continue “many, if not all” of the programs under way during Leemann’s tenure, Beardsley told Oswego County Today.
“The Green Team definitely. That has really helped the county save a lot of money,” he said. “It’s a great program.”
There are some things that he’d like to look at instituting once he gets settled in as chairman, he added.
“Do I foresee any earth-shaking changes? No. I want to continue to try and do what we do, only a little better,” he said.
He said he had excellent support from the legislators, department heads and all of the county employees.
“We’ve got excellent people in the leadership roles. And, the county workers are doing a fabulous job,” he said.
“I’m sure that we can find some middle ground and do what we came here to do and help all the residents of this county,” he added, alluding to working with the Democratic side of the aisle.
“I put out the same pledge that I put out to every chairman. You have to show us you are willing to work with us, like Barry did and Russ (Johnson) before him,” said Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler.
“I’ve known Fred a long time. We have worked well together in the past. We are here to do what’s right. And we’re here to question when we feel something’s not right. The olive branch goes out every year.”
There are “a lot of hurdles to overcome” this year, he said. Working together, the legislature can overcome those obstacles, he added.