OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature got off to an historic start in 2016.
Pulaski Legislator Shawn Doyle organized an effort for all legislators to bring in family bibles or old ones from their district to be sworn in on during Tuesday’s reorganizational meeting.
Milferd Potter’s brother, Richard, loaned him two bibles, one belonging to their great-grandparents, John Milferd Potter and Elmira Hicks. The other belonged to J. M. Potter’s uncle, John Ephraim Potter and his wife, Jane Davis. It contained records more than 200 years old.
Legislator Margaret Kastler brought in two bibles. One belonged to her mother, Ina White Hollis, who had come to the US after Word War I from Canada. The other belonged to her great-grandfather, John Joshua Hollis (1841-1936), who had served on the County Board of Supervisors from Sandy Creek more than 100 years ago.
The three new legislators were sworn in individually and then the 22 incumbents took the oath collectively.
“I’m a little overwhelmed to be up here. I’m certainly excited and very thankful for everyone that’s allowed me to get to where I’m standing today. Thank you so very much,” new Legislator Tom Drumm (District 16) said. “I’m just looking to try to bring a new perspective and some new energy to this body of government.”
He pledged to work with people on both sides of the aisle.
The county’s outlook is challenging, he said, adding, “I look forward to trying to be creative and bring many new ideas to face these challenging times. I’m very eager to get to work.”
The bible he used was the John and Mary Donahue Brown family bible. Their
granddaughter, Doris Brown Allen (1921-2014), served on the Board of
Supervisors in the 1940s for Oswego City.
He thanked Doyle for allowing him to use it.
“I loaned a bible to Legislator (James) Karasek today that is from a Dutch settler in Oswego County,” Doyle pointed out. “One of the other bibles was loaned to Legislator (Stephen) Walpole. We didn’t know who it belonged to until we started researching.”
It turns out to have belonged to “a gentleman who served as a general in the War of 1812,” Doyle said.
“My bible represents those of us who have come to Oswego because of our fate or faith, depending on how you want to look at it, to establish our roots. We don’t necessarily have a bible with our roots already established here; but we are here to establish roots,” new Legislator Heather DelConte (District 18) said.
“The bible I used is actually my father’s bible. It’s the bible he brought with him when he came to Oswego. It’s this bible and our faith that brought us to Oswego,” new Legislator Tim Stahl (District 20) said.
“We’ve got bibles that are family bibles. (Legislator) Jack Proud brought his father’s Masonic bible. Legislator Bob Hayes brought his mom’s missal with a lot of family notes and such,” Doyle told his fellow legislators. “We have a copy of all these in the other room; they will all go in the time capsule that we’re looking to prepare.”
Legislator (Terry) Wilbur brought the Malone family bible.
“It would have covered two legislators,” Doyle quipped pointing to the seat formerly occupied by Doug Malone. “We have a brand new legislator (Stahl), who also brought his family bible. We’ve got a variety of things that came in today and we’ve learned a lot. This is a good exercise in our roots and our futures.”
Kevin Gardner was re-elected as the chairman of the Oswego County Legislature.
Fellow Republican Linda Lockwood was re-elected vice chair.
Gardner said he looks forward to working with all legislators, regardless of party.
“We have a great past of working together,” he said. “Hopefully that will continue. I’ll leave it to each and every one of you to work together.”
The Republicans re-appointed Shane Broadwell as majority leader.
Roy Reehil was named majority whip for 2016.
On the other side of the aisle, Dan Farfaglia and Jake Mulcahey were named Minority Leader and Minority Whip, respectively.
In other action Tuesday, legislators approved retaining the county administrator, county attorney, clerk of the legislature and all of the department heads.
The next meeting of the legislature will be on February 11 at 2 p.m. in the County Building on East Bridge Street.