County Legislature Gets Reorganized For 2010

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature started off 2010 pretty much like last year. They just added five brand new legislators to the mix.

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Judge Norm Seiter Jr. and Hannibal legislator Terry Wilbur react during the swearing in ceremony. When the judge said, "Raise your right hand..." the legislator's grandfather, who was holding the Bible for him, raised his right hand. "He's trying to replace me already," the legislator joked.

Judge Norm Seiter Jr. swore in the new legislators individually and then the others collectively on Thursday.

“This isn’t Albany. You all need to work together,” he told the members of the 2010 legislature.

Anyone can make the easy decisions, he continued.

As legislators, they have to make the tough decisions and do what is best for the county, he said, adding the caveat – they won’t be able to please everyone.

Barry Leemann was again named chair of the legislature and Jack Proud the vice chair.

Fred Beardsley was selected as majority leader and Linda Lockwood as whip.

On the minority side, Mike Kunzwiler and Doug Malone retained their position of minority leader and whip, respectively.

“What must we seek in a chairman of the Oswego County Legislature for 2010? Here are three important measures that I suggest,” Proud said in his nomination of Leemann. “One, a leader who doesn’t make impractical or illusory promises, but does keep those promises that he’s made. Two, a leader who avoids unnecessary or division. Three, a leader who exhibits integrity, who practices civility and who promotes unity of purpose on both sides of the aisle.”

There were no other nominations; and, Leemann was confirmed unanimously.

“I am honored and humbled by your support,” Leemann told his fellow legislators. “I expect this year for all of us to work together.”

He encouraged all the lawmakers to work together for the betterment of the entire county and improve the confidence their constituents have in them. That should be one of their highest priorities, he added.

“I think we should get back to the days of our word is our bond. We say something, it happens. We must say what we mean and must mean what we say,” Leemann said.

“I know you got some real nice people to work with,” retired legislator Clayton Brewer said during a brief presentation to recognize his 30 years of service to the legislature.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of that 30 years. I appreciate what every legislator here has done with me and worked with me over the years,” he said.

Brewer recognized
Legislature chairman Barry Leemann presents former legislator Clayton Brewer with a plaque in honor of his 30 years of service on the legislature. Looking on are Brewer's family members.

Brewer also thanked the county department heads who worked with him through the years and encouraged the current legislators to re-appoint them all (which they did during the organizational meeting).

Brewer was joined by family members, including his “great-great-grandchild.”

Brewer, the longest serving legislator in Oswego County history, will be honored at 6 p.m. Feb 6, at The Tavern on the Lock Restaurant, Fulton.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact John Kruk, county treasurer, or Fulton Legislator Louella LeClair.

In other business, the legislators approved the execution of an intermunicipal agreement concerning the Nine Mile Point nuclear power station (units I and II).

The alliance partners the county with the town of Scriba and the Oswego City School District.

The three entities all derive tax income from Constellation Energy’s plants.

The plants have been in a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement for the past several years, which is expiring soon. It will be returned to the rolls if another agreement isn’t reached

Oswego County, the town and school district want to obtain an accurate updated appraisal of the power plant for purposes of negotiating with Constellation.

New county elections commissioner Dick Atkins, left, and new legislator Jacob Mulcahey chat following Thursday's meeting.
New county elections commissioner Dick Atkins, left, and new legislator Jacob Mulcahey chat following Thursday's meeting.

Under the partnership the three will share the cost of obtaining the appraisal. They have retained the services of a special appraiser/law firm.

The county will pay approximately 37.239 percent. The school district’s share will be about 57.802 percent, and the town’s 4.957 percent.

Legislators also approved former Oswego City Common Councilor Dick Atkins as the new Democrat Elections Commissioner for the county.

He replaces Bill Scriber who left to take a position at the Port of Oswego Authority.