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Schoharie supervisors' committee assignments back to original amid GOP squabble

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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— Committee assignments on the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors were reshuffled for the second time this year on Friday, as board members voted to override the previous shakeup, imposed in April by Chairman Harold Vroman, R-Summit.

It’s unclear if the change will impact negotiations under way on three employee contracts for CSEA members, corrections officers and road patrol deputies.

The change puts Supervisor Daniel Singletary, R-Jefferson, back at the helm of the personnel committee, which he admitted earlier this year was wracked with infighting while under his leadership.

Citing fighting and dysfunction, Vroman switched several supervisors from the initial committee positions they were assigned at the start of the year.

The decision was followed by objections from several supervisors who pursued a lawsuit asking a judge to switch the committees back to their original makeup.

Signing onto the lawsuit were supervisors Phil Skowfoe, D-Fulton, Larry Bardt, R-Carlisle, Donald Brandow, R-Conesville, Eugene Milone, D-Schoharie, Sandra Manko, D-Sharon, Earl Van Wormer, R-Esperance, James Buzon, D-Middleburgh and J. Carl Barbic, D-Seward.

The issue appeared to be resolved after state Supreme Court Justice Eugene P. Devine in August ruled the judicial branch of government can’t get involved with decisions by the legislative branch.

But board members brought up the vote again Friday, winning a majority vote and putting Vroman’s original choices back into the committees.

Van Wormer on Monday said there’s still the belief among supervisors that Vroman made changes to punish those who didn’t vote his way.

“You have to wonder if it was just because we didn’t agree with some of the things he was doing or if he didn’t agree with some of the things we were doing,” Van Wormer said.

“I decided the best thing to do is end these months of brawl,” Van Wormer said.

Singletary on Monday said despite the infighting, he intends to lead the personnel committee as instructed by the full board’s vote.

“In the long run, are we serving the taxpayers with all this stuff? I don’t know,” Singletary said.

Vroman, in court papers defending his changes, said committee meetings as originally established were wrought with infighting, open conflict and inaction.

A Republican, Vroman in court papers cited as an underlying issue the fact that he was chosen as chairman for 2012 despite Democrats winning enough seats to control the board and install a Democrat at the helm.

Vroman on Monday said he doesn’t intend to continue the argument, though he believes the board’s changes made Friday came too late to be valid.

“I’m not going to push it. It’s just a disservice to taxpayers,” he said.

 
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