Press-Republican

December 21, 2012

Essex County manager may stay after all

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County Manager Daniel Palmer said Thursday that he’s leaving the decision on whether he’ll continue in the post up to county lawmakers.

Palmer had announced he would retire on Jan. 1, 2013, but in a letter he emailed to the County Board of Supervisors and county department heads on Thursday, he said he has reconsidered and will stay if they want to reappoint him.

“My decision at this point will go back to the board,” Palmer said in the letter. “If members of this board want me to return at the year-end meeting, then I will withdraw my retirement paperwork. If they opt not to, I will proceed with my plans and wish the board well.”

The year-end meeting is at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, in the Old County Courthouse in Elizabethtown. It is open to the public.

Palmer couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. He’d told department heads Tuesday that he was reconsidering his retirement. Contacted by the Press-Republican Wednesday, he said he didn’t want to talk about the issue.

UNDECIDED

The manager’s two-year term is up at the end of the year, so a supervisor would have to move his reappointment at the year-end session, then it would have to be passed by a majority those present.

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said Palmer would have had to be reappointed anyway.

“He requested to stay if the board so chooses. I believe there is enough support for him.”

Douglas said he hadn’t made up his mind whether he’ll support Palmer’s reappointment.

“I want to meet with him first.”

While he has disagreed with Palmer in the past, Douglas said, they’ve always had a good working relationship.

“I think we should put all our differences behind us. We need to work together, for the benefit of our residents.”

Douglas is also up for reelection to another one-year term as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, which would be his fourth.

‘OUTSTANDING JOB’

Palmer announced his retirement four days after a disagreement with the board over a plan he wrote to stabilize the county’s budget process. It would have required 26, 16 and 3 percent tax hikes over the next three years but was abandoned in favor of using more of the county’s surplus fund balance and cutting purchases and contract agencies to get to a 1.1 percent tax levy increase for 2013.

Palmer’s reconsideration came after a two-hour executive session of the County Personnel and Administration Committee on Monday in which some lawmakers, chiefly Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba), tried to convince him to stay.

Politi said Wednesday that he personally felt Palmer had done an outstanding job and should remain as manager.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com