It was revealed recently that Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas is going for a fifth term as chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
We hope he gets the support he needs, as Douglas has been a strong leader amid challenging times.
Most members of the Board of Supervisors seem to agree; they’re supporting him for another one-year stint at the helm.
No county chair had served more than two terms since at least the 1960s until Douglas, and this is his fifth term at it, which shows the confidence that our supervisors have in him.
A Democrat, Douglas has been through multiple official states of emergency in Jay and at the county level, including Tropical Storm Irene, which clobbered his town and many others in 2011.
His drive to take care of people during the storm and cleanup afterward was relentless. Now he’s working through a federal buyout program that will purchase and demolish flood-prone properties so people can resume their lives.
He has developed a relationship with state and federal officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who now visits the Adirondacks fairly often to throw state resources behind important projects such as flood recovery and the complete rebuilding of the famous Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway.
Douglas said that, as county chairman, he has enjoyed being able to help other towns.
Something he hasn’t enjoyed is criticism from people who don’t want any tax increases, even though costs go up every year, or who disagree with county or town policies. Some of them have been quite vociferous, but Douglas has weathered it well.
He took a lot of heat from employees when the county sold Horace Nye Nursing Home to a private firm, but it took millions off the county budget. The home was losing more and more money every year. The sale will be official at the end of the year, and workers have been offered jobs with the new operators.
Though change in leadership is good as far as bringing in new ideas, stability is an asset, too, especially if the chair works in a non-partisan way, as Douglas has.
A similar situation exists in Clinton County, where Republican Jimmy Langley has shown himself to be a great leader through several terms as legislature chairman.
It’s important to keep someone around who’s been effective and proactive, and the Essex County Board of Supervisors seems to be doing that by holding on to Douglas as its chief.
Having consistent, steady leadership at the top solidifies political memory — you know what worked before and what didn’t.
Having Randy Douglas as Essex County’s point man for another year will ensure continuity, experience and bipartisan leadership.