Press-Republican

December 2, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: Dec. 2, 2013


Press-Republican

---- — JEERS to candidates who were elected to county positions for 2014 but aren’t attending this year’s final meetings of those legislative bodies. Running the government of Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties is a weighty job, and all three of those legislative bodies are currently preparing their 2014 budgets.

The Clinton County Legislature, Essex County Board of Supervisors and Franklin County Legislature hold only a few meetings between Election Day at the start of November and Dec. 20, when county budgets must be completed in New York state. So important business takes place at each of those meetings, as lawmakers try to set tax levies and pare down costs — usually by making difficult decisions on staffing, equipment purchases and projects.

The incoming legislators and supervisors will have to live with the decisions being made now. The current lawmakers in all three counties have made it clear that those who will join the board on Jan. 1 are welcome at budget sessions now. In Clinton County, the legislative staff even had budget books ready for the new county legislators so they could participate in discussions.

The problem is that in all three counties, few of the newly elected members are showing up. We would think the people who will be handling the county’s business for the next four years would take enough interest to attend at least one budget meeting.

So, we add a CHEER for those legislators-elect and supervisors-elect who have shown up at budget meetings. Among them are Franklin County District 5 Legislator-elect Don Dabiew (D-Bombay) and District 7 Legislator-elect Barbara Rice (D-Saranac Lake) and Essex County Supervisors-elect Shaun Gillilland from Willsboro and Edward Gardner from Essex. No legislators-elect from Clinton County have attended budget meetings so far.

CHEERS to all the volunteers who gave up part of their Thanksgiving Day to put on free community meals around the North Country. An immense amount of work goes into preparing those turkey dinners with all the trimmings. Many volunteers are needed to cook, set up, serve and clean up afterward. This year, free meals were offered on Thanksgiving Day at Westport Federated Church, Three Steeples United Methodist Church in Champlain and the Elks Lodge in Plattsburgh. The church families, Salvation Army workers and numerous community members bake for days in advance or leave their homes and their own celebrations on Thanksgiving to make sure older citizens, people who are alone and poorer families can all enjoy the food and companionship that make this holiday so special. 

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at letters@pressrepublican.com.