December 4, 2012

Essex County manager, board clerk leaving

ELIZABETHTOWN — In a surprise action Monday, Essex County Manager Daniel Palmer and his wife, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Deborah Palmer, both announced their retirements effective at the end of the year.

Mr. Palmer has been county manager since August 2008, and his wife was appointed board clerk in September 1996.

County officials were informed of the decisions on Monday morning.


Mr. Palmer and his staff had recently devised a three-year plan to restore Essex County to solvency. The plan, which would have had 26, 16 and 3 percent tax hikes for the next three years before stabilizing, was apparently rejected by the County Board of Supervisors at a budget workshop last Thursday in favor of a combination of cuts, reductions and greater use of the county’s fund balance to get to a 2.6 tax-levy increase in the proposed 2013 budget.

“I promised myself when I took this job if I felt it was turning into an adversarial relationship between myself and the board I would not remain in the position,” Mr. Palmer said Monday. “There’s no value in doing that. I feel like I should have some positive impact. I value my integrity.”

Before he was named county manager, Mr. Palmer was county personnel officer, and before that he served as Minerva town supervisor.

The retirements are effective Jan. 1, 2013.


Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said it was with deep sadness that he learned of the Palmers’ retirements.

“They have been truly dedicated public servants for many, many years. They both will be dearly missed.”

He said he spoke with Mr. Palmer on Monday, as well as Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba), the vice chair of the board, about ensuring a smooth transition.

“We’ll weigh all our options. The plan of action at this point is to not make any quick decisions as we decide how best to deal with these vacancies.

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