By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO May 18, 2001 After seven months of more twists and turns than most soap operas, the saga of Steven Kurlander has come to a close.
In a letter sent to Sullivan County Legislature Chair Rusty Pomeroy on Wednesday, Kurlander resigned from his seat as District 9 Legislator, effective June 1. Pomeroy made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday, and he also scheduled a special Executive Committee meeting for yesterday to declare a vacancy in Kurlander's seat.
Kurlander, who said hes trying to get his company, SentryWorks, to open up in this area, indicated yesterday morning that he would not attend any meetings of the Legislature that day.
I didnt want to extend it any longer, he remarked an interview yesterday. It is not good for the residents of the county. No more sideshows. It's time for the Legislature to get down to business.
This all started back in October of 2000. At that point, Kurlander was laid off from his job at Frontier Insurance Company. As Kurlander began to search for another job, he distanced himself from his fellow legislators, declaring that he would no longer go to the committee meetings but would only come to the monthly meetings.
Shortly thereafter, he took a temporary job in Boca Raton, Florida, as a consultant to a computer software company. Kurlander stated that the job would likely last four months, and then he would find out if the job was permanent or not. While he was in Florida, he attempted to make himself available to his 7,500 constituents in and around Monticello by phone, fax, and email.
But the rift between Kurlander and his fellow lawmakers was widening. While he did return once a month, Kurlander's interactions with his fellow Legislators could be called cordial at best.
Kurlander also gave up his Republican Party affiliation and declared himself an Independent.
Most expected Kurlander to make some sort of announcement in March. However, he did not. Meanwhile, he began the process of selling his house in District 9 to SullivanARC. He maintained a Sullivan County address by living at his mother-in-law's home, also in District 9. At the same time, he purchased a home in Florida.
Legislators claimed their hands were tied and nothing could be done. Not willing to accept that, Monticello attorney Monroe Davis sued the Legislature to force them to declare Kurlander's seat vacant. The county took no action but did ask the court to make a determination.
Earlier this week, the sale of Kurlander's home in Sullivan County became final. Based on that information, Pomeroy called for the special Executive Committee meeting to discuss passing a resolution to declare Kurlander's seat vacant. Before the meeting could take place, Kurlander, aware of the situation, tendered his resignation, effective June 1.
Although at times Steves tenure was marked with acrimony and disagreements, he did represent constituents well, said Pomeroy. Unfortunately, he will be remembered as a legislator who moved to Florida, not as a legislator who came up with the tax amnesty program and other worthwhile programs. No one on this board is thrilled that it had to come to this. I wish him well in his future, whether it be in Florida or NYS.
No other legislators have made public comments on the issue.
Anyone whos interested in being appointed to the post can submit their resume and an application to Deputy Legislature Clerk Deb Tanous at the government center by May 31. The appointment will be made by the Legislature in June. An election to fill the position will be held in November.