By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO June 14, 2002 Its official.
Yesterday morning, the Sullivan County Legislature appointed District 7 Legislator Leni Binder to the chairmanship and Sullivan County Republican Party Chair Greg Goldstein to the District 3 seat. More than 70 people packed the Legislative Hearing Room to witness the event.
The appointments are the latest in a tumultuous year and a half in the life of the Legislature. Early last year, District 9 Representative Steven Kurlander resigned. Sean Rieber was appointed as his replacement, but in November, Jim Carnell Jr. was elected to fill the rest of Kurlander's term.
In October, District 4 Legislator Gordon MacKinnon died. Later that year, his widow, Joann, was appointed to his seat. She declined, and Jonathan Rouis was appointed. Rouis will run in November for the remainder of the term (he is currently unopposed).
And most recently, on May 31, District 3 Representative and Legislature Chair, Raymond "Rusty" Pomeroy II resigned from the Legislature. A special meeting was called yesterday to appoint a new chair. Charter legislator (or legislady, as she calls herself) Leni Binder got the nod.
"Mrs. Binder is a dedicated public servant. She has proved this over and over again as she functions cooperatively and productively for the benefit of the county," remarked Vice Chair and District 8 Representative Bob Kunis as he nominated Binder for chair. "I am, sadly, embarrassed by recent ridiculous squabbles shallow attempts at tainting Legislator Binder's sterling character. I have never known Mrs. Binder to relax her standards of voting her conscience regardless of party demands. It is because I always know she will vote the issue not the party. She believes that serving the people is also service to the party. She will always embrace what is right for Sullivan County."
"I second the nomination for my dear friend," commented District 6 Legislator Jodi Goodman. "No one goes to more functions in the county than Leni. I give her a new title today she is the Mother of Sullivan County. She laughs with us and cries with us. She yells at us when she has to. She will show us the leadership needed to mend us."
With that, a vote was taken, and the motion passed 5-3. Voting against Binder, a Democrat, were fellow Democrats District 1 Legislator Chris Cunningham (the other candidate for the job), District 2 Legislator Kathleen LaBuda, and Rouis.
"I am honored to be placed in this position of trust," Binder stated after the appointment. "I am humbled, not by the responsibilities I face, but by the fact you have placed me in this position. I promise not just good government, but good governance.
"No one alone can successfully solve the problems that lie before us," Binder continued. It is only together as a cohesive unit that these challenges can be met. This Legislature proudly has worked together since its inception, without regard to party politics, but rather with the bipartisan cooperation that is essential in handling all issues that confront us."
Subsequently, a resolution was introduced to appoint Goldstein District 3 Legislator. He was nominated by Carnell and seconded by District 5 Legislator Rodney Gaebel. A vote was taken and produced the same results, 5-3 (with Cunningham, LaBuda, and Rouis against). Goldstein will occupy the seat until the November elections, when he will face Democrat Bob McLeod.
"I would like to thank my fellow colleagues for their support of my appointment as District 3 Legislator of the Sullivan County Legislature," Goldstein said. "I will represent the residents of District 3 with honesty and integrity, maintaining a watchful eye to the issues that shall continue to move Sullivan County forward in a positive direction.
"Our county has seen many changes over this past decade," Goldstein continued. "I am certain the knowledge I bring to this Legislature, coupled with my enthusiasm for the task that lies before me, will assure not only the residents of District 3, but the residents of all Sullivan County, that I will represent their interests to the best of my ability."
After the votes, Sullivan County Clerk George Cooke swore both into their new offices. It is expected that Goldstein will take all of Binder's committee appointments (Vice Chair of Financial Management, Public Works, Chair of Health and Family Services, Vice Chair of Real Property, General Services, Executive, and Veterans).
Although it was initially expected that Cunningham would become Majority Leader, officials are unsure right now who that will be.
Binder will move into the chair's spacious offices. Cunningham could occupy the Majority Leaders room, and LaBuda and Rouis will share an office, as will Kunis and Goldstein.