By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO January 13, 2006 Elwin Woody Wood was unanimously appointed as the new Sullivan County legislator at the bodys annual reorganization meeting at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello Tuesday.
The Democrat replaced Greg Goldstein, the former Sullivan County Republican Party chairman, as representative of the Town of Rockland, most of the Town of Neversink, and the Parksville section of the Town of Liberty, known as District 3.
Fellow Democratic Legislator Ron Hiatt introduced the nomination by calling Wood a concerned citizen, successful entrepreneur, a humanitarian. He is also a skilled fisherman, said Hiatt.
Wood was sworn in by Sullivan County Court Justice Frank LaBuda, who said he was proud to have known Wood for the last 20 years.
Also, Chairman Chris Cunningham was unanimously appointed to serve a third year at the helm of the Legislature. He said the county government is facing serious issues concerning its attempts to expand the county landfill and build a new county jail.
Legislators are also in the midst of selecting a new county manager. The board has narrowed their focus down to two candidates. Cunningham had proposed allowing some public input in the process, but he said the Legislature as a whole prefers to keep it private.
The board went into a lengthy executive session of about two hours following the reorganization meeting to discuss the matter.
One of the two remaining candidates still needs to be interviewed by the Legislature. The final selection of the county manager could be made within the next month. Both candidates are from outside New York State, said Cunningham, who added that they both have an extensive background in municipal governance.
Regarding the past year overall, Cunningham said he was proud of how the board had handled itself under his stewardship.
I dont think we functioned as a partisan board for the most part. I think we acted in the best interests of the county, he said.
Also being reappointed to leadership roles were Democratic Legislature Vice Chairman Jonathan Rouis and fellow Democrat Kathleen LaBuda.
Following the appointment of Wood, the Democrats now hold a 6-3 majority.
Two replacements were made on the Sullivan County Charter Revision Commission. Cunningham said that Richard Gross and Paul Austin could not continue to serve on the commission, which is reviewing the countys charter.
Gross was replaced by Lillian Rubio, and Austin was supplanted by former Town of Bethel Supervisor Victoria Vassmer-Simpson.
Among their considerations will be whether the county should hire a full-time executive.