January 18, 2006

County Legislator Hattery speaks at Town Board meeting

It was just three months ago that the Republicans were campaigning on open government, and already I'm seeing some signs that at least one Republican doesn't find that notion very interesting.

Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull introduced former Town Board member and now County Legislator Mike Hattery as "on a different side of things now." Hattery noted that County Legislator Martha Robertson was out of town, so he would "be glad to hold up the fort." He listed his committee assignments, (Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and Strategic Planning) so the board would know "what kind of trouble I'm probably going to be getting into." He also mention that the vote on assessment was coming up, and said he "hadn't changed my mind on that... but there's a little more data-gathering I want to do."

County Legislator Mike Hattery speaks
County Legislator Mike Hattery speaks at last Thursday's Town Board meeting.

Hattery's last statements before he took questions were the ones that troubled me most, however:

"Lastly, I wanted to say that... when I ran for the legislature I said that... one of the things I wanted to do was take the relationships between the county, and the towns, cities, and villages up a notch, and so any way we can do that, let me know. I'm going to try to be communicating with you. I view these forums as one opportunity, and however you want to handle this, if you want to do this on an as-needed basis, where I come when I've got an issue at the county I think we need to talk about, or when you would like me to, or if you want to make it a regular thing, I'll leave that up to you, because I don't think it has to be all the time. I think the real communications we do outside of meetings is probably as important as kind of these formal briefing opportunities. So...

First he talks about the importance of relations between the town and the county, but next he suggests that maybe it would be nice for him to show up less at Town Board meetings than his predecessor did. Then he caps that by suggesting that the real communications happen outside of meetings, in private.

And then he left the meeting early. Not right after his presentation, but it was strange to see a former County Legislator, Mike Lane, stay there the whole time, while his successor left.

Not a great start, from my perspective certainly.

(If you want to hear the entire county briefing, I've posted the four-minute excerpt (998KB WMA) from the board meeting. I'll try to get that up in MP3 format soon.)

Posted by simon at January 18, 2006 7:34 PM in
Note on photos