Schoharie County’s Board of Supervisors is a dream to work with, Administrator Steve Wilson said Friday—despite the picture that some have painted.
Supervisors reappointed Mr. Wilson to a two-year contract effective November 1, 2019-October 31, 2021, following brief remarks and high praise—from some—for the job he’s done at their meeting Friday.
Phil Skowfoe of Fulton and Sandy Manko of Sharon, supervisors’ two lone Democrats, and Republican Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh, were the only supervisors to vote against the contract.
And both Earl Van Wormer of Esperance and Harold Vroman of Summit—who voted against Mr. Wilson’s appointment in ’15 but in favor of it Friday—said they were glad to have been proven wrong.
“When I was interviewed here, the press and some minutes painted a picture of a very difficult board to work with,” Mr. Wilson said before the 12-3 vote.
“Not at all…though there have been some very difficult questions [to deal with].”
Among his accomplishments, he said: starting to get a handle on the budget and property taxes and seriously addressing economic development with the Fairweather Report.
When he started, Mr. Wilson said, both Maranatha in Richmondville and Guilford Mills in Cobleskill were empty; now they’re bustling.
“I think this [the Fairweather report, which has led to the creation of the Schoharie Economic Enterprise Corporation] was a big step. Especially when the business community stood up and said they’d be a part of it.”
Mr. Wilson said he feels his biggest contribution has been the evaluation system he developed for department heads.
His biggest failure?
The streambank project.
“Ugh,” Mr. Wilson said. “I really wish that was done”—though he remains confident it will be, eventually, without burdening taxpayers.
“If it was really just a matter of management, we could get it done in four weeks,” he said, “but it’s been way harder…I’m appalled at how it’s worked out. But the state and federal legislators have finally stopped blaming Schoharie County and changed to helping us. That’s a big thing.”
Mr. Skowfoe wasn’t buying Mr. Wilson’s reappointment, saying it’s become a political appointment and that he wasn’t meeting the expectations originally set for the job.
But Mr. Wilson has plenty of fans.
Mr. Van Wormer, supervisors’ chair, noted he initially voted against having a county administrator “but after working with Steve, I’m glad he’s here. We don’t always agree, but we can talk it out. If I can change my mind, that’s a good thing.”
Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice said Mr. Wilson has become an essential go-to person; Mr. Vroman said like Mr. Van Wormer, he’s glad to have changed his mind.
“I was against it, but I fully believe he’s done a good job,” he said. “The streambank was at a standstill, but he got people back to the table talking. I agree it’s going to get done and not at a cost to taxpayers.”