Friday, November 1, 2013

Post Star Endorsement

Due to the fact that many people do not have subscriptions to the Post Star, we have chosen to copy and paste the Post Star's Political Endorsement, in addition to putting up a link;

ENDORSEMENT: Evelyn Wood is right choice for Thurman supervisor

The decision that the residents of Thurman have on Tuesday in choosing a town supervisor is unlike any we can remember. On one hand, the town has a proven leader in Evelyn Wood who has accomplished much in just three years. Her opponent is a former supervisor who defrauded the people of Thurman, was removed from office and sent to jail. The editorial board felt so strongly that the two candidates were on such different paths, it decided to break the endorsement into two parts that address. ...
The worst thing that Evelyn Wood is guilty of as supervisor of the town of Thurman is changing things.
We remind residents that her opponent is guilty of far worse.
Thurman residents have a strong sense of community and are determined to keep the same way of life in which they and their parents were raised. We can’t think of another community in which the residents are so involved and their convictions so strong.
We believe that Wood, the 36-year-old Thurman-born-and-raised supervisor, shares those values, and she has been instrumental in protecting that way of life by being fiscally responsible and keeping taxes stable.
“I tend to be more by the book than previous supervisors,” Wood told us.
That’s a good thing.
Wood has been met with opposition at almost every turn with Thurman facing difficult decisions regarding EMS service, trash pickup and Internet service, yet despite that opposition she has moved the town forward on many fronts.
She has consolidated positions to save money, including eliminating a maintenance position at the Town Hall. She often shovels the walk herself or changes a light bulb when the DPW folks are occupied with more important things like plowing snow.
She hired an experienced bookkeeper to keep the town’s financial records in order and in compliance with mandatory state reports. Her sin was not hiring someone from Thurman. Instead, she chose the most qualified person for the job.
The Harris House was closed and the assessor’s office moved into the town so residents could have one-stop shopping to do their business, while the town saved money.
When flooding occurred three times in six months in 2011, Wood led the way in securing funding that fixed the Sky High Bridge by using a culvert design that solved the problem once and for all.
But perhaps her greatest accomplishment is the white space project that will get residents and schoolkids off dial-up Internet service and into the 21st century.
Our editorial board interviewed and endorsed Wood when she first ran for office in 2010. Back then, we found an intelligent woman with enormous potential for the future. What we discovered when we interviewed her again last week was a seasoned professional, who despite so much animosity from so many in her community, remains devoted and committed to all things Thurman. The community is lucky to have her.
If you removed her opponent’s abuse of power from the equation, we believe Evelyn Wood’s record far exceeds what John Haskell was able to accomplish when he was in office.
On that point alone, Thurman residents should return Evelyn Wood to office.
Like the voters of Thurman, we have not heard John Haskell’s plans for the town. We left nearly a dozen messages at his home with an invitation to meet with our editorial board. We never heard from him.
We suspect he is angry at how we covered his trial on corruption charges and his sentencing to time in the county jail. Or perhaps he is upset that we believe he will be unable to take office if he wins the election. Or maybe it is our stand that the acts he perpetrated against the people of Thurman while in office were such a betrayal of trust, he should never be forgiven.
It appeared voters would finally get a chance to hear where Haskell stood on the issues, but he was a no-show at a candidates’ forum.
He cited an unspecified injury that led to a stay in the hospital and surgery. At the time, he sent a letter to be read to the 100 residents in attendance:
“Come January, I will hopefully again be serving the people of Thurman. My record stands on its own if you choose to look at the facts and figures.”
We agree and believe everyone should start by looking at Haskell’s arrest and conviction for defrauding the government.
We were shocked to hear some Thurman voters are under the impression that Haskell was not convicted and that he had done nothing wrong.
We cannot emphasize enough that Haskell was convicted of defrauding the government after altering town documents to gain access to a landlocked property that he bought on the cheap. Haskell was sentenced to two months in Warren County Jail, five years on probation and fined $2,500.
He had used his position of power for his own personal gain.
When he was convicted, he also lost his right to hold office, but not his right to run.
If you look further at Mr. Haskell’s slipshod record in office, it is not much better. The state Comptroller’s last report before Haskell left office found several problems with the town’s operation, including:
— Poor budgeting practices that resulted in the town running up an excessive fund balance. Essentially, the town was overbilling citizens.
— Highway employees were using the time clock less than a third of the time and manual records were missing. The state found that highway employees were not charged for 684.25 hours of leave time. Taxpayers were paying workers for time they did not work.
— The town was giving its scrap metal for free when other towns were getting up to $165 a ton. The town also did not seek competitive bids for insurance coverage in 2007 and 2008.
Mr. Haskell is correct. The record speaks for itself, and we believe no reasonable person could endorse his return to office.
Local editorials represent the opinion of the Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle, Controller Brian Corcoran and citizen representative Vincent Palacino.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article... Thank you Post Star for endorsing the RIGHT candidate for our town!!