The Cortland County Legislature opened the new year with its organizational meeting this morning (January 2), where District 16 Legislator Paul Heider was unanimously selected as the new chairman.
He addressed his fellow legislators and all residents of Cortland County immediately following his nomination:
“The challenges in front of us are significant,” Heider said. “Too long this body has worked in separation – Democrats meeting in one room, Republicans meeting in another; that separation has played out negatively at times to the public.”
District 15 Legislator George Wagner was confirmed as the majority leader, with the nod for minority leader going to District 2 Legislator Beau Harbin.
November’s general election preserved a 9-8 Republican majority that stood beforehand, but it also brought in some new faces in Legislators Mitchell Eccleston (LD-17), Kevin Fitch (LD-8), Joseph Nauseef (LD-12), Gene Waldbauer (LD-13) and Susan Wilson (LD-5).
Additionally, Robert Corpora was appointed last month as the new county administrator and Tom Tedesco the new Veterans Services Officer, both of whom were sworn in this morning.
There were also several re-appointments, including Clerk of the Legislature Eric Mulvihill, County Attorney Karen Howe, County Auditor Stephen Trobert and Public Defender Keith Dayton.
Chairman Heider continued his statement by emphasizing the importance of legislators old and new working cooperatively, putting their service to the county before loyalty to politics.
“It’s my intention to bring us together,” Heider said. “I believe legislators need to lead and I’d like all of us to sit down and discuss our collective goals, both short-term and long-term, for moving the county forward.”
An orientation for new legislators and any others who wish to attend is planned for January 10.
Committee meetings will begin on Tuesday (January 7), with a list of final member selections expected in the coming hours.