The Cortland County Legislature held a special meeting last night (October 3) in order to appoint both a permanent chair replacement and a new county administrator.
The night began with a routine nomination and swearing in of Republican majority leader Kevin Whitney as the new permanent chairman.
Whitney had already been serving as the acting chair since Charles Sudbrink stepped down last week after being appointed the county’s superintendent of highways.
As far as the county administrator position, last night was anything but routine.
Town of Deruyter Supervisor Daniel Degear was unanimously recommended for appointment Monday (October 1) during a special joint session of the Legislature’s Personnel and Budget and Finance Committees.
The board was about to vote on his appointment last night when legislator Beau Harbin gave a lengthy speech about why the county was rushing the process and shouldn’t select Degear at this time.
“I’m tired of people saying that no one wants to work in Cortland County; that we can’t get the high-quality candidate we deserve to come here,” Harbin said. “This whole process has been anything but transparent and we should be focusing on a search for the very best candidate.”
Some agreed. Some disagreed. After much back-and-forth discussion, the legislature took it to a vote, and Degear’s nomination was rejected with a 9-8 tally (two legislators were excused from last night’s meeting).
In order to fill the immediate vacancy, the legislature also voted Whitney in as the acting administrator, something he will now have to balance at least temporarily with his duties as chairman.