For the sixth year in a row, county supervisors on Thursday elected Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer III as chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Middleburgh Supervisor Dennis Richards was elected vice chairman, succeeding Blenheim Supervisor Robert Mann, who said he decided not to seek the largely ceremonial second spot this year. Mann remains chairman of the finance committee, which oversees much of the county’s spending decisions.
Van Wormer and Richards won the unanimous backing of all 14 supervisors present at the board’s first meeting of the new year. Richards and Broome Superintendent Marie Campbell were absent Thursday.
“Hopefully this year will be a little bit easier for you,” Gilboa Supervisor Anthony Van Glad told Van Wormer.
Van Glad noted that negotiations and planning concerning the Gilboa Dam warning system and hiring new directors of the county’s departments of Public Works and Health made 2007 a busy time for the supervisors.
“It’s a real privilege to work with a whole lot of really nice people,” Van Wormer said after being escorted to his seat by Republican Majority Leader Martin Shrederis, of Schoharie, and Democratic Minority Leader Philip Skowfoe Jr., of Fulton.
“We don’t always agree, but what sets us apart [from some other counties] is that at the end, we reach some kind of consensus,” Van Wormer said.
Van Wormer, running on the Republican and Conservative lines, won re-election to his eighth two-year term as Esperance supervisor in November over Democratic former supervisor G.C. “Pete” Abbott.
Van Wormer, who operates a nuisance wildlife and pest control business, was selected board chairman in 2003, after serving on an interim basis for two months at the end of 2002.
As chairman, Van Wormer, 53, will be paid $21,000 for the part-time post this year, up from $20,000 in 2007. The position is in addition to the $5,250 per year salary as Esperance supervisor.
In adopting the 2008 county budget in November, the 16-member Board of Supervisors included about 4 percent county pay raises.
The 15 supervisors, other than their chairman, will earn $12,075 this year, in addition to various town salaries as elected supervisors.
The board also approved a resolution Wednesday setting a combined salary of $48,398 for board clerk, county auditor and purchasing agent, Karen Miller of Middleburgh. Miller’s salary for the full-time combined position is up $2,305 from last year.