Decker challenged, but wins another chairman term

NORWICH – A flurry of phone calls flew over the holidays between Chenango County’s supervisors in preparation for Monday’s appointment of a board chairman for 2010.

The seemingly pre-orchestrated effort by the Democratic Party to unseat incumbent Richard B. Decker, R-N. Norwich, resulted in not one but two candidates nominated for the position – and both of them Republicans. First-term Supervisor William Craine, of Sherburne, and ninth-term City of Norwich Ward 4, 5, and 6 Supervisor Linda E. Natoli accepted nominations to the position.

Nonetheless, after the roll call, Decker came out the victor by a majority of weighted votes. All but one of the board’s Democrats, Independent George C. Coates of Columbus, the politically unaffiliated New Berlin Supervisor Ross Iannello, newcomer Republican John Phelan of Coventry and Craine himself threw their support behind the Sherburne supervisor.

Finance Committee Vice Chairman Dennis Brown, D-Pharsalia, sided with the Republicans by voting for Decker. His weighted vote, at only 26, would not have mattered, however.

“I was aware of it (the challenge to his position). I heard there were a lot of phone calls made over the break to get ready for this. I didn’t get any,” said Decker in response to the unprecedented challenge to the position he will resume for a 13th year as chair. He has represented North Norwich since 1994.

In his acceptance speech, Decker said he recognized that politics is the “name of the game” in government. He thanked the members of his party for nominating and voting for him. He said he would continue as board chairman for “as long as they want me.” The office is for a one-year term.

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