Wilcox named chairman; Gordon new county attorney

NORWICH – Oxford dairyman Lawrence Wilcox was unanimously appointed board of supervisors chairman Tuesday at the kickoff of Chenango County’s 214th year of deliberations.

The 63-year-old veteran lawmaker was sworn into office along with newly-appointed County Attorney Alan E. Gordon, Public Defender John D. Cameron, Budget Officer William C. Craine and Clerk of the Board RC Woodford. The Honorable Kevin M. Dowd, Supreme Court Justice, officiated.

Wilcox said he was “greatly humbled” by the board’s support. He thanked his family for shouldering the work of their business so he could accept the position, and saluted outgoing Chairman Richard B. Decker and past administrations for making the soon-to-be debt-free Chenango County “the envy of other counties.”

Looking ahead, however, Wilcox pointed to the challenge of levying the approximately $23 to $24 million required from property taxpayers annually in order to run the county’s government in the face of a state-imposed cap on the growth of those taxes as well as multiplying mandates.

“The tax cap on local governments is addressing symptoms of illness, but it’s not the county’s illness. The state wants county governments to take care of it,” he said.

Clerk of the Board of Supervisors RC Woodford introduced the seven new supervisors elected in November: John N. Lawrence of Afton; Tom P. Grace of Columbus; George L. Westcott of Coventry; Dr. Robert Wansor of North Norwich; Robert M. Jeffrey representing Wards 4-6 in the City of Norwich; Evan T. Williams of Otselic; and Fred J. Heisler Jr. of Smithville.

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