CHENANGO COUNTY – On Monday the Chenango County Board of Supervisors voted to change leadership as it faces several crises in 2021, including the pandemic, a recent cyber attack, a lack of reliable cell phone or internet access for residents and the depletion of emergency ambulance services.
The board voted Guilford Town Supervisor George Seneck as new chairman.
City of Norwich Supervisor Robert Jeffrey nominated Seneck and Greene Town Supervisor Joseph Henninge seconded the move.
Pitcher Town Supervisor Jeffrey Blanchard was also nominated. The former chairman of the board for the last nine years, Oxford Town Supervisor Lawrence Wilcox was not nominated.
“If we don't receive those federal dollars it is going to be a significant challenge to this board to decide how can we move forward,” said Seneck of the pending fiscal challenges.
“Maintaining the fiscal integrity of Chenango County amidst a pandemic is going to be an on going challenge, that I am sure we will be able to meet.”
“I am reaching out to the residents of Chenango County to ask themselves what they can do to build a better 2021 for us.”
“The first priority, and it may be for a while, is dealing with COVID-19,” said Seneck.
“I think the county did a pretty good job, I compliment our Health Director Marcus Flindt, he was on the ball with this in trying to put some plans together and so forth, I really think the county health department has done a tremendous job. I do think as a county we need to do a better job of getting information out to the public. Which is tough.”
“Internet is huge concern, we have people in Chenango County that don't even have internet in areas. A lot of school kids are remote and unless you have internet, how can you work remotely? It places a portion of our population, especially young people are at a severe disadvantage.”
“I ask you, 'What can you do as a member of the county board of supervisors for the resident and businesses of Chenango County?' I would ask you be as informed as possible, that you read your committee minutes before coming to the board sessions. That you continue to ask questions and invest some of your time in understanding where technology is taking us in 2021.”
“We have to ask, 'What has the pandemic taught us? Looking at renovation plans for the county office building, we need to reflect on what the pandemic has done and perhaps reassess our plans for those renovations, to better serve the county,” said Seneck.
“With EMS we have known for a long time the system was in crisis. I think at the county level we need to start saying 'Hey, what can we do about this?'”
“The city and towns providing service are getting stretched very very thin.” he said “ This is something the board needs to move forward with this year,” said Seneck.
“My position on that, I don't see the county itself providing emergency medical and ambulance service, that it becomes a function of county government.”
Seneck said there are other options. “Whether or not we can expand the paid services in Greene and Sherburne and the City of Norwich. Whether or not we are able, which I think maybe to provide some county financial assistance. We have to find out where the dollars come from.”