NOTICE OF REGULAR MEETING OF THE
MADISON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
DATE: September 19, 2013
Place: Colgate Inn
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand with Democratic Candidate for re-election, our County Sheriff Al Riley and Democratic Candidate for County Clerk, Ann Jones at the Endless Trails Farm in Brookfield, NY, on August 7. The candidates joined the Senator at the farm while she was visiting Madison County pushing for passage of the Farm Bill. Both candidates have farming backgrounds and support the Senator in her effort.
Ann Jones will visit the Hamilton Farmers Market on Saturday, August 17 starting at 9 AM.
Two candidates were endorsed unanimously for county elections in November at the meeting of the Madison County Democratic Committee on May 30 at the Public Library in Chittenango: Sheriff Allen Riley, for re-election to a second four year term and Ann L. Jones, currently Senior Elections Clerk, for election to a four-year term as County Clerk.
Allen Riley and Ann L. Jones
Before hearing from these candidates, Michael Oot, chair of the committee, called for the Pledge of Allegiance and approval of the minutes submitted by Secretary Gwen Cary. Then he introduced Laura P. Costello, Democratic Elections Commissioner, to lead a discussion of the process of passing petitions to get candidates on the ballot, a process that starts on June 4th. Cautions were issued about the care that must be taken so that signatures on petitions meet legal requirements. Petitions were distributed for the two county candidates as well as for representatives to the Judicial Convention that will select candidates for the sixth Judicial District.
Oot then introduced Allen Riley, whose presentation emphasized the 50% cost savings that his re-organization of the Sheriff’s office during the past four years has realized. Savings resulted from reducing the number of cars through the sharing of vehicles and by scheduling on-site medical, dental, and psychological care at the jail. In addition, a ten-passenger bus was purchased with inmate money so that multiple cars and extra staff do not have to be deployed as often. Riley also pointed to improvements in the quality of life for inmates that have resulted from improved cleanliness accomplished by an inmate work crew. He also emphasized the success of vegetable gardening by inmates to supply the kitchen as well as non-profits. In addition, he praised implementation of a camera system that allows sheriffs to monitor various locations from the office. There are plans to support school safety by locating off-site offices for sheriffs at schools in Brookfield and Madison, thus doubling the off-site locations. At this point all sheriffs’ cars are equipped with computers to access needed data.
During the question period, Riley was asked what he sees as the goal of the Sheriff’s Office; his answer was that it is primarily to keep the county safe, a task, which has become more complex with the increase of violence in the population. He also was asked about the size of his operations: there currently are 154 Employees and 120 inmates. Riley has increased employee attendance at training sessions and the department now receives very few complaints.
Michael Oot then introduced Ann L. Jones, herself a member of the committee, as highly qualified to run for County Clerk. Jones traced her life story from its beginning in Michigan to the move to Central New York at age nineteen where she settled with her husband, Scott, a Madison County farmer. She took a degree in education at SUNY Cortland, taught elementary grades, and worked with migrant farm workers, suspending this work in 1997 due to a son’s injuries. Eventually she worked as Human Resources Manager for Bon Ton, but also over the years connected with the work of the Board of Elections as well as volunteer work, serving on the Board of the Community Action Program as well as the League of Women Voters as well as in groups like Rotary. In 2004 she accepted appointment as Senior Elections Clerk, a position in which she will continue during her campaign for County Clerk. Jones holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration through the Marist College program. She explained that she strongly believes that we do not need to invent the wheel, but instead need to use all available contacts on every level to develop more effective ways to carry out the essential tasks of the County Clerk.
After reports from the treasurer, fund-raising committee, and the regional vice-presidents, vacancies on the Committee were filled by vote of those present. Bruce Moseley nominated Sue McVaugh to fill a vacancy in Hamilton and to fill vacancies in Oneida, Gwen Cary nominated: Al Cohen, Evan Bellanger, Michael Bowe, Jerry DeBraccio, Dean Leland, Rick Kinsella, George Lighthall, Lori Lighthall, and John Southfield.
Lewis Carinci was asked to report on the Board of Supervisors’ meeting earlier in the day at which the agreement sponsored by Governor Cuomo with the Oneida nation was approved. Carinci described the previous three weeks of hectic interactions over the contract and the widespread sense that once Oneida County approved the agreement, Madison County really had no choice. He stressed how supportive Senator David Valesky had been of the county during this struggle, but that the manner of interactions with the governor as well as the Oneida nation and Oneida County really left Madison County without alternatives. He announced that every effort would be exercised to bring back what the county has lost and to encourage other counties to take action to claim their rights. Lively discussion of these and other issues continued after the meeting was adjourned.
Submitted by Wanda Warren Berry, Publicity Chair
Madison County Democratic Committee