Rumors of county revolt just that

ELIZABETHTOWN - Swirling rumors that supervisors were poised to remove Essex County Manager Dan Palmer from his position proved to be without substance Tuesday, Dec. 7 as the county board overwhelmingly backed his bi-annual reappointment.

For an hour and 40 minutes, supervisors were sequestered in executive session debating Palmer's fate, as the county's top administrator paced back and forth between his office and the board chambers.

But when supervisors reconvened, nothing but support was voiced for the county manager.

Roby Politi is supervisor of the town of North Elba and vice chair of the county board.

"I for one can not make business decisions without up to date and relevant information in a timely manner. The information that we receive - from the Moriah Shock report, the budget deficit report, the county manager reports - are all done in a timely manner with relevant information," he said. "They allow each of you to make a decision, regardless."

Politi said although he doesn't always agree with Palmer on the issues, the manager's willingness to provide objective analysis is vital to county operations.

Numerous supervisors lauded Palmer as a wealth of information who is willing to push for the unpopular decisions for the good of county taxpayers.

The county manager job pays $98,000 annually. Palmer receives an additional $19,000 to manage the county's informational systems.

Five of the 18 supervisors voted to oust Palmer, each giving different reasons.

Finance Committee Chairman Tom Scozzafava has repeatedly gone head-to-head with Palmer, particularly about the use of more fund balance to pay down county taxes and the future of the Horace Nye Nursing home.

Scozzafava said he doesn't believe the position is necessary and that the county chairman could handle many of its current duties.

Seeking to pare-down an ever increasing budget gap, Palmer targeted non-mandated items like the nursing home and county fish hatchery for elimination.

Palmer said he was humbled by the support and noted that he was confident that although he was facing the criticism from some supervisors, he had the backing of the majority of the county board.

"I put 100 percent into what I do. I was very much moved by some of the comments by the board members," he said. "It was somewhat of a good day."

He was originally appointed to the job in 2008.

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