The Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
“People like having a single person to go to, having a town hall, a home base where they can come voice both town and county concerns, Scozzafava said.
The final tally from Moriah’s four voting districts in 1990 mirrored Scozzafava’s assessment, with 1,191 voting against the move and just 329 in favor.
Still, Huchro pointed out that seven of 18 Essex County’s towns voted in favor, and said many of those that voted against the move were fed misinformation from supervisors who were afraid of losing their jobs.
“They ran around telling people that the towns were going to lose their identity, when in reality they were just worried about losing their paycheck,” Huchro said.
Huchro said what many do not realize is that supervisors are paid salaries by both their towns and the county.
“They should be working just as hard for the county where they get their fringe benefits as they do for the town,” Huchro said. “And it just doesn’t happen.”
Scozzafava now says he’d support studying the idea again.
“Looking at the complexity today of town and county government, I would support looking at a board of legislators again,” Scozzafava said. “The reality is you get caught in the crossfire a lot. It is hard to represent both.”
Westport’s current Supervisor, Dan Connell, said he’d also most likely support studying a board of legislators, but said people should not be so quick to jump on the bandwagon simply because there may be a cost savings associated with it.
“First, and to me most importantly, if one looks at this as just the cost in salaries they are doing an injustice to a study of the two systems,” Connell noted.
Connell said there are many hidden cost benefits that come from supervisors representing their towns on the county board, such as shared services in areas like highway maintenance and grant writing.