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Fuss about chairs irks Chair Douglas

The Essex County Board of Supervisors

The Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas was not pleased that some have tried to politicize the purchase of new chairs.

During the May 7 regular board meeting of the board, Douglas responded to those who have been critical of the discussion about replacing the chairs in the county boardroom which took place during the April 30 Ways and Means Committee Meeting.

“We didn't have to bring it to the board,” Douglas said. “It's a safety issue. Half of these chairs are over 100 years old. Let's not make this a political thing. This is ridiculous. I got a phone call from an employee and they hung up on me because they did not want me to know who was calling. The chairs have to be replaced and that's it.”

Douglas said that there were options for the chairs.

“We are not going to throw them away,” Douglas said. “We were talking about looking at giving them to the museum and we could also look at refurbishing them.”

During the Ways and Means meeting, Douglas said that there were concerns about the chairs.

“Somebody is going to fall out of one of these and really is not funny because somebody is going to get hurt,” Douglas said. “I know (Margaret) Bartley has said that she has priced out chairs… It is time we do it. We need to bite the bullet.”

Douglas said that Bartley had approached the board about anonymously donating chairs to the board.

Bartley said that she was almost hurt during her first meeting at the county.

“The first meeting I attended here I didn’t have one with wheels,” Bartley said. “Somebody said that somebody else took that one and when I pushed the chair back, it started to come apart and Dan (Connell) here took his fist, turned it over and pounded it back together with his fists and I said this has to stop. I could have ended up on the floor.”

At the April 30 meeting, Douglas prophesized that there could be backlash over the discussion.

“I know people are worried about what the public is going to say with getting ourselves new chairs, it is needed, it is a safety issue,” Douglas said. “Deb (Palmer) and Dan (Palmer), please work on the information that Margaret has already researched thoroughly, we need new chairs.”

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