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Baer accepts Wilber's county appointment quietly

Jan 08, 2011 1:32 pm
What had been the brouhaha of the moment for the final weeks of 2010, when Hillsdale Supervisor Art Baer questioned party leaders' decision to oust him as the county's Chief Budget Officer, quietly receded into history with a unanimous vote at the county's reorganization meeting this week. What happened and why did things go quiet after a loud series of letters in the local papers between the county's Republican, Conservative and Independence Party chairmen and Baer, who said governance decisions should be in the hands of the people and their reopresentatives, rather than party political leaders. Francesca Olsen of the Register Star has a piece in this morning's paper that describes what happened and starts to hint at some of the forces that rule Columbia County these days, as well as the manner of governance, and quieter politics, we can expect over the year to come.

When Ken Wilber - a former Ghent supervisor before becoming County Treasurer 16 years ago - suggested, in an interview with Olsen, that Baer could spend more time campaigning without the added $11,000 job as the county budget officer, the Hillsdale supervisor replied that he hasn’t decided if he’s running yet. “Ken has been the budget officer before and I’m sure he’ll do a good job,” he said, adding that he’s proud of the work he’s done during his budget officer tenure, especially the 0 percent tax levy increase in the 2011 budget.

“This is the lowest increase in county taxes in living memory and it wasn’t easy to get there,” Baer added. “It’s rather significant for the county to have no increase in a time like this... This was Roy (Brown)’s decision. I did it last year at Roy’s request. Now he’s requested Ken to do it. I don’t have a problem with it.” Why he did in 2010, then, seems to be the question. Which may be wrapped up with many political decisions of the year now past. For the full Register-Star story click here.