Berne has worked diligently to form partnerships in a way that is innovative and fiscally prudent
To the Editor:
I usually do not respond to letters to the editor, but Mr. [Alexander] Gordon’s letter last week was full of false accusations, misinformation, and blatantly wrong “facts” regarding the town of Berne. I am also amazed that Mr. Gordon, who was fiercely opposed to shared services and consolidation while he was a county legislator, has now become its champion and considers himself an expert.
When the town of Berne and Albany County were the first to explore shared services and consolidation in 2007, the process was open and transparent with stakeholders invited to the table and letters sent to every Berne homeowner asking for input.
Mr. Gordon was asked by the County Executive to participate in this process of open and honest communication and deliberation and he refused and used the opportunity to criticize the Albany County workers for his own benefit (see the letter in response to Mr. Gordon’s criticism from the Commissioner of Public Works dated March 2, 2007).
Because Mr. Gordon refused to be involved in our open process, he knew very little about the substance or the discussions that took place. For the record, the Berne Town Board never had any plans or intentions to sell any town assets.
Over his 12 years in public office and eight years as chairman of Public Works, Mr. Gordon never once discussed shared services or consolidation until the county and town of Berne began work on it in 2007. Then, all he expressed was adamant opposition.
It was only after Mr. Gordon was soundly defeated and out of office that the town of Berne and Albany County were able to form strong partnerships thanks to the county executive, Dan McCoy, Department of Public Works Commissioner Darrell Duncan, and majority members from the county legislature.
We have done shared services with the Albany County Department of Public Works, senior transportation with the Albany County Department of Aging, and we are working on other shared services to bring additional resources to the Hilltowns.
The town of Berne also has many wonderful partners with state and federal government, which have resulted in a new sewer for the hamlet of Berne and a state road project of close to $900,000 to widen and replace a bridge. This work would not be possible without Congressman Paul Tonko, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, and State Senator Cecelia Tkaczyk. All of these elected officials have only the best interest of our citizens whom they represent and serve.
The Berne Town Board has worked diligently to form these partnerships and oversee our great town in a way that is both innovative and fiscally prudent. Many wonderful things are happening in Berne and Berne continues to be a leader of what is best for its residents.
Mr. Gordon seems unaware of any of this but I am glad that he has come to see the value of shared services and consolidation — for, as we in the town of Berne have known all along, it can be a win-win for taxpayers and residents. I only wish that Mr. Gordon had had this view and had helped us to achieve these goals back in 2007 when the town could have taken advantage of millions of dollars in grant funding.
I wish Mr. Gordon a happy retirement as I take him at his word, after he lost the election, when he said he would not seek public office again.
Berne Town Supervisor