Long Time Adirondack Supervisor To Leave Post
Long-time Essex County, New York Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas announced today that he will leave that post to take a job in the Cuomo administration.
Democrat Randy Douglas has held the position as chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors for six one-year terms. That’s longer than anyone since the 1940's. In an emotional announcement at the end of Monday’s monthly meeting of the Board, he said he has accepted a job in the Cuomo administration. Douglas would not specify what the position is pending an announcement by the governor, but an administration official tells WAMC Douglas has been appointed as a member of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. “Today it is with a heavy heart and with definitely mixed emotions that I announce to you that a week from this Friday I will be stepping down as your county chairman and the first week of June I will be stepping down as the Town of Jay supervisor and a member of this body. Not an easy decision. My marriage is fine. My health is fine. Since Hurricane Irene many opportunities have become available and I’ve turned them down. But the time has come for me now to move on.”
Douglas talked about the challenges and accomplishments the county has faced during his tenure including devastation and rebuilding from Tropical Storm Irene, saving the Mariah Shock incarceration camp from closure and enhanced relationships with Albany and Washington.
He said the job of Board of Supervisors Chair has become particularly difficult in the wake of social media. That and burnout, he said, were key to his decision. “I have a wonderful town that I represent. We’ve been through it all: floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, many emergencies. I’m very fortunate to have such dedicated staff. The job of being county chairman is not easy anymore especially with social media. Social media is hard to be a public servant now a days because you can’t stop all the rumors. I can’t let things roll off my back so that’s the one that got me in the end. I’ve done my job. I’m proud of it. My daughter Savannah is here. My wife Peggy is here. I watched my grandfather leave this job and on the way home as a town supervisor he died at the town line between Jay and Keene. I watched my dad die in this position. I can no longer put my family through this.”
Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Republican Bill Ferebee will serve as acting chair until the board elects a new leader. “It’s a great opportunity for Randy. The governor’s got a great man going to work for him. I have shadowed Randy now for three and a half years as his vice-chairman. I think it will be a very smooth and easy transition should I get the nod. But you know it’s a job that the general public really does not realize how much time we put into this, both our town and then the county job.”
Finance Committee Chair Republican Tom Scozzafava says Douglas will be missed. “He certainly has the capability to be a tremendous asset to the state and to the governor. I’ve served with a lot of different chairs through the years. Randy brought one thing to this county that was lacking for many of those years and that was unity and bipartisanship. His commitment was for the betterment of the people of this county.”
An official announcement of Douglas’ new position is expected in the coming days.