To the editor:
The controversy surrounding the removal of the Columbia County Office of Emergency Management from the County Sheriff’s oversight has raised the question of whether the intent was to achieve efficiency of services or just partisan politics.
Was this a plan that was “three or four years” in the making, as noted by a number of longtime Supervisors at the time of the vote on Jan. 3? Or was it a reaction to the results of last November’s County Sheriff election? While no Board member specifically raised that point, a number did question the timing of the public proposal, at the November 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting, and the necessity of voting at the Board’s first meeting of 2022; especially because there are four newly elected members to the Board this year.
This brings up the question, how familiar were these new members with this issue? As it turned out, three of the four voted in favor of the resolution. One of them, while stating his reason for voting “yes,” gave the impression that he was voting on the physical move of Emergency Management office from Hudson to Ghent, leaving one to wonder if he fully understood the purpose of the resolution. At least one of the new supervisors attending the 3 p.m. meeting, and voted “yes” on the resolution, was only sworn in as his town‘s supervisor later that night at his town board meeting.
While Chairman Murrell may have been well intentioned in this matter, the timing of the public announcement and the early vote opened the door to controversy. As the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”