Supervisors note lack of volunteers

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County supervisors on Monday appointed and reappointed dozens of residents to county committees and councils in 2013, but they also took notice of dozens of seats left vacant – part of an ongoing challenge of finding volunteers to fill roles at the county level.

“There’s 30 vacancies throughout that board. I’m sure there are some people that would like to give back a little to the community and do something,” Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo said, after noting four seats remain open on the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Fifteen of those 30 vacancies are on the Fulton County Youth Bureau Advisory Board, leaving it with more vacancies than members.

“The state has been doing so many cutbacks on funding, the number of programs the Youth Bureau can operate is so small,” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead. “I think that’s part of the reason it’s hard to get people interested.”

Stead also said some members lose interest if their board isn’t active in “interesting decision making.” The county also copes with older members moving away or stepping aside after serving multiple terms. But the absence of pay for most positions doesn’t deter members, Stead said.

“I’ve never had a bunch of indications that people were leaving these advisory boards because they weren’t getting reimbursed or paid,” he said.

Other vacancies in 2013 include seven seats on the Office for the Aging Advisory Board, two seats on the Traffic Safety Board, two alternates to the Emergency Medical Services Council and one seat on the Fulton County Planning Board.

Among the appointments approved unanimously in resolutions by supervisors on Monday:

  • James Anderson, Robert Phillips and Robert Miller were appointed to the county Planning Board. Timothy Munn and Ryan Fagan were reappointed.
  • Francis Reed, William Sullivan, Joseph Gillis, Leonard House, Todd Rulison, Joseph Semione and George Bevington were appointed or reappointed as members of the county Industrial Development Agency.
  • Supervisors Robert Johnson of Stratford and Charles Potter of Gloversville were appointed to the Fish & Wildlife Management Board. Landowner representatives Richard Hart and Vern Duesler III were reappointed.
  • Sylvia Parker was appointed as a private-sector liaison for the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
  • Gloversville supervisors Mike Ponticello and Richard Ottalagano were reappointed as members to the Soil & Water Conservation District. Director-at-Large Richard Hart was reappointed.
  • Lee Hollenbeck was appointed as a member at large to the Greater Adirondack Resource Conservation & Development Council.
  • Mayfield Supervisor Richard Argotsinger and Jack Putman were reappointed to the county Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board.
  • Yvonne Major, Dorothy LaPorta, Kyla Gargulio and Ottalagano were reappointed to the Youth Bureau Advisory Board.
  • Gerald Gallup was appointed and Louise Sira was reappointed to the Community Services Board.
  • Cora Williams, Audrey Bowman, Ann Adore, Sandra Russo, Penny Smith, Donna Chambers and Anita Wineberg were reappointed to the Office for the Aging Advisory Board.
  • Arthur Spring, Parker and George Manchester were re-appointed to the county Ethics Board.
  • Matthew Murray was appointed to the Traffic Safety Board, while John Sira, Kristina Ruggeri and Anthony Reppenhagen were reappointed.
  • Kemper was appointed to the Fulton County Jury Board and to the Board of Trustees for the County Law Library.

All of Monday’s appointments were unanimously approved except Robert Roth, who was reappointed as Fulton County’s representative to the board of Capital District Off-Track Betting.

Potter, who preceded him on the OTB board, cast the lone dissenting vote, noting an overall decline in revenues from OTB – from more than $115,000 in 2010, to a projected $44,000 this year.

“It’s a free revenue source to the county, and with revenue being tough to come by, I hate to see it declining,” Potter said.