Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To serving up savings. The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services wants the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts to consider combining their food-service programs, similar to their collaboration on transportation. BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel says the two districts are saving a significant amount of money by sharing transportation services and a bus garage, and the districts also could save by sharing food programs. If the districts can maintain quality with this approach, they should move forward with it.

JEERS – To Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena. The judge refused to allow the press to take photos in the courtroom during the sentencing of killer Ivan Ramos earlier this week. Ramos, who murdered two people in Amsterdam, received life in prison. This newspaper formally requested permission to take photos and was denied by the judge. We see no good reason to deny the photo coverage. Certainly, photos taken at a sentencing have no effect on the outcome of the case. We repeat our call to all judges to give the public the opportunity to see justice being carried out. The state’s top judge, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who presides at the Court of Appeals, recently called for expanded access in courts. State lawmakers should follow the chief judge’s lead and permit the placement of cameras – still and video – in all courtrooms.

CHEERS – To the Mayfield High School Jazz Band. The band, led by Noel Wing, received a gold rating for its performance March 8 at the 26th annual Oneida High School Jazz Festival. The gold rating is the highest awarded at the festival. Congratulations to the band. The accomplishment marks another victory for the Mayfield music program.

JEERS – To the Johnstown town council. The infighting and name- calling among board members and the town supervisor must stop. We witnessed the unprofessional behavior again Monday night when members argued about pay rates. At one point, Supervisor Nancy MacVean said to council member Beth Schloicka, “You were the one who was screaming at me that I was no good as a supervisor or a budget officer. You tried to get me to swear at you or take a swing at you because Whizzy here had a camera on me the whole time and you thought you could take me to the ethics board.” When she said “Whizzy,” she was referring to council member Daryl Baldwin, who has worked as Whizzy the Clown. Town residents should be concerned about the decorum at these meetings. Town officials should work out their personal differences outside of council meetings and focus on serving the public at Town Hall.