New chairman sets agenda

Northampton Supervisor James Groff, center, presides over his first Fulton County Board of Supervisors meeting as board chairman Tuesday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. At left is County Attorney Jason Brott and at right is Administrative Officer Jon Stead. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — New 2018 Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Groff said Tuesday he doesn’t have an ambitious personal agenda, but is looking forward to seeing infrastructure projects continue.

Groff, the town of Northampton supervisor, made brief remarks after being unanimously elected chairman at the board’s organizational meeting at the County Office Building.

“I don’t see a lot of things to put out there to do,” Groff stated.

But the 69-year-old Republican lawmaker said he is interested in seeing some of the county’s ambitious projects come closer to fruition in 2018. They include the Vail Mills development area in the vicinity of Routes 29 and 30, and the various Smart Waters projects the county will continue to work on this year.

Groff said the Fulton County Demolition Team will hopefully be utilized more in 2018.

“I’d like to get our demolition team on the right path,” the new chairman said.

Later in the meeting, Groff added: “We have a lot to do this year. Let’s try to get as much as we can done.”

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan nominated Groff as chairman following a Republican caucus conducted in the office of county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

“It’s an honor to nominate Mr. James Groff,” Fagan said. “I’ve known Jim quite a few years.”

Fagan said he worked with Groff on union negotiations. He Said Groff will “disagree” with your opinion on an issue, but still respect your differing opinion.

“I think he’s going to serve very well as chairman of the board in 2018,” Fagan said.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery nominated Johnstown Town Supervisor Jack Wilson as board vice chairman for 2018. The board elected Wilson.

Groff, the board’s 2017 vice chairman, replaced Johnstown 2nd Ward Supervisor Mike Kinowski as board chairman.

He resides at 163 W. Prospect St., and he has served on the Board of Supervisors since 2014. He served in 2017 as vice chairman of the board’s Public Safety Committee. He also served this year on the board’s Buildings and Grounds/Highway Committee and Finance Committee.

He was re-elected in November to a second, three-year term as Northampton supervisor, facing no opposition.

He first started his service on the Northville Village Board in 1977. He served as mayor of Northville from 1994 to 2013, at which time he ran for supervisor. In November 2013, Groff defeated incumbent, former Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper to take that seat.

Over the years, Groff has served as a volunteer firefighter and as an officer with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department. He has served the village of Northville and town of Northampton areas in various capacities for years, including on the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.

Groff and his wife, Nora, have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at