CHEERS - To transparency. All it took were five members of the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education to just say no to an executive session. At Monday's meeting, a motion was made to go into closed executive session to discuss a matter involving board members' efforts to oust the board president. But when the vote was taken, the motion failed, and the meeting continued in public session, as it should. An executive session would have made it easy for members and school administrators to talk about issues that shouldn't be discussed behind closed doors. We congratulate the board members who prevented a cone of silence and discussed the issue in the open so members of the public could see what's going on with their school board.
JEERS - To forgiving. Montgomery County supervisors voted this week to "conditionally" forgive the balance of a $487,500 loan given to a local company in 2008. It's difficult for the average person to understand how more than $300,000 can be forgiven. Four years ago, the company, Power Pallet, came to a county agency with a request for $503,500 for a building expansion that would create 65 full-time jobs. The company was granted the loan through a Community Development Block Grant. Fast forward to October 2012. The company came back before county officials requesting approximately $300,000 be forgiven because economic times are tough and the company has had unexpected expenses. Meanwhile, only 29 of the 65 new jobs promised in the original application have been filled in the past four years. This week, the majority of the supervisors voted to forgive the balance of the loan with the stipulation the company hire 11 more people, which still would fall short of the promised 65. Instead of forgiving the loan, the county should have renegotiated it.
CHEERS - To not giving up. The Hamilton County Industrial Development Authority and the village of Speculator took control of Oak Mountain in 2007, when the ski center faced foreclosure. During the past five years, there have been a few managers along with some tremendous support from local volunteers and elected officials to keep the 65-year-old center operational. This season, it is being taken over by Matt and Laura O'Brien, who want to see the center become a year-round attraction. It can be done with hard work, community support, foresight and not giving up. Just ask Jim Blaise, the owner of Royal Mountain, a successful ski center in Caroga. Good luck to the O'Briens.