Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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May 30th, 2013

Samuelson Delivers a Diatribe

The entrenched elite still appear to be pulling many strings in Sullivan County, and Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson’s recent State of the County address was proof positive.

Samuelson does not recognize that In order to achieve the change we need, we need new people with creative fresh ideas to be part of this administration.

The audience, filled with many of our county’s movers and shakers, heard a speech that lacked motivation and innovation. Samuelson’s diatribe was so uneventful, the most excitement came when my cell phone rang and I was reprimanded.

Despite the fact that we were forced to pay a property tax hike this year above and beyond the 2 percent tax cap, Samuelson told the crowd that we ended 2012 with sales tax revenues $1,000,000 greater than what was anticipated.

Despite the fact that our unemployment rate in January was above 11%, foreclosures are at record highs, and taxpayers are struggling more than ever to pay their bills, Samuelson claims Sullivan County “is on the right path to achieving financial stability.”

Pointing to job layoffs at Catskill Regional Medical Center, Samuelson said our focus needs to be on the “creation of quality private sector job opportunities for our residents, and this legislature has an obligation to deliver results.”

Yes, Mr. Samuelson you do indeed have an obligation to deliver, the problem is that while you say “We must diversify our portfolio of businesses and jobs; balance our quality-of-life and standard-of-living, while protecting the many cherished assets throughout our County,” what have we seen so far besides talk? Nothing!

Do you really understand that we cannot continue to rely only on the Concord project or the Center for Discovery, Ideal Snacks, or the Monticello Motor Club to repair our economy? Whether the proposed China City development becomes a reality or not, Samuelson didn’t even see a need to mention it. Perhaps it is because his elitist inner circle is not involved in the project.

When Samuelson had the opportunity to appoint new people to the Economic Development Corporation he didn’t, instead he turned it into an advisory board because his members did not want to release personal information as required by law.

Samuelson told the crowd that that he was bringing all economic development entities under one roof, and potentially locating this “Economic Development One Stop” along with the Visitors Association, Partnership for Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development, and Industrial Development Agency together, in tandem with the county planning department at the site of the former Apollo Plaza, yet when questioned, several legislators said they knew nothing about this plan. Nor did they know the Visitor’s Association was going to open a visitor’s center at the Apollo Plaza.

While he did not discuss the fiasco pertaining to former County Manager David Fanslau’s contract, he did discuss the ongoing search for a County Manager. It would have been nice if Samuelson confessed to the audience that all nine legislators were not being included in the County Manager process the way they should be.

Samuelson chose to make no mention of the firing of David Sager or the scandal that is brewing at the Government Center over it.
Samuelson also failed to mention the deplorable way the accounting and tourism request for proposals were handled.

While Samuelson announced that Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will be adding a Conservatory to their repertoire, he failed to mention his upcoming concert series where he serves as curator.

Samuelson also failed to discuss mandates that are bleeding us to death or what the county is doing in its efforts to lobby Albany for mandate relief.

I am glad Samuelson acknowledged Sullivan County Community College’s new president Dr. Karin Hilgersom, and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s new Executive Director Greg Sandor, as well as how important agriculture is to our survival.

Samuelson also spoke about our need for a better infrastructure, and the upgrade to our 911 frequency that will enable law enforcement to communicate directly with our firemen, EMTs and other emergency responders.

He also singled out the new fraud investigator by the County and its success so far.

Despite some positive signs, it is time Samuelson understands his role as chairman, and steps up to the plate and gives direction. Samuelson must bring legislators to the table and heal wounds from the past several months. Samuelson needs to be open and honest with his peers.

Samuelson’s elitist inner circle must cease and all nine legislators must be brought into the conversation and provided information as a team.

Let’s hope for Sullivan County’s sake, Samuelson wakes up, and does something towards positive productive change during his second year as chairman.

Video of State of the County Address

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in the Sullivan County Post

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