As Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez delivered his first State of the County Address last week with the theme of everyone working together there are those maneuvering to make it his last speech as head of our governing body.
In an old power play grab – these legislators are attempting to muster five votes to pick a new chair during next January’s reorganization meeting.
Leading contenders to become chair in this attempted coalition coup is a known Democrat and Republican.
Since being elected Chairman, Alvarez has put his heart and soul into running our county. Luis is everywhere and liked by the clear majority of the public.
Alvarez wants to do what is best for Sullivan County and to some he is actually acting like a County Executive would by making tough decisions and leading.
His actions as chairman has also proven to be nonpolitical working with all members of the aisle.
In fact, this legislature under his leadership has acted proactive in cleaning up a lot of damage from past legislative bodies, and has moved on many important issues.
So then – You might ask – Why this behind the scene movement to remove Alvarez?
Well – there is criticism that Alvarez in not inclusive with other legislators – such as springing things on them the last minute. Some say they do not know what is going on. But, then again, that has been a criticism of all legislative chairs.
For instance, many legislators did not know about the hire of new Deputy County Manager Dan Depew until the legislature meeting last Thursday.
The former Wallkill Supervisor hire was made by County Manager Josh Potosek and under the charter it’s the County Manager’s call and just a rubber stamp of the legislature. Still some legislators are upset they were not included in the process.
There is also concern that Alvarez tells different things to different people.
But in actuality, Alvarez is really trying to find a middle ground to a solution to please all sides. In essence, he is using his law enforcement skills to mediate an issue and build a coalition.
Listening to Alvarez speak during his State of the County address one can easily see his compassion towards Sullivan County and desire to find answers to our many problems.
Alvarez was his best when he was off script and spoke from the heart.
His Theme for the night was that Sullivan County is at the dawn of a new era. “It is time we Walk Together to capitalize on those upcoming opportunities and to forge a better quality of life.”
He said as Chairman he is “Committed to walk together with fellow legislators, with our county departments, with our towns and villages, with our economy development and tourist partners, with our social service agencies and most important with the public at large that this great county to overcome difficult issues that faces us and take advantage of the economic opportunity that is finally at our doorsteps.”
Among the accomplishments of this legislative session Alvarez pointed to the rise in sales, mortgage and room tax revenues, and money recovered from social services cases involving fraud.
He stressed an uptick in tourism, Sullivan County’s hosting Governor Cuomo’s Challenge last summer, and a new tourism center.
Alvarez spoke about the construction of the new county jail in Monticello, something no other legislature could finalize. He also lauded Sheriff Michael Schiff and the Sheriff’s Department for their commitment in making Sullivan County safe and secure. As well as District Attorney James Farrell and his staff for the increase in felony convictions.
He pointed to County Clerk Dan Briggs for the screening of pistol permit applicants as applications grew by 700 percent, and praised Treasurer Nancy Buck and her office for their hard work.
One issue dear to Alvarez is making Sullivan County Healthy. He pointed to the Healthy Sullivan program to improve our low ranking, raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and creating a Workplace Wellness Committee among other initiatives.
Alvarez also spoke about the need to tackle all the drug abuse in Sullivan County.
He singled out his fellow legislators name by name and pointed out their contributions to the legislature displaying his desire to work with everyone and to build a coalition to improve our quality of life in Sullivan County.
Keep up the good work Luis Alvarez!
To view the entire 2017 Sullivan County State of the County Address please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu_PUie9BUo
Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on 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.