My view

Unacceptable county leadership

By DAVE COLAVITO

Posted 11/16/21

I suppose Robert Doherty, chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, has valuable life experience and skills to offer. Unfortunately, he’s demonstrated those needed to effectively lead our …

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My view

Unacceptable county leadership

By DAVE COLAVITO

Posted

I suppose Robert Doherty, chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, has valuable life experience and skills to offer. Unfortunately, he’s demonstrated those needed to effectively lead our county aren’t among them. It’s worth keeping this in mind before legislators meet in January to decide whether he’ll remain in his present role.

On balance, his chairmanship has ushered in a toxic and chaotic environment the likes of which I’ve not witnessed in all my years observing county affairs. Readers and residents shouldn’t take anyone’s word; video of meetings he’s presided over for nearly two years is accessible from the county website. The Town of Liberty’s recent correspondence to our county legislature outlining the “unprofessional, condescending, an attempt to intimidate, disrespectful, unethical and completely inappropriate” behavior displayed by Doherty, Sullivan County Attorney Michael McGuire, and two other county employees against Liberty officials on November 2 is just the latest dishonor Mr. Doherty has brought to his office.

Everyone understands ours is a system of vigorous debate where everyone is entitled to their say, but not necessarily their way. But when calls among county legislators for Mr. Doherty to step down include those from within his own party, when some in the legislature’s Republican majority leave that party disgusted by his leadership, and when county taxpayers are on the hook to pay for at least one ongoing lawsuit filed against him for his lack of impulse control, these and other disqualifying developments require our attention.

It’s past time that appointing the chairman receives the same public scrutiny as any other important policy decision. I can’t say if Mr. Doherty will be reappointed. What I can say is any legislator supporting it will have their reputation tied to his.

Dave Colavito lives in Rock Hill, NY.

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