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  • Rich Klein



Rob Doherty, at left ,with Michael Brooks when they were first elected as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the County Legislature two years ago.

MONTICELLO -District 1 Legislator Rob Doherty today was re-elected chair of the Sullivan County Legislature for two more years after District 9 Legislator Alan Sorensen cast the decisive vote at the body's reorganizational meeting this morning. The vote was 5-4.

Doherty was nominated by District 3 Legislator Michael Brooks, the vice chair of the Legislature who was re-elected to that position today by the same margin.

District 5 Legislator George Conklin III and District 4 Legislator Nicholos Salomone Jr. also voted for Doherty, who also voted for himself.

District 7 Joe Perrello, who was challenging Doherty for the position, immediately told Sorensen:

"Your reputation just went out the window. You will go out as the worst legislator in Sullivan County. With all the good you've done to keep continuing this nonsense in this County."

"Yeah, Alan you sold us all out," District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz said.

Sorensen is the longest-serving legislator who works as the Orange County Planner.

Aside from Rajsz, Perrello had the support of District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart and District 6 Legislator Luis Alvarez plus a vote for himself.

Conklin and Sorensen were attending the meeting by video.

Going into today's vote, and as The SullivanTimes previously reported, it was known that Sorensen would cast the decisive vote to put either Perrello or Doherty over the top.

After the vote, Doherty made a short speech that was interrupted by jeers from the audience. "I would like to thank my colleagues for reaffirming their confidence in my vision and leadership for the county," Doherty said. "Progress is a nice word but change is a motivator ..and I'm a catalyst for change. Change has its enemies, judging by my enemies."

Doherty is reportedly under investigation initiated by Majority Leader Sorensen and Minority Leader Steingart for his behavior in the Town of Liberty on November 2 in which he is accused of calling Liberty Assessor Vanessa Kelder the "c" word. On that day, Doherty brought County Attorney Michael McGuire, Assistant County Manager Michelle Huck and one other assistant county attorney to a Town of Liberty Board of Assessors meeting unannounced.

There, Doherty and McGuire allegedly tried to bully Kelder and others into reversing the town's decision to collect $226,000 that Liberty says it is owed by the County after Doherty signed off on the transfer of the Care Center at Sunset Lake to the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation. The transfer of the parcel removed the Care Center's tax exempt status, according to Kelder and Mayor Frank DeMayo.

The investigation into Doherty, launched in recent weeks - and publicly called for by Sorensen- was the culmination of two years in which Doherty has often worked secretly to advance his agenda - while bullying and threatening fellow legislators Alvarez, Rajsz and Perrello in public.

And more recently, it became known that Doherty signed a contract on December 6 with Hatzolah Air to lease a significant portion of the Sullivan County Airport for at least 30 years without the knowledge of most legislators and McGuire and that reportedly also came as a surprise to County Manager Josh Potosek and Public Works Commissioner Edward McAndrew. SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM


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