- Rich Klein
GUNTHER 'WON'T TOLERATE' DOHERTY'S BEHAVIOR TOWARDS WOMEN
MANY REPEAT THEIR CALLS FOR DOHERTY TO RESIGN
RAJSZ URGES VOTE OF 'NO CONFIDENCE"
CONKLIN, BROOKS SAY THEY NEED PROOF KELDER WAS CALLED "C" WORD BY LEGISLATURE CHAIR
MONTICELLO - Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther sent a strong message to Rob Doherty today that she will not tolerate the latest behavior by Sullivan County's Legislature chair.
Doherty reportedly called Town of Liberty Assessor Vanessa Kelder the "C" word at a Liberty Board of Assessment meeting on November 2. Kelder has gone on the record with what happened.
Rachel Steingart, a key staffer for Gunther, delivered the rebuke in person at this morning's Parks, Agriculture and Sustainability Policy Committee during public comments.
At the same time, Legislature Nadia Rajsz called on her colleagues for a "vote of no confidence" in Doherty as chair.
Multiple residents went to the podium this morning calling for Doherty - and County Attorney Michael McGuire - to resign.
Legislator George Conklin III refused to say that he would support a vote of no confidence even if he learned that it was a fact that Doherty used the word towards Kelder. (Legislator Ira Steingart had just asked Conklin what he would do if he learned that the word was used).
Steingart offered Doherty a chance to defend himself at the public meeting today, but Doherty said he "stands by" his prior statement.
During public comments, Town of Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo said "I will stand by my people in Liberty. " He said that the Liberty Town Clerk (Laurie Dutcher) witnessed what happened on November 2, that he called McGuire that day and that his employees "gave their witness accounts" that were reflected in a letter that DeMayo sent to the Legislature.
Legislature Vice Chair Michael Brooks said that he was also unaware what happened on November 2. He said he only heard that his County Attorney was "being aggressive."
"If any one of us says that (the "c" word) then you know what..then if you say that to anyone, and especially at a public meeting, then you should vacate your seat. But nobody mentioned to me about the "c" word. Brooks then followed Conklin's line of thinking that he had no proof that Kelder was verbally abused by Doherty.
Rajsz then told Brooks: "For you not to believe her, is highly offensive."
The Board of Assessment meeting was prompted by the Legislature's failure to recognize that when it transferred the Care Center at Sunset Lake property to the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation, the parcel was no longer a tax exempt property. It was Kelder who brought that to the attention of many and sent the County a bill for $226,000.
Resident Kenneth Walter today expressed outrage at the County's failure to consider the tax consequences before the property was hastily transferred to the LDC>
Resident Catherine Scott called the fiasco a "smash and grab" in referring to Doherty and McGuire's initial plans to remove the Care Center from government control in July 2020.
Editor's Note: Soon after this story was published, The SullivanTimes received the attached documents. The first is a memo written by Liberty Town Assessor Vanessa Kelder and the second is a letter sent to the County Legislature by Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo.