Clarkson the best in public service

Letter to the editor

— Editor, The Spotlight

I am writing in support of John Clarkson’s candidacy for Bethlehem Town Supervisor.

As Chair of the NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency, which John served as Executive Director, I had the opportunity to work very closely with him over three years during which the Commission deliberated, produced a report, and carried out an extensive support operation for local efficiency initiatives across the State. I am very proud of the work we did together. The ideas we helped advance continue to be in focus, with local governments across the State under severe fiscal pressure, and strong interest from the Cuomo Administration.

John Clarkson is one of the foremost experts in local government I have met, and his technical knowledge, big-picture understanding, management and people skills were integral to the Commission’s success. Our fifteen members included local officials, academics and business people. The group was diverse in background and politics, and we came together on most policy issues, differed on others. There was no disagreement, however, that John and the staff he recruited did an excellent job.

When you work closely with someone, you come to know their character. I saw John work under intense pressure, including completing the Commission recommendations and report in the spring of 2008, as one Administration abruptly ended and another began. John and his staff didn’t miss a beat during that trying time; they kept their eyes on the task at hand and produced a report that was hailed in newspaper editorials statewide.

I believe that our Commission was a success in many ways. Legislation has been passed in a number of areas, although there is still much to be done. Most of all, I hope we helped spur existing local interest and support for shared services and local government modernization. As a former mayor, I know how difficult it can be to make changes at the local level, as does John. We are both optimists, however, and I think most people are. The local leaders I have always most admired are those that are willing to stand up when difficult choices face us, and today every government in New York State is facing difficult choices. John Clarkson is the right kind of leader for these times.

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