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LETTER: Retirement presents opportunity

Editor, The Spotlight:

With Gregg Sagendorph’s retirement, the Town of Bethlehem will be losing one of the most dedicated and talented public officials that I have ever had the honor to work with. His work was his life, 24/7, 365 days a year. Yes, the roads were well maintained and yes, Bethlehem residents enjoyed the best snow and leaf removal program in the region, but it was the other things he did that set him apart. He always made sure the Memorial Day parade went off without a hitch, the holiday tree and menorah and the Four Corners clock were installed, etc. Whether it was the beautification committee, planting flowers or any other organization needing help to make Bethlehem a better place to live, Gregg was the first person they called. As supervisor, I relied upon him for advice and counsel on many issues beyond his scope of responsibility, as did many of my successors. Thank you, Gregg for a job well done!

There will never be another Gregg and with his retirement, I am glad to see that the town is taking the opportunity to move forward with a different approach. Gregg always worked well with the supervisor and Town Board, no matter what political party was governing. And even though he was independently elected, he always looked to the Town Board for policy direction and then carried it out. Yes, the board controls the budget, but other than that the highway superintendent is his or her own boss. When towns were much smaller, perhaps this made sense. In this time of huge budgets and complicated issues, there must be a clear chain of command and one responsible party for the decisions made. That responsibility should rest with the elected Town Board. Bethlehem has been fortunate to have had a person like Gregg, but other towns have not been so fortunate. That’s why many of them have eliminated this elected position. In addition to the management benefits, the town has identified a cost savings, as well. The time is right and I urge voters to move forward and vote for this change.

Ken Ringler

Former supervisor, Bethlehem

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