Leadership of Tompkins County Legislature remains unchanged in 2017.
Legislator Mike Lane was re-elected to a fourth year as chair of the legislature, and legislator Daniel Klein was re-elected as vice chair for a second year.
Lane is serving his fifth term and was first elected in 1993. He represents District 14, which includes the eastern part of the Town of Dryden, including the villages of Dryden and Freeville.
Klein represents District 7, which includes the towns of Caroline and Danby and a portion of the Town of Ithaca, has been a legislator since 2014. Previously he served on the Danby Town Board from 2007 to 2013. He has chaired the Government Operations Committee during the past two years and is one of the county’s representatives on the board of directors of Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit.
The positions are filled each year by majority vote of legislators. Lane and Klein were the only nominations advanced, according to Marcia Lynch, public information officer for Tompkins County. Lane and Klein were elected unanimously, with Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne excused.
Legislator Dooley Kiefer nominated Lane as chair Tuesday, saying Lane has done an excellent job being the “public face” of Tompkins County. Kiefer said it also appropriate for Lane to serve as chair in 2017, the county’s bicentennial year. Lane is the co-chair of the Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission.
Thanking legislators for their vote, Lane said “It’s humbling.”
Lane said legislators have had disagreements, but they have never become personal.
“I think we have the best interest of all of our constituents at heart as we cast our votes, as we talk and debate and as we try to move our county forward into these early years of the 21st century,” Lane said.
One member of the public voiced concern about Lane being re-elected. At the Dec. 20 legislature meeting, Dryden resident Joanne Cipolla-Dennis said she did not think Lane should be elected again, stating she believes Lane has shown bias and discrimination regarding public comments and some female legislators’ comments.
Legislator Anna Kelles nominated Klein for vice chair and said she has been impressed by how level-headed and thoughtful he is.
Lane will deliver his annual chair’s message and announce the 2017 committee structure and appointments at the next legislature meeting Jan. 17.