TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — It’s a new year with new faces on Tompkins County Legislature. 

New and returning legislators were sworn in Tuesday at the first Tompkins County Legislature meeting of the year. A new chair and vice chair was also selected. 

Five new legislators were elected to Legislature in November, including Henry Granison (District 3), Anne Koreman (District 5), Deborah Dawson (District 10), Shawna Black (District 11) and Amanda Champion (District 12).

Martha Robertson was unanimously elected chair of the Legislature, replacing Mike Lane. There were two nominees for vice chair — Dan Klein, who previously served in the role, and Anna Kelles.

The first round of voting for vice chair was evenly split between Kelles and Klein. But after the vote, Klein withdrew himself from consideration. In a second vote, legislators unanimously supported Kelles for the position.

While the meeting Tuesday was the first for new legislators, it was the last for Deputy County Administrator Paula Younger, who has taken a position at Ithaca College. She has served as deputy county administrator for 11 years. 

Robertson added a proclamation to the agenda highlighting Younger’s work for the county. Younger is stepping into a newly created position at Ithaca College — executive director for government and community relations.

“We wish Paula the very best success in her new role,” Robertson read.

Related: Tompkins Deputy County Administrator Paula Younger takes new role at Ithaca College

Joel Molino will start soon as the county’s new administrator, replacing former Tompkins County Administrator Joe Mareane who retired in November.

Zee Zahava, who is returning as Tompkins County’s poet laureate this year, added a little poetry to Tuesday’s meeting, reading, “Bengal Spice Tea.

Selected by the Community Arts Partnership, the purpose of the position is to “honor local outstanding poets, integrate poetry into the community, enrich the education of our young people, and enhance the County’s position as a cultural center,” according to the Community Arts Partnership. The position of poet laureate has roots dating back to the 17th century in England. Though Tompkins County can’t boast such a long history of having a designated poet, there has been county poet laureate since 2001.

Interested in keeping up with meetings and resolutions passed by Tompkins County Legislature? Follow our Tompkins County Legislature Hub for weekly updates

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.