The recent attacks on Chairwoman Bernardo are so ridiculous that you have to wonder what peoples real motives are. First things first, I had to laugh when I read comments from Legislator Bob Aileo, this guy may be a senior legislator but he does not put in nearly the hours that Terry Bernardo puts in or his opponent Walter Frey used to put in when he was a legislator, Aileo proves elections sometimes can be popularity contests. And no offense, Bob Ailio does not have the credibility to attack anyone let alone Chairwoman Bernardo; there are members of the public that have been to more legislative meetings than sitting Legislator Bob Ailio.
Putting all that aside, the firing of a legislative clerk and the hiring of a payroll director, all can be justified and fingers can be pointed about how previous administrations have done the same thing but it's bigger than that. Terry Bernardo is a real business person and unlike many politicos, she has a real set of core values and principals that she believes in. I say that with all sincerity, I know her well and I'm speaking from my heart, she is one the nicest, most competent and dedicated person I have ever met in local politics.
Dave Donaldson is also a friend and fellow Democrat but he is another one whose comments I took acceptation with, here is an excerpt from the Freeman:
During his tenures Chairman Donaldson said, he fired only one county employee, Fawn Tantillo, a
former county lawmaker who had resigned from the Legislature and was
almost immediately appointed by then-Chairman Richard Gerentine, a
Republican, to a position in county government. Tantillo is now
Bernardo’s confidential secretary.
Donaldson said hiring and
firing in the legislative offices was then a function of either the full
Legislature or the Legislature’s clerk.
That may be technically true but lets not kid ourselves that's not what happened, Dave Donaldson was calling the shots when he was the Chairman and so were all the previous Chairs before him (Don't forget when Donaldson was Chair, he was the CE0 of Ulster County, this was before the Executive form of government took place. ) Donaldson's comments are unfair and not an example of leadership.
When in your in a leadership position, especially the Chair of the
legislature, you can never please everyone, there are 22 other members
from all over the county, each that have different issues and
constituent needs that need to be addressed. Disagreements come with the
territory; You earn political capital, in order to spend it, to achieve
Terry has every right to run her office in the best way she sees possible for the people of Ulster County, because at the end of the day, she is the one that is accountable if she does not achieve the ambitious legislative agenda that she has set forth. Terry accepts that responsibility, she deserves a chance to do her job. Not to be taken out for a walk every single week by her colleagues in the newspaper to score cheap political points.
My advise to Chairwoman Bernardo: fight back. You're Chair of the freaking legislature, take advantage of it, use your position as a bully pulpit, embarrass these legislators into doing the right thing, point out their hypocrisy..do not let them take advantage of you. Also work with the County Executive Mike Hein, he too is top notch and believes in doing the best thing for the people of this county.