HUDSON–Matt Murell(R) of Stockport was elected unanimously elected chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors for 2016 at the board’s annual organization meeting January 4.
The board also selected supervisors Rick Keaveney (R-Canaan) and Ron Knott (R-Stuyvesant) as deputy chairmen, Patrick Grattan (R-Kinderhook), who was chairman from 2012 through 2015, majority Leader, and William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward) Minority Leader.
In addition, five new supervisors joined the board: Peter Cipkowski, Hillsdale; Maria Lull, Chatham; Donald Moore, Hudson 3rd Ward; Edward Nabozny, Greenport; and Colleen Teal, New Lebanon.
The board began the transition to 2016 with a year-end meeting December 30, which saw passage of a short list of resolutions and recognized three outgoing supervisors: Jesse DeGroodt (Chatham), John Porreca (Greenport), and Ellen Thurston (Hudson, 3rd Ward). Mr. Grattan presented each of them with plaques.
“Every supervisor takes on a challenge. I have enjoyed this challenge. Have a Happy New Year,” Mr. Porreca said.
At that earlier meeting Mr. Grattan also received recognition for his four years as chairman from Mr. Hughes and Murell, his successor. Mr. Hughes said, “Sometimes we have not agreed, but it’s been a pleasure working with you.”
In his remarks late last month Mr. Grattan said, “I came to this country with my family in 1962, and exactly 50 years later I became Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. I owe a tremendous amount to this country. My mother never got beyond eighth grade. I became a lawyer. The challenge of being an American is to make the nation better, to make the year better. I’d like to thank each and every one of you.”
At the January 4 meeting, Mr. Murell started his term as chairman, saying to his fellow supervisors, “The first thing I’d like to do is thank you for your support. I’d like to welcome the new supervisors. I’d like to acknowledge my wife and son in the audience. I can’t not recognize my father, who was a Supervisor from Hudson’s 4th Ward for over 30 years. And I’d like to thank my friend Pat Grattan.”
Mr. Murell’s father, Benjamin Murell, was serving as Hudson supervisor at the time of his death in 2003.
Mr. Murell said the county faces challenges. Among the objectives he mentioned are:
- Updating infrastructure
- Working “with state and local officials to see if there are funds for repairing roads and bridges”
- Continue the county’s effort to collect back taxes.
He also endorsed the operation of the relatively new Central Business Office and cited the need to Find efficiencies while providing services.”
Mr. Murell worked for the state and the county for 32 years. His positions have included director of the Youth Bureau and Director of Youth Development. In December 2010 he retired and in February 2011 was appointed to the Stockport Town Board. He was elected Stockport Supervisor in November 2011. While on the board he most recently served on the human services, public safety, government, and finance committees.
He also said he hopes to “continue all the good work that Pat Grattan started.”
The next full county board meeting will take place Wednesday January 13, at 7:30 pm at 401 State Street in Hudson.