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Gillilland, Politi as Essex County chair and vice chair

January 11, 2019
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

ELIZABETHTOWN - The Essex County Board of Supervisors swore in a new chair and vice chair at the Monday, Jan. 7, organizational meeting.

Willsboro Supervisor and former Vice Chair Shaun Gillilland was sworn in as the new chair, replacing Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston. For the past couple of years, the trend has been that the vice chair gets elected to chair.

Preston announced in November that he wouldn't run for chair in 2019 because of health issues. North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi was sworn in as vice chair, a position he last held in 2012.

Article Photos

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi fist bumps Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston after being sworn in as Essex County vice chair at the Essex County Court House in Elizabethtown Monday, Jan. 7.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

In a rare event, Essex County Clerk Joseph Provancha didn't swear in Gillilland. That task went to Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville. She said it was the first time she's ever done that. Stefanik also presented a military challenge coin to Preston for his past two years of service as chair. The coin contains graphics of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, Olympic rings, the Adirondack Region, the U.S. Capitol and the American flag.

"I want to thank Randy Preston for his years of hardworking service on behalf of the families of Essex County," Stefanik said. "Despite personal adversity, he's taken the time to travel to Washington, to make sure that the issues of Essex County are on the top of my radar.

"I've only given out of few (challenge coins), but I'm truly honored to recognize you for your service."

Politi also commented and praised Preston for his work as chair.

"Most of us cannot appreciate the significance of his endeavors," he said, "serving his community, serving his county, sustaining his family and fighting cancer. Randy is an inspiration to all of us. He has made all of our challenges seem trivial."

Other positions that were filled during the meeting included new Essex County Sheriff David Reynolds and Stephanie DeZalia as the new supervisor for North Hudson. She replaced Ron Moore, who recently retired.

Amid the ceremonial aspects of the meeting, Gillilland said some top priorities for the board in 2019 are to successfully execute a pilot program for a county emergency medical service, fix broadband issues, close the digital literacy gap and map and catalog highway infrastructure.

Preston is an Independent while Gillilland is a Republican, and both of them said party lines don't impact the goals of the board as a whole.

"There is no avid partisanship," Gillilland said. "We agree and disagree, but then we compromise and come to conclusions. Partisan politics is really not a factor on the Essex County Board of Supervisors."

"Doesn't matter to Shaun or me what your party is," Preston added. "It's all about getting the job done and working together."



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