Letter to the Editor from Kathleen Hayek
Speaking on behalf of the Delaware County Democratic Committee
This appeared in The Reporter on December 1, 2021
and was also sent to the Mountain Eagle
“Since the early 1960s, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce has been the county’s tourism promotion agency. At the November 23 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, members voted 14-3 to remove that function from the chamber and “temporarily” turn promoting tourism over to the Delaware County Economic Development department, which has minimal experience with tourism.
One reason given was an audit of the Chamber’s tourism funds, but that was not a primary reason—the primary reason was political. Middletown Town Supervisor Patrick Davis said that his reason was “personal” because chamber board president Todd Pascarella ran against him. Chamber Program Manager Lillian Browne-Burdick also ran for Walton Supervisor against Joseph Cetta, who said he was voting no because he didn’t like the recent management of the Chamber. In addition, the Chamber’s support of legal cannabis sales led Harpersfield Supervisor James Eisel to claim that the Chamber has become too “political.”
In fact, what is too “political” is the Supervisors’ blatant retribution to the chamber members’ running against incumbent (Republican) officials. Chamber members have the right to run for office, just like any citizen of Delaware County. The Chamber has the right to have an opinion and promote a legal business. The county’s action regarding the Chamber is the latest in a long history of pure political retribution and abuse of power by county supervisors in the Republican Party. It sets a precedent that candidates for public office may not belong to public service organizations or contradict the current board, which is absurd and will prevent community-minded individuals from running.
Ending a 60-year relationship with the Chamber, whose very mission is to promote business and tourism in Delaware County, with clearly no plan for replacement, is also an insensitive and costly affront to our business community. As residents of Delaware County, we, the Democratic Committee of Delaware County, encourage the Board of Supervisors to correct this absurdity by putting personal politics aside with an immediate re-vote on this issue.
Kathleen Hayek, Chair
Delaware County Democratic Committee”