Oberacker resigns from county board; committee nominates replacement

State Sen.-elect Peter Oberacker Jr., R-Maryland, resigned his seat as the Otsego County Representative for District Six on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The county's Board of Representatives must appoint a replacement within 30 days.

Thursday, Nov. 19, the board's Administration Committee approved Jennifer Mickle to replace Oberacker. The meeting was held via Zoom, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and broadcast on Facebook.

Mickle, an Oneonta real estate agent who lives in the town of Maryland, must still be approved by the full board at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 2. She won the endorsement of District Six members of the Otsego County Republican Committee and also had Oberacker's endorsement.

The appointment advanced by weighted vote, but Andrew Marietta, D-Otsego, voted against it. He said he looked forward to meeting Mickle and might vote for her in December.

Several other Democratic members of the board joined the meeting to question why Mickle's name had been rushed forward without allowing the Otsego County Democratic Committee time to nominate their own candidate. They noted that only a few people had advance notice of Oberacker's departure, while others expected him to chair the Public Works Committee into December to finish some long-standing projects.

Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick, Milford, New Lisbon, said OCDC had been given the chance to nominate a candidate and declined, which the Democrats said was a time issue.

"Less than 24 hours notice is really unacceptable," said Rep. Jill Basile, D-Oneonta. "We should be acting as a group in the best interest of the county. It is just really disappointing."

Although several Republicans told the Democrats they should have had a candidate ready given the circumstances, Kennedy, the committee chair, said she wasn't trying to be divisive. She said the Republicans gave her a candidate and the Democrats did not and it was her job to move the nomination forward to comply with the 30-day rule.

"All indications were we would have more time to come up with this thing," said Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield, "and I don't understand why we don't have more time."

Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, said he, too, was caught off guard by the timing of Oberacker's resignation, as he did not know until Wednesday night, but he said he trusted Oberacker's endorsement of a successor.

Oberacker, a former town of Maryland supervisor and CEO of Form Tech Solutions, a food research company, defeated Jim Barber in the Nov. 3, election to replace Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, in state Senate District 51.

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