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Sun., Oct. 4
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Boatload of dissent


Something unprecedented happened at the Jefferson County Legislature last night.
For the first time this year, a "no" vote was cast. (Two, actually.)
Since I've been writing about the Legislature — I started in January — not a single legislator disagreed with any resolution that was up for consideration (Legislator Michael Astafan, who runs an appraisal company, has abstained on real-estate matters).
Tuesday night, all that changed.
The Legislature was debating a resolution that would allow the county sheriff to accept, as a loaner, a state boat to patrol Lake Ontario.
The state would keep ownership of the vehicle, but the county would be responsible for insuring it. The county's legal team hadn't reviewed the contract between the state and the county sheriff's department by Tuesday night (that's despite the fact that the boat is already sitting in the sheriff's department parking lot, said Andrew Neff, the under sheriff).
Legislator Scott Gray, R-Watertown, proposed tabling the resolution to give the county attorney time to review the documents in what could be a complicated matter: How do you insure something that you don't own?
Legislator Bob Thomas, though, argued that crime doesn't wait, and that the county shouldn't wait either to get the brand-new, 24-foot Boston whaler out on the waters.
Legislator Bobby Ferris noted that the resolution to approve the boat-borrowing included a passage that said the deal would only be finalized after the legal team reviewed the contract; so what's the big holdup?
Mr. Gray's resolution to table the boat loan passed, with 10 yeas and two nays.*
The Legislature will likely revisit the matter at its next meeting, and while there was concern about the lack of due diligence as of Tuesday night, the legislators were unanimous in believing that getting the boat, at some point in time, was a very good idea.
*Because of my error, I miscounted, in this blog post and in a newspaper story that I wrote, the number of legislators who attended Tuesday's board meeting. Three legislators were absent, so the vote was 10 yeas and two nays.

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