Montgomery County Legislative Board sworn in

For the first time, the new Montgomery County legislatures stand together at their organization meeting Tuesday night. (The Leader-Herald/Opal Jessica Bogdan)

FONDA — The Montgomery County Legislature unanimously elected Roy Dimond as the new chairman of the Legislature last night.

Dimond received the nomination for the position from District 6 Legislator John Duchessi. District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell seconded the nomination.

“We have always looked for a chairman that has had experience,” District 8 Legislator Joseph Isabel said in support of the nomination. “Before you take your vote, I want you to [think] regardless of your feelings, that you should have somebody with experience.”

Dimond previously served as the District 3 Legislator for the past three years, and had again been elected for the same position this past election.

“I was very confident that I had a minimum of five votes, so it was honestly nothing unexpected” Dimond said. “Part of my agenda is to clean up some things that we didn’t get to in the previous session.”

Dimond mentioned a road study program that had been previously started. Under the program, the towns would be paid to plow the county roads in their jurisdictions. Dimond said because of the mild winter last year, it was not a good year to start, which he now plans to do as soon as possible.

Looking to the future, he said plans to move forward with the capital plan for the county were a high priority on his list. The first few phases of the plan, which included a new public safety building and the opening of a social services office in Amsterdam, have already been in place and Dimond said he looks forward to doing more.

“I think that the main thing the Legislators can do is support the county executive in any way, so that they have the tools that they need to work with to move forward,” Dimond said.

Cheryl Reese was also elected as the clerk, nominated by Duchessi.

“She has been more than just a clerk, she has also been a partner,” Duchessi said in regards to Reese.

Duchessi also received recognition himself, as he was again elected as deputy chairman of the board. The deputy will carry out the authority granted to the chairman in the absence of the chairman.

“I am happy to be appointed to this position,” Duchessi said. “I think we should work together and move forward.”

Earlier in the evening, each Legislator was sworn into their position by Supreme Court Judge Joseph Sise.

“It’s just great to be here and be a part of our family that is Montgomery County,” Sise said.

After taking the oath, Dimond spoke about some experience he has had thus far serving Montgomery County.

“It’s very good to be back here for another three years,” Dimond said. “We have a lot of work to do and the goal for my fellow Legislators is a simple goal, and that’s to leave Montgomery County in a better place than we found it.”

Legislator District 7 Michael J. Pepe said he looks forward to being a new member of the Legislature and said he felt honored just to be on the board.

“It was something that I always had in the back of my mind — to get involved with politics,” Pepe said. “I have been very involved the community for 30 years, serving on about a dozen boards. So it seemed like a natural progression, but politics does add a whole new dimension.”

Pepe said he brings an economic development background to the board and has worked in finance. Having that background, he said he hopes to focus on economic development, as well as focusing on education.

“Anytime you get involved with something new, there is a little apprehension and I want to make sure that I do a good job, I want to do it right and I want to move the county forward,” Pepe said. “If tonight is any indication, we are off to a good start.”

The Legislature officials are: Legislator District 1: Martin P. Kelly; Legislator District 2: Brian D. Sweet; Legislator District 3: Roy S. Dimond; Legislator District 4: Robert Headwell, Jr.; Legislator District 5: Daniel P. Wilson; Legislator District 6: John M. Duchessi; Legislator District 7: Michael J. Pepe; Legislator District 8: Joseph M. Isabel; and Legislator District 9: Robert A. Purtell.

By Patricia Older

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