On the eve of his second town board workshop and meeting as Olive supervisor, we asked Jim Sofranko how things were going in his new job.
“I suffered an accident falling on the ice behind the Town Office on my third day of the job (Jan. 6),” he wrote back. “I detached three tendons in my rotator cuff and got surgery about 10 days ago. I’ll be in a sling for at least another month. Prior to the surgery I was able to work on town business but with limited movement in my arm. I got my home computer hooked up with the Town computer so I can get a fair amount of the day-to-day work done at home. Deputy Supervisor Drew Boggess has been very helpful in filling in for me since the surgery.”
Not one to be un- or out-done by circumstance, Sofranko — a town board member before his election to Olive’s top spot in November — went on to describe his “trials the first few weeks aside from the injury.”
Getting used to the workflow of the business of the town. Getting used to the filing necessary for archiving, which the supervisor admitted his predecessor, Sylvia Rozzelle, was great at “and left me with a good system with which to work.” (Rozzelle, it should be noted, was town clerk for three decades before becoming supervisor).
“Discerning and creating timelines between short term necessities and longer-term ongoing projects,” Sofranko added. Plus “Getting to better know the office staff, their duties, and responsibilities. The office staff has been very supportive especially in light of my accident.”
There have also been accomplishments, of course, which the supervisor was similarly quick to admit.
He visited with all the town committee meetings or spoke to their chairs to discuss goals and applaud the ongoing volunteer work they perform for our community. He created board liaisons and established smaller informal committees to address issues such as facilities, technology and zoning. He completed the bid process for a major stream remediation located in West Shokan that had been initiated by Supervisor Rozzelle. He appointed two new members to the Olive Conservation Advisory Council — Sarah Loertscher and Chester Karwatowski. He attended the quarterly meeting of the Onteora administration and the Ulster County Association of Supervisors monthly meeting, cast and all.
Most importantly, he helped to fill his own vacated position on the town board in a seamless way that has helped build a cohesive board to work through other town business throughout the coming two years.
“We appointed Victoria Read to the town board at my suggestion at our January Organizational Meeting,” Sofranko wrote. “Victoria approached me in the late fall expressing an interest in serving the town on the Town Board. I felt, with my new position as Supervisor and having two new board members, Vicky would be of great benefit for the town. She has a considerable depth of experience in management, boards and community services. Vicky has lived in West Shokan for over 15 years and served for six years as President of the Olive Free Library Board. She has been employed by Family of Woodstock for 12 years where she is currently the Team Leader of Case Management and Housing Services. So I’m proud Vicky was able to be on our team and look forward to serving with her.”
Also at the January organizational meeting, the Olive board voted not to name an official town attorney. Or, for that matter, an official town newspaper, choosing to simply publish what needed publishing in both Woodstock Times and the Daily Freeman.
“Olive is fortunate to have attorney Dan Heppner residing in our town,” Sofranko wrote of the former decision. “In the six years I’ve been on the town board we’ve been using Dan to assist and advise us in our legal affairs. He has been responsive to our varied needs and always has the best interest of the town in his heart. This has been a great relationship and we see no need to change what is currently working so well.”