Baldwinsville Derek Shepard was elected to the position of Onondaga County Legislator for the 13th district, covering the towns of Van Buren, Camillus and Elbridge, last November. Sworn into office Jan. 1, 2012, April 9 marked his 100th day on the job.
The Baldwinsville Messenger recently caught up with Shepard to learn about his experience in the legislator thus far and what residents of his district should be keeping an ear open to.
Having been in office for 100 days, what has been your most important lesson? Most difficult challenge?
The most important lesson I've learned in my first 100 days is the importance of talking right away with as many people as possible about the issues facing the legislature. Almost immediately after I took office, the legislature took up the new lease and purchase option on Alliance Bank Stadium. At my very first committee meeting I learned that the county has been subsidizing the facility at a tremendous yearly cost and that realistically there is one potential buyer for the special purpose facility, the Syracuse Chiefs.
When the story was published in the Post Standard, I was surprised to read some of cynical theories some people were posting as to the legislators' motives for voting for the new lease. I learned quickly that when we take up something as important as the sale of the stadium, it is critical to make sure the residents of my district know the reasons for my votes on their behalf. In the end, if the Chiefs exercise their option to buy the stadium, the taxpayers will be relieved of a $500,000 annual liability for the upkeep of the facility and professional baseball will continue to thrive in our community.
After 100 days, has your focus on certain topics shifted or become more concentrated?