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Sallie A. Brothers steps down from St. Lawrence County Legislature

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County Legislator Sallie A. Brothers, D-Norfolk, is resigning effective Sept. 25 for health reasons.

Mrs. Brothers, 65, River Road, Norfolk, has served on the board for the past 10 years, including serving as chairwoman in 2011 and 2012.

“I have some health issues that I need to address,” Mrs. Brothers said, declining to elaborate. “This was an extremely hard and emotional decision for me because I’m passionate about working for things that benefit this county.”

After conferring with her family, she announced her decision to fellow legislators at Monday evening’s Operations Committee meeting.

She said she chose to resign this month because the Legislature soon will start crafting its 2014 budget.

“We’re looking at going into the budget and I didn’t want to go into a situation where I couldn’t be part of the process,” she said.

Mrs. Brothers represents District 12, which includes the town of Norfolk and the village of Norwood.

Her accomplishments on the board include serving as chairwoman during construction of the new county jail. That project included reaching a project labor agreement with unions.

She also supported the 1 percent increase in the county’s sales tax that takes effect in December and helped bring the issue to the forefront.

“I am proud that I was able to push it forward so that it could become a reality,” Mrs. Brothers said.

As chairwoman, she worked to improve the working relationship among legislators.

She said county Democratic Chairman Mark J. Bellardini will seek a replacement for her seat. His recommendation will be forwarded to the full board for its approval. The board now has nine Democrats and six Republicans.

When asked if he had any names in mind yet to fill the position, Mr. Bellardini said, “There’s nothing now.”

He said the process of filling Mrs. Brothers’s seat has just begun and he is expecting to hear from people interested in the position, although he noted Legislator Vernon D. “Sam” Burns is the chairman of the committee to elect.

Mr. Bellardini also was asked if he was hoping to have a candidate ready to appoint when the county holds its next full board meeting Oct. 7.

“If it’s possible that would be nice,” he said.

Mr. Bellardini said that filling Mrs. Brothers’s shoes will not be an easy task.

“We’re going to miss Sallie very much. We’re going to miss her efforts and her ability. It’s a tough job to be a legislator and she’s done a great job,” he said. “Sallie has been a pillar of that board for the last 12 years.”

Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, also had kind words for his colleague.

“Sallie will missed not only by her constituents, but by the board of legislators and county staff,” Mr. Putney said. “She has a long career in public service and we wish her well in her future endeavors.”

Her time on the board, though, hasn’t always been easy.

“She’s been through some hard legislative groups,” Mr. Bellardini said, noting that when Mrs. Brothers was first elected, the Republicans held a 10-5 majority in the Legislature.

“She definitely had her heart for the county and her goal was to take care of the people of the county,” he said.

While Mr. Bellardini said he was surprised by the announcement, he noted that a small part of him could see that this was coming.

“It was surprising, but it wasn’t really surprising,” he said. “I have seen her really struggle over the past couple of months.”

Anthony J. Arquiett has served on the Legislature with Mrs. Brothers since 2011.

“I enjoyed my time on the Legislature with Sallie. I consider her a terrific legislator who always put the concerns of the county and her constituents as a priority,” he said. “We’ll certainly miss her and I wish her all the best in her future.”

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