The chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators will step down

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The chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators will step down

What You Need To Know

Gray has been chair of the board for six years now. That’s longer than most, and in his time, he has been put to the test. In 2017 and 2019, he helped lead efforts to help those on the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River as flooding devastated the region.

“Through all of those series of events, the job became increasingly full-time. It was you are either on the phone or on the road,” he added.

In 2020, he and the board, like everyone, faced COVID-19. He led efforts on both the business side of things, as a member of the New York State Control Board, and also on the health side of it, working with state officials to get vaccination sites in the area.

Story Highlights

  • “I can’t describe the gratitude when you start to see and people start to respond to the decisions that you made and things that you are doing to assist them,” Gray said.

  • Scott Gray has been the chair of the Jefferson County Board of Legislature for six years
    In his position, he has helped oversee relief of two major flooding events, and both the business and health aspects of COVID
    Gray says the politics of the job, with loud voices coming from the furthest ends of the political scales, have drowned out his more moderate voice and his moderate leadership style is no longer affective

Despite all of that, Gray says that’s not the reason he’s stepping down.

“My desire is not any less today that it was yesterday or a year ago or two years ago or anything. My desire to serve the public is still there,” Gray said.

The reason rather, is politics. Gray is a Republican, but considers himself more a moderate. He says he’s seeing moderates everywhere lose their voice to those much farther left or much farther right. That he says, is also trickling down to county government.

“Everytime you come to the conclusion of a term, you look and you ask if you have the juice to move forward. Are people still embracing the leadership style? Some of the people were growing weary of the leadership style,” Gray said of his belief of the county board. His voice he says, is no longer being heard by the board and it’s time to let someone else try to find theirs.

“I certainly don’t want to preside over a fully divided board. That’s not a good situation. So you look at it through the greater good of the organization and you say, OK, maybe somebody else is more gifted at working with everybody in an attempt to bring everyone together,” Gray added. Instead, Gray will use his voice by going back to being a rank and file member of the board, a seat where he believes his voice could actually grow louder as he’s not trying to please everyone and focuses on his district in the city of Watertown, as well as Jefferson County as a whole.

Gray hopes the next leader is able to govern without political affiliation being a priority.