Cortland County officials unveil new plaque in memory of former county legislators

(Photo via the Cortland County Legislature Facebook page)

The Cortland County Legislature unveiled a new entryway plaque, dedicating the new entry to the county office building to former Legislators and buildings and longtime buildings and grounds committee leaders Thomas Hartnett and Gordon Wheelock at Thursday’s meeting.

The dedication will be displayed at the new security entrance to the County Office, which started construction last year. It also features a metal detector, and several rooms to be used for activities that do not require access to the building. The project cost the county a projected $40,000. 

Wheelock served on the legislature from 2012 to 2017 and was buildings and grounds committee chair from 2014 to 2017. Hartnett’s tenure in the legislature lasted 15 years, spanning from 2004 to 2019. The longtime legislator was vice chair of the buildings and grounds committee from 2014 to 2017, taking over for Wheelock as chair in 2018.

The dedication will honor both legislators, both of whom passed away in recent years. Hartnett, a longtime small business owner in Cortland, passed away from cancer at the age of 61 in 2019. Wheelock, a longtime fireman and Republican politician in the county and in the village of  Homer, passed away earlier this year.

Legislature Minority Leader Beau Harbin (D-LD 2) now chairs the committee, and presented the plaque to the families of Hartnett and Wheelock on Thursday. Harbin noted their “efforts in creating a safer environment for employees and the public.”

“This is a culmination of the work that began many years ago and was championed by (Hartnett and Wheelock) during their tenures to create a secure entrance for our county building even in the face of funding issues and other roadblocks,” he said. 

Legislature Chairman Paul Heider (R-LD16) commended the former legislators’ efforts to bring in the new building entrance project.

“I would especially like to thank buildings and ground director Chuck Miller for bringing the much deserved idea of supporting our two legislators who have passed away,” he added.