With his district bordering two Finger Lakes, Paul Pinckney didn't hesitate when asked what his top priority would be if re-elected to the Cayuga County Legislature.
Pinckney is seeking a third four-year term representing District 5, which includes the towns of Aurelius and Fleming. Aurelius borders Cayuga Lake. Fleming is on the west side of Owasco Lake.
Both lakes have been affected by water quality concerns. Blue-green algae and hydrilla, an invasive weed, have been found in Cayuga Lake. Blue-green algae is also present in Owasco Lake — the main source of drinking water for 50,000 Auburn-area residents.
Pinckney suggested that one way the county can help is by providing funding to support water quality improvements.
"I'm hoping that the county, in the budget process this fall, will earmark some money to be set aside so that the county can have some skin in the game," he said. "It always helps with your federal and state officials."
He also wants to ensure there is a united front to address blue-green algae and other problems. One concern he has is that there are various agencies and groups that are involved.
He supports having these organizations join forces to prevent divisions from forming.
"I think we're more powerful as one unit than we are dividing into different units because there's some different opinions on what we should do," he said.
Pinckey has additional items on his agenda if he's re-elected to the county Legislature.
Government efficiency is on the list. The county hired a consulting firm, CGR, to examine its organizational structure. Pinckney supported the decision.
He also wants to work with the new county administrator to achieve government efficiency. The county hasn't had an administrator for most of the year following the departure of Suzanne Sinclair.
Pinckney admitted that the county has had "pretty bad luck" with administrators. Legislators worked to alter the job description after Sinclair's departure and before launching a search for a new manager.
"I hope we have refined that in a way and I hope we're all getting on board that we know we have to support this job that enforces and administers our policies that we set," he said.
As the county narrows its list of candidates for the job, Pinckney hopes there is strong support for the new administrator.
The county Legislature must vote on hiring a finalist for the job.
"It has to be a large majority from both sides to support this position," Pinckney said. "Otherwise, if we come off with an 8-7 split, it shows that we're divided going in, and I think it sets a bad precedent for the administrator to be successful."
Pinckney believes his experience is an asset in the District 5 race. His opponent, Melissa Jenkin, is a political newcomer.
Before serving eight years on the county Legislature, Pinckney was an Aurelius Town Board member for 12 years.
With his experience, he also touted his commonsense approach to government as an asset.
"I think I bring that forth to the table as a very strong point and I will continue to do so if re-elected," he said.