Former Cold Brook Mayor remembers New York City Mayor Ed Koch as 'A politician who cared'


COLD BROOK, N.Y. (WKTV) - Jerry Amacher is one of about 330 people who live in the Village of Cold Brook in Herkimer County.

He led that village as Mayor in the 1980's, the same time, Ed Koch led New York City as Mayor.

Friday morning, hours after Koch died from heart failure, Amacher remembered Koch as "a politician who cared."

Amacher found himself in the headlines back in 1985, with Koch, when Cold Brook became one of the first municipalities in the state to suddenly find itself without liability insurance.

This happened during a big battle with insurance companies across New York State which didn't want to pay for the mounting lawsuits filed by citizens against their municipalities.

When a municipality had no insurance, if a resident filed a lawsuit, the village, town or city officials themselves would be held responsible and could be sued.

Once Cold Brook lost its insurance, all village officials resigned, except for Amacher.

Amacher says Mayor Koch heard about Cold Brook's insurance woes and called him up.

"He invited me to come to New York City for a couple days and talk with him about it and to talk to the lawyers about it to try and straighten out the problems for the state," Amacher said.

He says that within days, the insurance companies folded under the media attention the case was getting and the issue was settled.

Cold Brook got its insurance back, and back came all the other village officials.

Amacher credits Koch with getting the insurance problem solved.

"I was a Republican, he was a Democrat, and he didn't care," he remembered. "The reason he invited me down was to represent the differences, between him being the mayor of a big city and me being the mayor of a little village, and yet recognizing all of our problems were the same."

When he was in New York that week, Amacher says he remembers vividly Koch taking him out to dinner each night.

"He took me out for Chinese, he snuck me in the back door, because it was his special table," Amacher said. "He also liked Italian, because he said he had come to Utica sometime and had Italian somewhere, but he could never remember the place in Utica, and he said Utica serves good Italian food."

What Amacher remembers most about Koch is how much the longtime politician cared about New York, the city, and the state.

"In the years that I was in politics, I met a lot of people who were really in it for a position, and not because they cared," he said. "And the one thing about Mayor Koch was that he cared. The reason he invited me down was because of the fact that he wanted to emphasize the problems between the big and the little and he wanted to fix them no matter what. Whether it was for New York City or the small village, he wanted us to work together to get things done and done right."

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