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Budget cuts hurt local youth

April 10, 2013

[In the face of a 20% cut to Sullivan County Cornell Cooperative Extension approved by the county legislature] Cornell’s board president, Joan Howard, sent Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson a letter asking to have the money restored.

Here’s a thought: how about asking the Sullivan County DA (who’s running for re-election unopposed to date), to give back the 27% raise he got for himself? As he bragged about in his re-election announcement speech, he “saved” the taxpayers money by eliminating an ADA, but was mum on the fact that he actively sought out his massive 27% raise. (By the way, when’s the last time any of us have seen a 27% raise?)

He also bragged about the lengthy state prison sentences he’s been obtaining for our youth—youthful offender (YO) eligible or not—another massive burden on the taxpayer. Not to mention the fact that the few of the YO eligible youth, who are “lucky” enough to be in a medium-security prison, are stuck at the only youth facility in New York State (NYS)—a state prison for youth with no rehabilitation and whose college program has been cut, where the only education you get is a General Education Development (GED) certification from the state, or the one you get from your fellow inmates.

It’s interesting to note that according to the news article Cornell “started a program for kids and that was 4-H.” So here we have an organization that benefits kids (among many others) and our county cuts that program by 20%.

Our DA digs up an old resolution to enable him to line his pockets by 27% over three years, retroactive to March of 2012, and what does he do? Throw young people into state prison for ridiculously long sentences (at the NYS taxpayers’ expense) instead of recommending YO adjudication when a youth is eligible.

Good luck getting that money back.

Donna Freda
Narrowsburg, NY

[Editor’s note: Under New York State (NYS) law, the DA’s salary is tied to the salary of the county court judge, with judges’ salaries established by the state. Prior to receiving a raise in 2012, judges in NYS had not received a salary increase since 1999. The large pay raise was set by an independent NYS Special Commission on Judicial Compensation. Based on the legal opinion that the legislature did not have a choice, they voted last August to approve the DA’s 27% raise.]