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Fired family services deputy issues statement

Dr. David Sager at a news conference in 2011.

By Fritz Mayer
May 24, 2013

Former Sullivan County Legislator Dr. David Sager, who was fired from his position as deputy commissioner of the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) on May 16, has issued a statement about the matter.

He wrote, “I performed my duties as Deputy Commissioner of the Sullivan County Department of Family Services competently and professionally. Because Commissioner Parker has offered no reason to me or anyone else for my abrupt termination, I can only conclude I was let go as an act of retaliation for expressing to Mr. Parker my serious concerns about both past and present failures on the part of DHFS relating to individual cases and the inability of certain employees to conduct their work competently and in accordance with the law. DFS employees in my office have come forward to say I was a caring, productive, and hard-working colleague.

“Though Commissioner Parker and I occasionally disagreed on a course of action privately, I was always a supportive and deferential deputy. Recently Mr. Parker praised my work at a departmental meeting in front of the entire staff. In fact, leading up to the day of my firing, he and I were seriously discussing adding additional responsibilities to my portfolio.

“I am aware of the informative and spirited discussion that took place at the recent Legislature’s labor sub-committee meeting. I am heartened by the willingness on the part of some legislators to dig in and begin the process of publicly asking the necessary hard questions about my abrupt and unexplained termination.”

Before the firing, Sager seemed to be deeply involved in various matters and taking a leadership role in the department, working on such issues as foster care and taking part in county meetings. His firing came as a surprise to many people familiar with the workings of the county.

County chairman Scott Samuelson declined to comment on the matter because it involves a county employee.