Short items from the July 15 meetings and more

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 7/21/21

MONTICELLO, NY — In a public display of its internal tensions, the Sullivan County Legislature spent most of its monthly full legislative meeting hashing through process, specifically how it conducts its meeting and communication among its members.

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Short items from the July 15 meetings and more

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MONTICELLO, NY — In a public display of its internal tensions, the Sullivan County Legislature spent most of its monthly full legislative meeting hashing through process, specifically how it conducts its meeting and communication among its members.

When the process is the problem

“I’m not saying I agree or disagree with how we’re using the money,” legislator Ira Steingart said, talking about the use of ARPA funds. “What I have a problem with is the process.” He wouldn’t have known about it, he said, except he called county manager Josh Potosek for information. “It seems like, if you have the five votes, the rest of us don’t matter.”

Steingart was referring to the party split, and how the minority party is disenfranchised from preliminary discussions that are happening offline.

“Not true,” said chairman Rob Doherty.

“I’m objecting to the process,” Steingart said.

As a possible solution to the perception, the legislators discussed reviving a steering committee, as was the practice in the previous legislature.

There, legislator Joe Perrello said, legislators talked about resolutions with the county manager and each other, keeping everyone in the loop. “We need to have steering [committee] meetings, the majority and minority leaders need to know what’s going on.”

Doherty argued that if they kept regular office hours they’d be aware. Most of the legislators still have jobs, and some own businesses.

Legislator Nadia Rajsz cast out another loop. “Not only the steering committee and being informed, but also meeting with the supervisors,” Nadia Rajsz said, mentioning the Council of Local Governments. Those were public meetings that shared information between the towns and the county.

“I think there should be some steering committee meetings,” Alan Sorensen said.

“I don’t want anything to be said,” George Conklin added during the full legislature meeting, “that we’ve had something or somebody try to ram something through. The process took place, it was given to everyone here in a timely manner and it went through committee.” 

Community services update

Following last month’s requests for proposals (RFPs) to privatize some or all of the community services department, Perrello asked what had been received.

“There were several responses,” county manager Josh Potosek said. It looks like more than one agency or group would be involved, “a combination of different vendors doing different services.” He plans to meet with five or six of the respondents, he said.

Perrello then asked about timelines.

Recommendations could come in August or September, Potosek said. And the state has to approve the final plan, so “that would take 16 to 18 months depending on whatever kind of backlog they’re working with.”

“Unbelievable. It’s unbelievable!” Perrello said. “You’d think, dealing with mental health, they’d move a little quicker.”

Lexipol accepted

In a 9-0 vote, the legislature voted to authorize an agreement with Lexipol. The company offers a variety of services to police departments throughout the country, including policy updates, consulting and training.

Under the agreement, “Lexipol will monitor changes and trends in legislation, case law and best practices and use this knowledge to create policies, training, wellness resources and funding service that minimize risk to help the sheriff’s office patrol and jail divisions.”

They will also provide updates on reform laws.

There is a one-time implementation

fee for the patrol division in the first year of $36,838 and an annual fee of $17,121 afterward.

The first-year one-time fee in the jail division is $39,048 and then $9,325 every year afterward.

Flooding

In speaking about the weather, and a great way to keep an eye on the situation, county director of communications Dan Hust suggested to look up the stream gages. Available at www.waterdata.usgs.gov, you can read about your local waterways and get text alerts to your mobile phone or email.

In addition, EMS Coordinator Alex Rau sent the following:

 “Given the severe seasonal thunderstorms we’ve had come through, I’d say our greatest concern is the possibility of wires and trees that come down, along with the associated power outages that pose a safety hazard to homes and individuals. The flash flooding that comes along with these quick storms is nothing new to Sullivan County Emergency Services, and our first responders remain ready to respond when/if the need arises. The public plays a major role in helping emergency services by monitoring weather forecasts.”

 

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