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County looks at role of administrator

YATES COUNTY--With the departure of longtime Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy, the Yates County Legislature is beginning discussions as to how they will go about finding someone to fill her position. Purdy will be leaving her post after 21 years to accept a new position as Ogdensburg city manager in early December. Legislative Chairman Tim Dennis said the legislature is currently "considering many options," with how they want to proceed once Purdy leaves, adding there may be changes as to what the administrator's role is going forward.
"We are putting in motion setting up revisions to the local law regarding the county administrator," Dennis said. "County Clerk Connie Hayes and County Attorney Scott Falvey are working on getting that put in place so that we can do some amendments to that law early in December. We do have a county administrator until [Dec. 4.] That is Sarah Purdy's last day."
Dennis was not able to say what specific revisions the legislature is looking to make to the local law until they get it back from the attorney. He said the legislature has not yet set a timeline for when they would like to have a permanent replacement appointed. Dennis noted the legislature wants to look at the role of the administrator and see what changes need to be made going forward.
"We have agreed that we wanted to have a facilitated discussion amongst ourselves, with the department heads and the management team to discuss what we would like the administrator position to look like, how we could define the role and what is the role of policy making versus implementation," Dennis said. "We are not just going to blindly move forward. After you have been doing something for 21 years with one person, we really need to have a facilitated discussion as to how we would like to modify what was going on previously and just consider all our options."
As for the immediate short-term following Purdy's departure, Dennis indicated the county will be operating without a county administrator.
"We are in a place where we can function very well with the department heads reporting directly to the legislature until we can flesh out exactly what we want to do and how we want to do it," Dennis said.
However, when asked if the county would be able to function without an interim county administrator until a permanent replacement is found, Dennis replied, "I did not say that."
"What I am saying is we don't need an interim on [Dec. 7] because the previous one resigned," Dennis said. "In the immediate short-term, we will be able to function just as if the sitting administrator was on extended vacation. But I did not say we don't need an interim."

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