County and administrator end working relationship

Jul 27, 2023 at 01:17 pm by Observer-Review

SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Schuyler County legislature held a special meeting, Tuesday, July 25. On the agenda for the meeting were resolutions regarding the employment of an administrative employee and potential abolishment of the public defender’s office and beginning a contract with Neighborhood Defender Service.
Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman released the following statement Tuesday morning on behalf of the legislature.
“The Schuyler County Legislature and County Administrator Fonda Chronis jointly announce their mutual decision to conclude their working relationship, effective July 28, 2023.”
The statement quoted Chronis saying, “I am thankful for the trust placed in me and the opportunity to serve. Together, we achieved significant milestones such as the new ambulance service, the NY Forward award, the ARPA facade program, and the establishment of stronger fiscal guidelines through the fund balance policy. Sometimes, however, parties move in different directions and view progress differently, and to ensure the team’s future success, it is best for the legislature to seek administrative leadership that more closely aligns with their vision for the future.”
Prior to the legislature meeting on Monday, July 10, Chronis was placed on administrative leave with no explanation. No additional details have been disclosed.
Chair of the Legislature, Carl Blowers, added in the statement, “We extend our thanks to Fonda for his efforts and we wish him and his family the very best in future endeavors.”
In regards to the decision about the public defender’s office, Clerk of the Legislature Stacy Husted released the following statement by Chairman Blowers.
“As part of its constitutional mandate to provide indigent legal services, the Schuyler County Legislature is reviewing a proposed contract with Neighborhood Defender Services, a nationally known legal services organization. If approved, the public defender office would be abolished, and existing public defender staff would be given the opportunity to apply to work at the new organization. At the same time, the county will advertise the public defender position to gauge interest from qualified attorneys. Thereafter, a decision in the best interest of the county will be made at a future meeting of the county legislature.”
On the agenda for the Tuesday meeting, the resolution regarding the move stated, “the public defender’s office has been short-staffed with the latest resignation of the public defender effective May 26, 2023, further exacerbating Schuyler County’s efforts to support the delivery of legal representation for the indigent to its constituents...the settlement reached in Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York, 15 N.Y.3d 8 (2010) requires the State of New York and the five defendant counties (which includes the County of Schuyler) to improve the delivery of public defense services, including (but not limited to) the improvement of the provision of legal counsel at first appearance.”
Sections: NEWS 1