By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
The sheriff’s Law Enforcement Building will be renamed in honor of slain Dep. Kurt B. Wyman following Wednesday’s unanimous vote by the Oneida County Board of Legislators.
The administrative building in Whitestown is going to be designated as the "Kurt B. Wyman Law Enforcement Building." The vote was 26-0 with three absences.
The legislature’s resolution says that Wyman "serves as an inspiration to the men and women of our Sheriff’s Office, to the members of all law enforcement departments and to all people of our community. We must never forget him or his supreme sacrifice."
The board vote came on the same day that Wyman’s killer, Christian Patterson, was sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole. The county courtroom was filled with Wyman’s family, friends, former co-workers and other uniformed law enforcement officers.
A ceremony to unveil the name is tentatively planned for June 7, which is the one-year anniversary of Wyman’s death during a standoff in the Town of Augusta. He’s the only county deputy to be killed in the line of duty.
While there was no debate among the legislators over honoring Wyman, renewal of the yearly contract with Mohawk Valley EDGE for economic development services did spark a discussion and three no votes.
Brian P. Mandryck, R-17, Lee, questioned why the county had not sought proposals for these services from anyone before continuing the relationship with EDGE.
"The concern I have is, ‘Are we missing something?’", he said.
County Attorney Gregory J. Amoroso said the county was not required to seek proposals in this instance.
David J. Gordon, D-14, New Hartford, used the vote to raise the familiar issue of whether EDGE has been too focused on Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome with not enough attention given to other areas of the county. He said the benefits of EDGE’s work weren’t spread around the county.
David J. Wood, R-28, Rome, said the possibility of contracting with another group had been looked at in the past and it was concluded that none could handle all the duties and tasks done by EDGE.
"It was determined that EDGE really fit our needs best," he said.
He also questioned whether it would be in the county’s best interests to hire an agency from outside the area to promote job creation and retention here.
EDGE will receive $300,000 this year from the county toward an operating budget of about $1.8 million. There’s an additional $49,674 for the administration of state Empire Zone benefits.
"I think we get an awful lot for our money," said James M. D’Onofrio, R-15, New Hartford. He also noted that EDGE had played a role in a business park being developed in New Hartford.
"They’re engaged all over the county," he said.
Voting against the contract were: Mandryck, Gordon and Minority Leader Frank D. Tallarino, D-7, Rome.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board:
-- Approved a public referendum for the Nov. 6 ballot on whether the size of the legislature should be cut from 29 seats to 23. Voting no were Tallarino, Michael J. Clancy, D-12, Verona, and Rose Ann Convertino, D-23, Utica.
-- Approved paying $18,500 for attorney’s fees and expenses in connection with a federal court case that went against the county Social Services Department. A core issue in the case was whether the department was processing applications for benefits in a timely manner.
The case settled out of court in early 2011 with Social Services agreeing, among other things, to hire additional front-line personnel to handle intake duties. There were a number of vacant positions at the time.
Opposed to paying for the monitoring of the county’s compliance with terms of the stipulation and order were Richard A. Flisnik, R-8, Marcy, and Majority Leader George E. Joseph, R-10, Westmoreland.
-- Accepted a $149,143 agreement with C&S Engineers, Inc., for design work for a hangar renovation project at Griffiss International Airport.
-- Authorized the sheriff to appoint college security guards as "Private College Campus Security Officers." This applies to parts of the county outside of the cities, which means it covers Hamilton College in Clinton.
Legislators not at the meeting were Ronald D. Townsend, R-1, Rome, Les Porter, R-6, Remsen, and James Murphy, D-29, Rome.