County lawmakers OK investigator, mental health coordinator posts

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DAN GUZEWICH

Staff writer

Oneida County legislators approved the creation of two positions at Wednesday’s meeting.

The Board of Legislators also passed 16 bonding resolutions and a settlement involving a former county inmate.

District Attorney Scott D. McNamara had requested a senior confidential investigator, at a salary of $45,580. The job is fully funded by a Get Involved Violence Elimination Give Partnership grant from the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. The award is for 2017 and 2018.

Mental Health Commissioner Robin O’Brien had requested a coordinator for the single-point-of-access service delivery system for children and youth. The program serves high-need young people and their families.

The starting salary is $44,030. The cost is reimbursed by the state.

The position was developed and implemented as a contract position through a contract with Central New York Services, Inc., in preparation for the Health Homes initiative implemented through Medicaid dollars, according to O’Brien.

Neither position was in this year’s budget when it was adopted by the legislators in November. Both were approved 22-0, without discussion on the floor, on Wednesday, with one legislator absent.

The board also passed unanimously the annual bonding resolutions to authorize borrowing money to pay for projects in the previously approved capital budget. This year’s total is $14.3 million.

The projects range from the annual road and bridge improvements to equipment purchases for Public Works, construction of an equipment storage building at the airport to the next phase in the ongoing asbestos removal work in the 10-story County Office Building in Utica, and computer system upgrades to security improvements at the county’s correctional facility.

In addition, legislators approved a $45,000 settlement for Regina Jefferson, who was a county inmate at the time of a 2016 incident.

When she exited a transport van at Utica City Court, her ankle shackles became lodged inside an open mesh exit step. This caused her to fall out of the vehicle while her shackles were entangled in the step. She suffered a fractured ankle that required surgery.

The settlement was recommended by Gus Boucher, county claims adjuster.

“The proposed settlement negotiated by attorney Christopher Kalil of $45,000 is well within value of other claims reviewed and saves the county the cost of a trial that may not have yielded the same outcome,” he wrote in a letter to the county Law Department. “The settlement will bring the matter to a cost effective resolution.”

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