Positivity, praise, and protection were the tones set by the Ontario County Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday night. With the absence of Supervisor Venuti, Supervisor Lighfoote, and Supervisor Greg Bendzlowicz, who resigned on January 8, the Supervisors moved through the 67 resolutions, pausing several times along the way to offer their positive praises for County Administration, employees, and each other.
County COVID Update
“We are starting to go in the right direction,” Public Health Director Mary Beer said during the county update. The seven-day daily average for new cases had dropped nearly 25% from 178 to 132 cases per day. Beer added that the number hospitalized is still too high but that the three local hospitals reported they are a “little less busy.” As of Thursday, there were 58 Covid related hospitalizations, including individuals from other areas, not just Ontario County residents.
Over 70,000 individuals received the vaccine to date, and about half have received the booster and are still averaging 2,000 vaccinations county-wide per week. One hundred and sixty-six Ontario County residents have passed away from COVID since the start of the pandemic, 26 since December 6, 2021, in which 85% were unvaccinated.
Beer was also appointed for another term as the Local Health Officer to support the County’s Shared Services Initiative. She will continue to investigate, present facts, and make recommendations to the legislative Board for complaints of public health nuisances for the nine towns two cities that participate in the Initiative.
County Administrator Christopher Debolt acknowledged the KN95 masks available for each supervisor to take back to their municipality for distribution. He commended the adherence of County employees to the mandates, stating that there are no clusters currently present in the County workplace.
Covid Supplies Donation
The Board of Supervisors authorized the acceptance of two tractor-trailer loads of Covid-19 supplies, donated by Happy Products, Co. The supplies include N95 masks, 3-ply masks, and wipes. These supplies will be distributed by county administration to schools and residents.
McFadden Receives Prestigious Award
Assistant County Attorney Barry McFadden has received the New York State Bar Association Attorney Professionalism Award. McFadden has worked with the office for the past 30 years and devoted his practice to public service and specific family court matters, including the Child Protection Unit, the Child Support Collection Unit, and the Juvenile Division of the Probation Unit.
According to County Attorney Holly Adams, “Barry’s confidence and exemplary conduct paved the way for the success this office has seen over the years,” also noting that this is the first time an attorney in the public sector has achieved this honor. Four judges and three attorneys support the application for McFadden, citing his demeanor, civility, and knowledge of the law in a sector that can run high with emotion.
The award will be presented at the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards Ceremony on
Monday, May 2, 2022, the Supervisors awarded their round of applause to McFadden, who was present in the audience, upon receiving the news from Adams.
209 Committee Update
Supervisor Campbell provided his cohorts with an update and historical background from the 209 Investigation Committee. The Committee, which has been meeting in executive session lately, is tasked with reviewing and investigating the facts surrounding the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation stems from complaints initiated in 2020 and led to the resignation of former Sheriff Kevin Henderson and Undersheriff David Frasca in the fall of last year.
Campbell noted that the point of focus is the change of culture at the Sheriff’s Department and aligning more towards Ontario County’s internal policies regarding sexual harassment. The Committee hopes to supply a report on February 14 or within two weeks following.
Concerning this, the Supervisors authorized the creation of a Compliance Investigator position for the County, and funded at the cost of $143,500 from the Fund Balance. The role will provide more direct access to employees and provide more oversight, training, and handling of internal complaints.
Casella Resolution Passes
The Board passed the resolution awarding the contract to Trinity Consultants for $15,000 to review reports and provide monitoring of odors and operations for the 398-acre landfill in the Town of Seneca.
In Other News
The Board authorized the extension of the contract with Jay A. Supnick, PH.D. for pre-employment psychological evaluations for persons seeking employment within the Office of Sheriff. However, Supervisor Green stated that he would not support an extension beyond March 31 and Supervisor Daryl Marshall provided the only nay for the resolution.
Eileen Tiberio has been reappointed unanimously as the Commissioner of Social Services. Her appointment received several accolades from three Supervisors, stating that despite the challenges of the position, she has performed thoughtful leadership to assist the individuals most at risk and vulnerable in the County.
Julie Coleman is a resident of the City of Geneva and freelance contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Formerly, she was a reporter with the Finger Lakes Times and Director of Marketing and Communications for the City of Geneva. Currently, she manages two businesses in Ontario County, enjoys spending her free time with her husband and child, and participates in several community working groups.