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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

Deputy Clerk





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, 3Mr. Shepard, Mrs. Rapp, 1Chairman Plochocki, 2Mr. Burtis

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Tassone and see attached list


Vice Chairman Shepard called the meeting to order at 9:06 AM.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase, to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY RESOURCE RECOVERY AGENCYMark Donnelly, Executive Director

        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Donald J. Lawless) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Mr. Donnelly:

  • Well respected board member, 8 years or more, involved in many extracurricular activities for OCRRA, comes from procurement background with the County; would like him to remain on the board

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item. 


Mrs. Rapp said that she has known Mr. Lawless since he was the County Purchasing Director.  Dr. Chase said that she has known Mr. Lawless since they were children.


Seconded by Dr. Chase.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Confirming Reappointment to the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (F. Spencer Givens) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Vice Chairman Shepard said that he has served on the OCSWCD board for three years.


1Chairman Plochocki arrived at the meeting and thanked Mr. Shepard for starting the meeting.


Mr. Shepard continued:

  • Has known Mr. Givens 3 yrs., serving on board with him, does excellent job, huge body of knowledge, recommends reappointment


Chair Plochocki:

  • Mr. Givens is a constituent, doesn’t always support constituents; knew long before becoming a County Legislator, a family friend and great person 


A motion was made by Chairman Plochocki, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


3.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTIONTom Rhoads, P.E., Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($30,000)


Mr. Rhoads:

  • Bringing grants forward for approval, acceptance of grants removes SEQRA discussion, resolutions designate WEP or a party in conjunction with WEP to be participants of grant funding, 4 different grant resolutions, total $2,840,000, all money appropriated in other parts of their budget, grant funds reduce local share of costs for each application
  • $30k EFC grant for Meadowbrook/Limestone, funds will assist with high flow problems - eliminating or enhancing the way they operate in wet weather, 80/20 grant

Mrs. Rapp asked if this was anticipated.  Mr. Rhoads said that the grants have been received but they need approval to accept them.  Mrs. Rapp said that they had anticipated them in the budget.  Mr. Rhoads agreed, adding that they are already in the capital budget. 


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Chairman Plochocki, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


        b.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($50,000)


  • Grant for Erie Blvd. storage system, study of system, $50k reduces local share for current project  

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads said that the storm sewer is about 1.5 miles underground and daylights in Onondaga Creek.  They are studying how the storm system can work better and resolve some fecal coliform issues.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this was an 80/20 planning grant.


        c.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from New York State Empire State Development Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($960,000)

  • Note resolution error - should say 20/80 split – 20% state and 80% local (not 80/20)
  • Hiawatha Trunk Sewer project, presented last fall, roughly $4.8M lining project located in Inner Harbor area; fully funded as part of CIP, $960k reduction in local share of project for economic development reasons

Mr. Rhoads asked that the committee accept the fact that the 3rd WHEREAS Clause needs to be corrected to show a 20% state contribution and 80% local contribution and the 2nd RESOLVED Clause needs to corrected to show an 80% local match.


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Rhoads said that it was hard to say if they anticipated these funds.  They apply for them in the hope that they get them.  They did not have the grant at the time of the CIP funding.  The grants are reimbursements.  They must spend the money and get the grant funds back after, cannot actually reduce their budget.  Ultimately, when they borrow for the CIP, they will borrow less money.  Mrs. Rapp said that this is what she has been asking, and added that this was good news.


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        d.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($1,800,000)


  • Water Quality Improvement grant; applied for most projects as part of CFA grant process, happens in late spring, awards typically made in November
  • $1.8M grant, $600k local contribution, green work in Clinton Sewer shed; already appropriated $185M for work in Clinton Sewer shed, have a little budget leftover, will reduce costs; green infrastructure along 3 different blocks of State Street


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Shepard, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED. 


4.     OFFICE OF THE ENVIRONMENTDavid Coburn, Director; Mark Donnelly, Executive Director OCRRA; Amy Miller, Agency Engineer OCRRA, Jillian Blake, Sr. Project Engineer Barton and Loguidice  

        a.     For the Proposed Regional Solid Waste Partnership (the Partnership) under Review by Onondaga County, Acting as Co-Lead Agency with Cortland County: Extending the Deadline for Issuance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Determining the FEIS for the Partnership to be Complete in Terms of Scope and Content and that it is Appropriate to Commence Preparation of Findings Pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), and Authorizing the Publication, Circulation, Service, and Filing of the FEIS Documents


Mr. Coburn:

  • Introduced Mark Donnelly and Amy Miller - experts working with them on SEQRA component of proposed partnership with Cortland County; Jillian Blake – instrumental in preparing documents read over the past several months; Luis Mendez and Lori Tarolli critically involved in SEQRA process; past several weeks Travis Glazier has been working closely with the team working on this project

Chairman Plochocki said that today was a bittersweet occasion, as it was the last time Mr. Coburn would be addressing the committee in his official capacity as Director of the Office of Environment.  With all due respect, his successor will have very big shoes to fill.  He has enjoyed working with Mr. Coburn and considers him a friend.   He is a very intelligent, detailed person, who has been invaluable to Chairman Plochocki over the past three years and he would like to think he speaks for all legislators in that regard.  Mr. Coburn said that this was very kind of him to say and he appreciates hearing it.  Chairman Plochocki said that Mr. Coburn will be missed greatly missed, thanked him for his service and wished him well in his retirement.


Mr. Coburn continued:

  • 1st resolution action on FEIS for proposed partnership with Cortland County, resolution designates FEIS as complete, accepted and adopted by the Legislature
  • Will quickly review structure of document, focus primarily on comments received and responses, makes up largest portion of FEIS; (see link below for documents)



2Mr. Burtis arrived at the meeting.


  • Section 1:  introduction, summary of project; provided handout on proposal section (on file with Clerk), won’t review in detail, bringing in 25k to 35k tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) to WTE Facility and sending back 90k tons of ash to Cortland County Landfill; Onondaga County action to adopt legislation amending or replacing anti importation law, SEQRA documents based on this action, not other things they heard a lot about during public comment; also includes the SEQRA process – handout provided


SEQRA ProcessSEQRA Process


  • Adopting findings statement completes the SEQRA process, separate action to amend the importation law; includes DEIS
  • Section 2:  describes revisions to DEIS after public comment, only area changed was section involving leachate treatability analysis as it relates to the landfill – additional study work to ensure leachate from the landfill is treatable by the Cortland County WWTP


Mr. Coburn asked if Ms. Blake had anything further to add.  Ms. Blake said that they had already done the study, this was just additional information people had asked for; came to same conclusion and the plant agreed that it was treatable.


Chairman Plochocki said that at the risk of being redundant, he wanted to be sure that the committee was clear on the process.  They are in step 2 of 3 for the SEQRA process.  Step 1 was the DEIS coming before them, which Mr. Coburn reviewed with them previously.  It was approved, went out for public comment, comments were received, discussed and are now being discussed further.  This is now the FEIS, which is separate from the final finding statement.  The approval of the FEIS is simply saying that they believe it to be complete and ready to go out to the public.  The third and final stage will be approval of the final finding statement, which will be after comments on the FEIS.  He emphasized that this is not the end of the process.


Chairman Plochocki said that there haven’t been significant changes to the DEIS and asked Mr. Coburn to focus on the comments made and the responses to them.


  • Section 3:  Response to comments, attachments and appendices include summary of public comments, index of people who submitted comments, register of comments by category, index of comments and where they can be found, additional information on DEIS – addition to leachate treatability analysis, includes transcript of public hearings
  • Focusing on comments and responses:  111 commenters, 24 multiple submitters, 600 total comments, 299 aimed at Cortland County, 175 aimed at Onondaga County, 126 general – mainly SEQRA process


Chairman Plochocki asked if any of the comments criticized the process and gave him pause.  Mr. Coburn said that they just responded.  He has presented the SEQRA process and is very comfortable with the steps that they followed.  Chairman Plochocki said that the process was represented to those individuals, so that they are aware that the process was followed.  Mr. Coburn agreed.


  • Responses organized in same manner as DEIS, 3 major sections – 1st project-wide environmental issues, 2nd potential impacts related to Cortland County and 3rd potential impacts related to Onondaga County; project-wide comments largely aimed at SEQRA process and requirements, Cortland County comments responded to primarily by those in Cortland County; action to build transfer station and expand landfill capacity
  • Onondaga County received many comments on disposal alternatives, DEIS alternatives are do the project or find another location for ash, many comments aimed at things not involved in the project being reviewed, wanted to change the way solid waste is managed in Onondaga County, decision on partnership has no bearing on waste managed in Onondaga County; number of questions on economics, extensively addressed in DEIS under Section 5, economic benefits of $1M to both communities, Onondaga County benefits from ash hauling savings and additional revenue generated by electricity from imported material; number of comments on recycling and jobs, partnership won’t diminish OCRRA’s commitment and success already experienced in recycling, doesn’t change waste management here, pointed out on his own (not in the document) when trash diminished they added composting and amended local law to add additional materials to recycling, OCRRA’s commitment to recycling should be clear from those actions; some comments about landfilling and why Onondaga County wouldn’t develop Site 31 and take ash there, not economically feasible to do so , won’t be considered in the near term, middle 90’s study put cost of development at $75M, much more now; number of comments on handling ash residue – ash going to Cortland County, handled in accordance with federal and state regulations and guidance, meet requirements, no reason to handle differently; many comments on waste-to-energy (WTE) plant emissions, emission testing done in accordance to federal and state regulations, independent third-party testing done with DEC oversight, annual stack testing done at plant full capacity – not at current daily reduced operations, results reflect what emissions would be if plant was at full capacity, OCHD does supplemental sampling, not required, have been testing soil samples in various locations, Dr. Gupta explained the program to the Health Committee in January, program hasn’t changes, results of sampling indicate no increase attributable to the WTE plant; considerable number of comments involving public health and cancer in the community, response handout provided




  • Response prepared by the Health department and shared with them, focused on last paragraph of C.9 and read aloud, OCHD’s job to monitor these things, haven’t seen anything that concerns them, will let everyone know if they do; number of questions about ash residue transport, until 2008 OCHD was sampling soils along the ash transport route


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Ms. Miller confirmed that they were transporting ash to Seneca Meadows, going down the NYS Thruway.  Mr. Coburn added that the results never showed anything so testing discontinued in 2008.


  • Some comments about waste streaming, both communities have and will continue aggressive screening programs, developed new protocol for Cortland transfer station, same standards in both communities; only other comment he will call attention to questions the WTE plant capacity, not a concern, won’t run out of capacity if volume of waste increases
  • Volume 2 contains copies of all comments received 


Chairman Plochocki thanked Mr. Coburn for the excellent summary. 


Dr. Chase said that the last health risk assessment was in 1988. Even though they have been looking at soils, they haven’t done extensive air testing and no water testing, and asked why.  Mr. Coburn said that there hasn’t been a perceived need for it.  One is looking for some indication that there is a need to look further than they have.  These emissions would have been depositing materials and sediment over the past 22-25 years.  No trend has been seen that they can attribute back to WTE facility.  Air sampling was done early in the program by the OCHD.  He believes it was discontinued for the same reason as the sampling along the truck route, didn’t see any evidence.  Stack testing is done to see if they are within the permit limit.  If they saw health impacts through the Health department, or soil impacts through the sampling program or stack emission problems that would lead someone to think that perhaps they should look deeper. 


Dr. Chase said that when they are looking at stack emissions, they are looking at a very small piece of the whole thing.  Mr. Coburn said that there was continuous monitoring at the plant as well.  Dr. Chase said that that when they look at what is being distributed over the land and water, the possibility exists that it could be piling up over time.  Mr. Coburn said that it would show up in the sediment data.  In answer to Dr. Chase, Ms. Miller said that the soil samples are collected annually and analyzed by the Health department.  They are looking for depositional impacts in the soil and there have never been any.  It is a very difficult thing to monitor, as there are many sources of air impacts in the community and region.  The Health department looks at what is in the ash residue and looks for a correlation between what is in the ash residue and the soil sampling.  The main thing they are looking for is trends, are they seeing increases over the 20 year period.  There have not been any trends associated with the soil data.  This community has one of the most rigorous monitoring programs in the country.  Most WTE facilities only do stack air emission testing at the facility itself; 90% don’t have any other type of monitoring. 


Chairman Plochocki said that members of the audience are not allowed to participate in committee meetings, in answer to a request to speak.  He added that they are welcome to speak to committee members individually after the meeting and offered to provide contact information for legislators. 


Dr. Chase said that Onondaga County does a great job of recycling but Cortland County only recycles about 10%.  She asked if they were going to increase monitoring, knowing that the imported trash will not be as pure.  Mr. Donnelly said that if they consider curbside-recycling Cortland is at 19% and Onondaga County is a bit above 20%.  Onondaga County does a robust job of collecting data for commercial recycling and he does not see evidence that Cortland County is doing the same.  On the 22,000 tons of trash they have today, the staffing isn’t available to collect the data; they are underwater by about $1 million dollars.


Ms. Miller:

  • Cortland County numbers are primarily residential recycling rates, behind Onondaga County but not by much for residential, was 17% in last report submitted to DEC in 2012
  • Onondaga County does tremendous amount of outreach to businesses, most of recyclables generated by business and industries; also get data from local recycling facilities, work very hard to get the numbers for the community; Cortland County doesn’t have the resources to do this, improvements can be made with OCRRA’s resources, i.e. sending apartment specialist to Cortland to work complexes, focusing on schools
  • Will work to increase commercial recycling in Cortland County as part of this program

3Mr. Shepard left the meeting.

Dr. Chase said that the distributed health statistics are not talking about hundreds of people but they are talking about a number above the expected rate for the population density.  They heard some horrific stories at the public hearings, i.e. 3 brothers all in early 30’s with cancer, had genetic testing and cannot figure out where it came from.  There are many people with cancer in those zip codes.  Even though number wise this doesn’t seem like a lot, might expect three and have eight, if it were their family member it would be a lot.


Mr. Coburn:

  • Urged Dr. Chase to read response handout (see page 6)
  • Health department very clear distributed data wasn’t sufficient to make any kind of determination on association or genesis of those cancers, many things contribute to cancer, hard to adjust for all factors; zip code data taken from NYSDOH, very clear one cannot make any associations from it, would be a misapplication of that data
  • After reading response from OCHD would encourage legislators with further questions to reach out to OCHD for detailed and direct response; OCHD has been looking at the data, doesn’t know why zip code in Spafford has same ranking as the zip code in proximity to the treatment plant, or why incidents of male lung and bronchial cancer are less than expected in zip code where they have a higher incidence of breast code, too many factors, reiterated data can’t be used to draw conclusions, worth watching, will advise if they see anything of concern


Chairman McMahon said that they addressed these issues last month at the Health Committee meeting.  Health is a sensitive and emotional topic and they have heard many opinions on this issue.   The Legislature has one gold standard.  It is the independent health commissioner, who is not a political appointee, and whose responsibility is the health and wellbeing of everyone in this community.  Dr. Gupta has met with many legislators that had the same concerns, asked the questions, and will talk to anyone else who has concerns over these issues.  He appreciates people who come to public hearings with various degrees and backgrounds but Dr. Gupta is the gold standard.  There is a lot of information out there, which they can get to people.   If there are concerns, they can have her attend any meeting or caucus that need be. 


In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Dr. Chase said the cancer rate density she spoke of was from the Health department.  She did not bring the information with her but would email it to the Chairman.  Mr. Coburn said the information was from the NYSDOH. 


Dr. Chase said that they decided not to import trash years ago, when planning for the treatment plant.   She understands that things change but it is terrible that they are discussing this at the last minute.  They should have been looking at this all along and planning for how to deal with the empty incinerator.  She isn’t saying that Covanta wasn’t doing a good job but they haven’t been looking at this for the past 20 years.


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Chairman Plochocki confirmed that they were voting to release the FEIS for further comment, agreeing that they had looked at everything critical, reviewed the comments, and answered them to the best of their ability.  In response to comments, there could be changes between the DEIS and the FEIS.  Mrs. Rapp said that they weren’t necessarily agreeing with every comment, just that they had asked and answered. 


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Chairman Plochocki, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Adopting the Onondaga County Local Solid Waste Management Plan


Chairman Plochocki said for the record, he wants to make sure they are absolutely clear that the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) is not being revised because of the potential ash for trash partnership with Cortland.  Periodically the plan needs to be revised, and with all due respect, probably should have been revised before this.  Because they know the partnership is a potential reality, the amendments to the SWMP contemplate that future possibility.  He feels that this is a good idea.  If they think something may be a foreseeable possibility, and are amending any plan, that plan should take into account such things.  He asked that committee members keep this in mind as they move forward.


Mr. Coburn:

  • Action to adopt and implement SWMP, independent obligation to update plan regardless of proposed regional partnership
  • Described updates to SWMP at November committee, passed SEQRA resolution in December which opened public comment period, comments accepted through 1-17-15, public hearing held on 12-16-14, all comments received were appended to the plan, 22 commenters, several comments on regional partnerships and alternative ways of handling solid waste in Onondaga County, many comments on the WTE facility air emissions and health impacts, responses to comments very similar or identical to comments and responses to FEIS
  • DEC reviewed draft update, approvable letter received – important piece of the equation, has never been satisfied with the regulations and process followed, cart and horse issue, which comes first - does the legislature adopt the plan and send it for approval to DEC or does DEC approve the plan and send it to the legislature for adoption and if there are changes at either end, how do they deal with the changes, difficult to manage; received approval letter from DEC with comments

Approval LetterApproval Letter


  • Errata sheet prepared in response to DEC comment No.1





  • Non-substantive changes, i.e. changes in terms of tense, wanted past tense instead of future tense


Chairman Plochocki asked the committee to take a few moments and review the changes, adding that he had already seen them through an email sent to him as Chair of the committee.  He finds the changes to be good but not substantive.  In response to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Coburn confirmed that all the future tense changes were completed.  They pledged to do some steps in the future and they remain in future tense; won’t change the way waste is managed, i.e. studies.  


Ms. Miller:

  • One change was OCRRA developing Pay As You Throw case studies for municipalities, a form of trash management, pay per bag; DEC encouraging, plan said will consider, wanted firmer wording - will develop case studies
  • All changes extremely minor; Ms. Miller and Mr. Coburn had discussion on just one item – clarification of recycling rates, OCRRA generally reports total recycling rate, about 62%, DEC wanted municipal solid waste (MSW) component recycling rate for better comparison to state and national numbers, trash includes more than MSW, includes construction and demolition debris, industrial waste streams, wanted other waste streams excluded, old plan had 62% in some locations, now specific to MSW at 42%; 62% number remains with respect to total waste stream, total number was accurate, not a major change


In answer to Dr. Chase, Ms. Miller clarified that the residential recycling rate was a little over 20% for Onondaga County.  Mrs. Rapp said that commercial recycling is the largest component and brings the total to 62%.  Ms. Miller said that 42% was for MSW.  Then there is industrial, i.e.  Anheuser-Busch has food-processing waste, about 100,000 tons of waste included in total recycling rate of 62%.    Residential recycling is the blue bin material people put out to the curb, the smallest component of the recycling program in our community and across the nation.  Most recycling takes place in the commercial sector, where businesses are generating a lot of corrugated cardboard and other materials that are being recycled.


Dr. Chase asked what Cortland’s total recycling rate was.  Ms. Miller reiterated that Cortland does not do as good a job at getting the numbers.  OCRRA takes a huge effort to reach out to waste generators, i.e. Anheuser-Busch and Lockheed Martin, and recycling operations, i.e. Rock-Tenn, to get the data.  Cortland County does not have a person that can take the time to do this.  Dr. Chase asked if they would be getting a person to do this.  Mr. Donnelly said that it was doubtful; they are about the size of Manlius; may be able to with the increased revenue, if they are successful in this endeavor.  He asked that they remember how small they are and consider how much they would have to dedicate to a niche study like this. 


Mr. Coburn said that under the partnership, one of the expectations was that the efforts in Onondaga County would elevate Cortland’s amount of recycling and have a regional benefit.  This was the reason why NYS was promoting partnerships, economies of scale and successful programs can help elevate the work of other programs.  Mr. Donnelly clarified his answer saying that when he said that it was doubtful that they would hire someone, which did not mean that they wouldn’t embark on the activity.  Ms. Miller said that Cortland has a SWMP and their plan has a section to address the data collection piece, they are trying to work on this.  Across the state communities not as fortunate as Onondaga County are having this data collection problem.  They acknowledge that they need to do better and their plan discusses several goals that they hope to achieve to improve this. 


Dr. Chase said that meanwhile Onondaga County would be burning things that they are trying to burn in this community, because this material was brought into them.  Ms. Miller said that they are not certain that Cortland’s recycling rate isn’t comparable.  The issue is that the data collection piece is not there to support it.  Mr. Coburn said that both communities have screening to limit this as much as possible.  It is not as if no materials get through the screening process.  This is the reason that the DEC sets limits for plant emissions and there is no expectation that the addition of this MSW, even with a few recyclable’s getting through in the early stage of the game, will come close to exceeding those permit limits.


Mr. Donnelly said that OCRRA also has enforcement officers and recycling specialist that would engage with Cortland at some level.  They have not negotiated what the level will be but it must be at a level that ascertains that they are not burning things they would not normally burned in Onondaga County.  Cortland County has made it clear that they would want some help in the running the green programs Onondaga County runs.  They decided to wait until the DEIS and FEIS SEQRA process was complete before negotiating; have meet a few times on household hazardous waste, light bulbs and batteries. 


Mrs. Rapp said that this is exactly the type of thing they should be doing, in terms of a regional approach to managing government.  To be able to share resources and bring others that may not have the resources up to the standards Onondaga County has set, as opposed to playing to the lowest denominator and saying they cannot have a quality program strictly because they do not have the resources to establish one.  


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.


Mr. Donnelly said that they could be sure that the good will and reputation OCRRA has built over the years would be well guarded.  They aren’t interested in collaborating with someone that would taint their reputation and will take an active role in this.


Seconded by Chairman Plochocki.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Office of the Environment (Travis R. Glazier) Mary Beth Primo, Deputy County Executive/Physical Services


Chairman Plochocki asked Mr. Coburn to stay at the table a little longer and thanked him for sharing his opinion with regard to a successor. 



Mr. Coburn said that it was gratifying to have people ask his opinion on his successor and in answer to Chairman Plochocki, provided the following:

  • Background - bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical geologies from Western Illinois University, master’s thesis looked at impact of bedrock control on drainage systems as consequence of continental glaciation; worked for SWCD for several years
  • Parents were librarians, grow up in college town, no agricultural background, background in education taught him how to learn, ask questions and get answers; found himself in same situation in Onondaga County, not a limnologist or entomologist, doesn’t have hydrology background
  • County government deals with array of issues from horizon to horizon, there is no one with expertise in everything because of the rate of science evolution and regulation changes today, boils down to identifying issues, figuring out who has answers, talking to experts and identifying an approach based on that
  • Worked closely with Mr. Glazier over past several weeks, provided him with 6 GB of information, he has been pouring over it and asking insightful questions, Mr. Glazier’s work for Congressman Boehlert is a clear advantage, already made more acquaintances with people that will helpful to him at this stage, took Mr. Coburn many years to establish these connections, believes Mr. Glazier will do fine in fulfilling the associated tasks and duties

Mr. Coburn said that it is very clear to him that the most important level of government is local government.  What they do is more important than what happens at higher levels, in many ways.  He feels very privileged and honored to have had the pleasure of serving the legislature, as they serve the community, and he thanked them for that.


Chairman Plochocki said that when he knows someone outside of the realm he likes to mention it, as he did with Mr. Givens.   He has worked with Mr. Glazier over the past three years in his role with the County but they also worked together in 2008 on the Dale Sweetland for Congress campaign.  They worked together well and he considers Mr. Glazier to be a friend; wants to let everyone know that he may have a bias. 


Ms. Primo:

  • Mr. Glazier is the County Executive’s appointment to the Office of Environment, appointment based on a number of things, all of them have worked with him for 4 years or more, County Executive worked with him prior to him coming on board with the County
  • Has tremendous work ethic, bachelor’s from Potsdam, minored in environmental studies, clearly has shown an interest in this area as well as academic credentials, got master’s in public administration while working for the County from the Maxwell School, at same time was having a baby, very hard worker who has the academics and interest
  • Perhaps nothing more telling than Mr. Coburn’s endorsement, no one knows the job better than the person sitting in the position for 30 years; Mr. Coburn and Mr. Glazier have worked together for the past 3 weeks in the environmental office but have also worked together over the years on different items; hard to question the County Executive’s wisdom in her appointment with Mr. Coburn’s support
  • 1st job out of college with Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), tasked with educating the public on environmental issues and advancing environmental issues; next worked for Congressman Boehlert’s office for 3 plus years, main responsibilities centered around environmental issues, worked with citizens on environmental issues and had interactions with the EPA, DEC, and other environmental groups, a big part of this job
  • Very positive about Mr. Glazier, looking forward to working with him, know he will do a good job

Mr. Glazier:

  • Humbling experience to be appointee of the County Executive and hear Mr. Coburn’s nice comments; going through this process has seen how professionally Mr. Coburn approaches each issue, the breadth of knowledge he finds, has the ability to start at point zero and get to an extremely knowledgeable state, amazing how his fingerprints are allover policy in Onondaga County, huge shoes to fill, has been very encouraging – won’t be where Mr. Coburn is at day one but can get there; has spent a lot of time getting caught up on the issues themselves and trying to better understand how he approaches issues, what his mentality is as far as examining how it may impact Onondaga County and the taxpayers
  • Mr. Coburn has done a tremendous service to the taxpayers, looking out for all the different interests and weighing the pros and cons in many different ways, has been a great experience and he looks forward to working with him over the next month
  • Items not in his resume - 35 years old, lives in the Town of Clay with wife and 10 month old son, Maxwell School graduate, EMPA, Potsdam degree politics major - didn’t have political science, was philosophy based, environmental studies minor, senior year Potsdam had a course competency load which was the same courses he took and was called environmental studies major, also had crossover studies with Clarkson University, by this time he had a job with CCE, was excited and ready to start changing the world
  • Dereth Glance, first supervisor with CCE, sent letter on his behalf, have maintained a good relationship, encouraged him to take position with Congressman Boehlert, an amazing opportunity to work with environmentally minded member of congress with long track record of effecting environmental policy, fortunate opportunity in early carrier to spend time with an environmental leader, watched him deal with issues and policy from federal level
  • Eye-opening experience working for Onondaga County as Director of Intergovernmental Relations, exposed to local government and understanding how closely local issues directly impact people’s lives, concur with Mr. Coburn – local government is the most effective level of government, as Director of Intergovernmental Relations enjoys seeing policy initiatives from concept to hitting the road and impacting people’s lives, truly the essence of local government, a powerful thing


Chairman Plochocki said that the Director of the Office of Environment was one of the most important offices that the Environmental Protection Committee deals with and asked if there were any questions. 


Mrs. Rapp:

  • Doesn’t want her questions misconstrued as anything personal, here to do their job; great people are made when there is great scrutiny
  • Background he brings to position not traditional; charter states a master’s degree in some kind of environmental science and six years’ experience

Ms. Primo clarified that it was or six years of experience, not and.


Mrs. Rapp continued:

  • She has been on many search committees for hiring positions, both private and public sector, realizes the process for each is different, looking at her resume, was woefully underqualified for every job, built 2 companies – 1 nationally and 1 locally became one of the largest mailing firms in the County, came into politics never having gone to a town meeting, still being reelected 25 years later; one can succeed without having the background but wants to talk about process
  • Community enormously environmentally connected and concerned, a level she wants to see continue; when looking for an expert in a department of one there is no counsel, person is on their own, standard for having behavioral experience becomes stronger, especially with ESF turning out graduates in environmental science with master’s and PhD’s, many people in this kind of work locally coming to them
  • Not looking for the political spin, wants to know the science; Mr. Coburn’s background was in science, Mr. Glazier’s background is from the political side


Mrs. Primo:

  • For the record Mr. Glazier has the degrees and experience needed for the job - a master’s degree in public administration; separate track would be 6 years of experience, don’t need both
  • County Executive appointment; hasn’t been an Onondaga County Executive more interested in the environment than Ms. Mahoney, won national awards for environmentally important work, need to trust County Executive will ensure person heading environmental operations will be able to do what is good for the environment
  • Mr. Coburn made it clear one doesn’t come into this position with all the expertise; Mr. Glazier will work with people from ESF and ESF graduates, will be working with all sorts of people from organizations that have strengths he doesn’t have, i.e. Mr. Coburn went out to experts in that field when he needed information on the EAB and worked closely with Law department and engineers involved in the project for SEQRA on solid waste partnership; he was able to synchronize, organize and distill all the information to present to the County Executive and Legislature and assist in the discussion of the issues at hand
  • Don’t necessarily need a strong scientific background, need a strong ability to analyze, understand and communicate, Mr. Glazier possess these skills


In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Ms. Tarolli said that the qualifications for the Office of Environment are separate and distinct, either a master’s in public administration, environmental science or sanitary engineering, or another appropriate advance degree with six years’ experience.  A master’s in public administration is one of the ways to qualify for that position under the charter.   In answer to Chairman Plochocki, Ms. Tarolli confirmed that these are requirements, not guidelines.   Mrs. Rapp said that this made her feel much better.


Mr. Glazier:

  • Wasn’t familiar with municipal law when he started as Director of Intergovernmental Relations, had very little experience with town size classifications, what the boundaries where, what positions were required for municipalities and how their processes worked; many ways to capture this information, spent a lot of time with municipal attorneys, asked questions and worked with them, spent a lot of time with Ms. Berger who was a major asset for him in drafting memos
  • Saw his role as taking a question from a municipality about structurally how they perform or a potential merger being considered and finding answers as to the constraints and supports available, i.e. using DOS funding with local government efficiency grants and talking to them about what the process would be for them to follow through if interested, would be able to begin early examination to determine if it was something they wanted to venture further into; worked with the Law department, DOS and elected official liaisons, primarily from the state level, to find answers and distill information that worked for all different municipalities; Town of Salina very active with a lot going on, Town of Otisco doesn’t spend as much time studying municipal organizations and the way they do things, have to take it a step further in explaining the process, Onondaga County runs the gamut from unsophisticated small operations to very sophisticated, some more advanced than surrounding counties
  • Had to tackle individual issue, could be anywhere on the horizon of public service, had to look at individual components and find answers as best he could through various sources of information available; to some extent was what Mr. Coburn was explaining, he has the same situation, could be a beetle eating trees today, a potential partnership tomorrow and a lawsuit pertaining to Onondaga Lake the next day

Mrs. Rapp said that it wasn’t too different from the Legislature.  They are never prepared for what is going to happen next. 


In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Glazier:

  • Greatest success in his role as Director of Intergovernmental Relations happened beyond his time, worked with now Legislator Liedka on the East Syracuse police merger, a huge win for their taxpayers, will be receiving same service or possibly higher, taxpayers and municipality further along as a result; many things worked on were very difficult and weren’t successful for a whole variety of reasons
  • Greatest disappointment was Village of Camillus merger with the Town of Camillus, thought it was a slam-dunk, made the most since, village residents spoke and that was the real success that gets lost in the shuffle, looking at paper he has his personal opinion but residents that live there and pay taxes had opportunity to let their voice be heard, citizen’s group organized themselves and brought it forth to referendum, information relayed from the government was accurate, citizens choose to keep the structure as is; personally believes it would have been a positive merger

Mr. Burtis said that to follow Mr. Coburn would be difficult for anyone.  To say one has an interest in an area is difficult to follow and in the context of a department of one, that handles millions of dollars, they have to look at those things.  Then to hear that one will grow into the position is a difficult thing, of course everyone grows in his or her position.  He is new here and an appointment of the County Executive.  He has been told that this it is a little different, but it feels about the same as he tries to drink out of a firehouse to get himself up to speed.  He understands that they are here to confirm the appointment.  However, he has not heard how many others were considered and asked if this was something that they had to do now.  Chairman McMahon said that they had to confirm the appointment within 45 days, therefore they would be voting on this at session. 


Mr. Fisher:

  • Department heads do not make policy, Legislature sets policy in the end, County Executive advances policy in the form of resolutions, local laws, and budgets, will always be a discussion; department head’s role is advisor to County Executive and Legislature
  • Not approving cabinet member in federal government with powerful policy making authority where 20 years’ experience would be more relevant; look for department heads that will get very best information that County Executive needs, presents County Executive’s wishes to Legislature and defends proposed budget, local law, or resolution; confident Mr. Glazier is more than qualified to do this in very fine fashion

Dr. Chase asked if this was an open position that people could apply for and if others were considered.  Ms. Primo said that the County Executive considered others but ended up thinking and believing that Mr. Glazier was the best choice.  Mrs. Rapp asked Ms. Primo to elaborate and questioned if there was a process involved. 


Ms. Primo:

  • County Executive had people she thought could do the job; evaluated them and thought Mr. Glazier would do the best job, must be someone that can do the job and work well with County Executive’s office, he knows the legislators, knows a number of people outside and has been working on the Consensus Commission - an important position that should be explained
  • Everyone is enamored with Mr. Coburn and should be, he did a wonderful job; Mr. Coburn found the County Executive brilliant to work for, couldn’t do what he does unless the County Executive agreed to advance the items, things weren’t always like this for him; Mr. Glazier will be working under the same leadership scheme and in the exact same fashion as Mr. Coburn
  • Mr. Glazier worked on many hot topics in intergovernmental relations role, wasn’t easy to make friends with people on opposite side of the issue, did job well with integrity, no one could say anything disparaging about the way he fulfilled his role in the former position


Mr. Glazier said he welcomes everyone to reach out to anyone in the various municipalities.  He did not always have the best of news, especially when he initially got started, fresh after the sales tax changes.  He had to have some very difficult discussions but maintained an open dialogue and high level of integrity.  Chairman Plochocki said that legislators would receive a positive review of Mr. Glazier, if they had discussions with mayors or others.  Mr. Glazier said that he believes so.


Mr. Glazier:

  • Heavily involved with Consensus Commission genesis and funding, still supports
  • Involved with Snow Committee, convened highway superintendents with intention of changing reimbursement formula for snow removal, had discussion over several months on how the County should interact with municipalities; municipalities like new formula, more reflective, compensation based on snow volume and accelerator factor
  • Involved in formation of the Land Bank and some early aspects; had to venture into spaces he knew nothing about, didn’t know a lot about urban planning and impacts of property tax as far as delinquent properties, took his time and got brought up to speed, worked with experts, now knowledgeable about land banks; very knowledgeable about snow removal distribution processes and the current Consensus Commission
  • Throughout processes has had to evaluate what the problem was, find solutions, kept County Executive and Deputies informed with information needed to make appropriate policies


Chairman Plochocki said that Legislator Holmquist wanted to attend the meeting but was unable to do so and provided a series of questions that he would like asked.  He does not endorse or unendorse any of these questions.  Mr. Holmquist was not clear, as to whom the questions should be addressed to.  They appear to be more appropriate for Ms. Primo or someone in the administration.  They are process oriented, building off what Mr. Burtis said.  He would like to give them a since of where the questions are going ahead of time and the option to answer later, if they need more time.  He understands that they wouldn’t necessarily come to the meeting expecting to be asked about the process in detail.  The questions range in from why wasn’t a national search performed similar to the search for the Health Commissioner, to what extend was there a local search, names of those considered and why they weren’t chosen, and things along those lines. 


Chairman Plochocki said that the questions are appropriate but he understands that Ms. Primo was probably here expecting to talk a little more about Mr. Glazier’s resume than the process.  He asked if Ms. Primo would rather get back to them with her response.  Ms. Primo said that this is a County Executive appointment and there are no rules as far as how she should go about making this appointment.  There are some positions that they will look far and wide for; wasn’t closely involved in the appointment of Dr. Gupta but believes it was a very difficult position to fill without going nationwide.  The County Executive has a number of people on her staff that work for her.  She knows them very well, knows their talents and knows that they work well with the community and won’t come here and then decide to leave.  There is no reason to look beyond the community when she can find someone within her own building that she believes will carry out the task in a responsible and professional manner.  She found this in Mr. Glazier.  Other people were considered.  She doesn’t remember their names and doesn’t believe it would be appropriate to provide the names, unless the County Executive wanted to refresh her memory and allow her to do so. 


Chairman Plochocki said that Mr. Holmquist also asked if she could provide the credentials of others considered or did she feel that this was not appropriate at this time.  Mr. Fisher:

  • Ms. Mahoney has been making appointment for almost 8 years, began to think about how to make appointments when elected in January 2007, her record stands for itself, their department heads are fantastic and doing a tremendous job.
  • There are positions with no qualifications - like his own, was totally not qualified but figured it out, other positions have specifics involved; proof is in the pudding, can see the quality of decision making process used in the people she appointed, if they think Commissioner Lansing, Commissioner Donnelly, CFO Morgan and Deputy County Executive Primo are doing a good job, they can trust in the process she follows, very inclusive process; thinks and talks about positions all the time; as soon as a position opens, i.e. County Attorney, people start saying they would be an awesome candidate, her staff has ideas and internally, some say they would be a great choice, no shortage of candidates
  • Health Commissioner was a nationwide search, turns out she was married to a local doctor, a prominent member of the community suggested Dr. Gupta to the County Executive, she quickly made the short list the County Executive reviewing, pleased to find someone that commuted back and forth from the west coast was the best-qualified candidate
  • County Executive weighs many different factors, looks at the team they have; County Executive is the CEO, Deputy County Executives have authority to administer departments on her behalf as delegated by her, her prerogative to do things differently, i.e. if she wants to directly administer Office of Environment, or get directly involved, it is her prerogative and the Deputies do other things, have plenty of other departments to work on
  • County Executive has worked out a rhythm for finding someone eminently qualified that will do a great job and can be part of a team; more to this than they would anticipate, it is not just the Director of Environment that figures legal issues - it is Luis Mendez, outside counsel and the best and brightest people they can find on things like Onondaga Lake
  • Mr. Coburn didn’t’ figure out every answer to deal with the complex issues, was part of a team that gave best advise possible to County Executive and Legislature; are more than comfortable that Mr. Glazier will fit into the team and hit the ground running, has relationship internally, has the trust of the County Executive and Legislature, knows the players in the community he will be interacting with to represent the County in a first-class manner, even on issues where he will rely on expertise elsewhere in the County or outside

Mr. Glazier said that it was a little awkward hearing his qualifications talked about by various people.  One thing he doesn’t want people to loose prospective on is that he has known the County Executive since before she was County Executive and has worked with her for more than 10 years in various capacities.  When he completed his Executive Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School, the County Executive was supportive and thought highly of his initiative to seek further education as an adult.  In some respects, he believes that she recognized that he was interested in expanding where he was.  He made it clear to her that he was very interested in local government; at whatever capacity the County Executive thought he fit to fulfill her goals.  He has always made it clear that he was interested in growing within Onondaga County government or within some local government service delivery process. 


Chairman Plochocki said that Mr. Holmquist’s last questions was if there was any interest in having Mr. Glazier confirmed by the Legislature as an Interim Director of the Office of Environment, due to the short notice, while a national search was performed.  Mr. Glazier would be welcome to apply as part of the group.  Mrs. Primo said that this is the County Executive’s appointment.  Mr. Fisher said that there was no interest. 


Mrs. Ervin said that it seems odd that they are going into this much detail for this appointment.  They have made a number of appointments with only one or two questions.  She realizes that this is for a different position but is curious as to why this appointment is taking almost an hour to get through.  They appointed Julie Cerio with three questions.  She doesn’t think the responsibilities of the two people are much different and is curious about this. 


Mr. Dougherty said that he would question the wisdom of a nationwide search.  He would much prefer that someone from this County head the Office of the Environment; someone very much like Mr. Glazier.  It would only compliment things and lead them down the road of possibly ending up with someone that doesn’t know the unique environmental concerns of this area.


Mrs. Rapp said that she mirrors Mr. Dougherty’s comments.  She came into the meeting hearing a lot about if this was their highest and best choice, they live in an environmental community, would it be better suited and value added in finding an expert.  On the other hand, Mr. Glazier brings a unique set of credentials that would be very difficult to duplicate.  They have to weigh those concerns.  She was going to abstain but is willing to go ahead and support this today. 


Chairman Plochocki said that he was not taking a vote on the item today.  It has been considered, will move forward and be voted on by the general session.  This being such an important appointment, he would like to see all committee members present.  A couple of legislators also wanted to attend the meeting, who would like the opportunity to ask questions, and have asked that they withhold on a vote.  This will not delay the process, things will still move forward in time for a vote at session. 


The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 AM.


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature



* * *





MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mrs. Rapp

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  Mrs. Ervin; see attached list


Chair Tassone called the meeting to order at 11:07 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED


1.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARIES:  Susan Mitchell, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available to Onondaga County Public Library to Retain a Reserve for Improvements and Emergency Repairs to the Branch Libraries ($30,000)

    • Moving money that during budget process was moved to a contingency fund; $30,000 grant infrastructure money; City money that comes over via the abstract; typically for purchases throughout the year
    • i.e.:  rain garden drain pipe backed up, flooded Beauchamp basement where they were putting all materials during renovation ($16); typically for things that come up on an emergency basis; some are planned
    • Planned items - completed lead paint removal in White branch; doing lead paint abatement in Beauchamp; new handicap doors in Petit; restriping parking lots; repairing exterior lights; purchased security camera costing $1,100


Ms. Mitchell responded to Mr. Dougherty that some of it is planned and other things come up, so at times they need to move things off the list until the next year.  Typically there are things like the Beauchamp issue and the security camera that come up.  Because that money is kept separate, (even though they have a parent and child account in the budget) they cannot roll the budgets together.  They cannot take County money from Central and move it to the branch budget.  It is money from the City just for branch repairs.  Mrs. Mitchell replied to Mrs. Rapp that it is money from the City.  Mrs. Rapp said it’s a silly item to have in contingency. 


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Personnel Resolution - Create R.P. 01 406500 8226, Administrative Director (OCPL), Grade 35, $75,402-$97,534 Effective March 3, 2015; Abolish R.P. 01 406500 5946, Director of Administrative Services, Grade 33, $62,755-$81,175, Effective March 3, 2015


    • Going through consolidation; facilities has already moved to Facility’s Department; now moving personnel to Budget
    • Currently have Director of Internal Services, HR related duties, and Director of Administrative Services, which is budget; creating new position that will take higher level duties of both positions, and make one position
    • Other duties and dollars from those positions will move to Personnel and Budget offices
    • Budget is taking over paying the bills, but OCPL still needs to set budget to meet program needs; lot of state dollars come in, lot of city dollars, state aid grants and construction grants


Mrs. Rapp asked if their budget person was going to be in Personnel.  Ms. Mitchell responded that the personnel office in the Library is moving to County Personnel (under Peter Troiano), and the budget office will move under Steve Morgan.  There are two administrative units that they are liaising into one that will communicate between those two departments.  They will handle the higher level stuff of how they want the program to work, and then all the other duties will move. 


Chair Tassone asked if they are getting rid of the administrative office budget position.  Ms. Mitchell replied that they are abolishing the Director of Administrative Services position and creating an Administrative Director position.  The grade is in line with the other administrators; branch, central and member services.  Mrs. Rapp asked about the third position.  Chair Tassone asked about the budget position.  Ms. Mitchell stated this is one of the budget positions, and Kyung Jin Park, who is the Personnel Director, will be retiring in the fall.  That position, plus its duties, will go to Peter Troiano’s group, and some higher level duties will stay with this position.  Mrs. Rapp asked if they would abolish the position in the future.  Mr. Troiano thinks they will not need it, since they have titles that are unfunded that will support that.  Ms. Mitchell said they will not have one.  Mrs. Rapp stated they should have salary savings.  Ms. Mitchell agreed, but some of the dollars from the consolidation will go to other units.  The Library will not have salary savings; it would be those other units in the end.  Those positions have already been slated to move over.  If Peter Troiano hires for the same position or something similar, there would be savings there, but they have already been slated to move out of the Library. 


Mr. Dougherty asked if they are creating two positions; create grade 35 and abolish grade 33.  On the backup it says they are creating an Administrative Assistant grade 9.  Ms. Mitchell responded that it is an error.  Ms. Lesniak clarified that it is one create, and one abolish. 


Chair Tassone asked if this was what they were speaking about earlier, and Ms. Mitchell responded it has been open.  The person had retired for a year and a half, and came back a couple hours a week; Emilie Tisch from the Budget office has been picking up some of it as well.  There are Central Library renovations, refresh (carpet and paint), Beauchamp, and two additions with major construction (Petit and White).  There are four projects in the branches and the Central Library renovation, and Ms. Mitchell has been running the budgets for those.  Ms. Mitchell will have to get out from under that. 


Mr. Dougherty asked if they are creating a higher paying position than the one they are getting rid of.  Ms. Mitchell said yes, but the new position is in line with the other administrative positions they have.  Mr. Dougherty asked where the cost savings are.  Ms. Mitchell responded it will come from the consolidation of those positions, so this is the amount of money left behind for the Library to hire.  Those other positions were voted on last year, but are not moving until December. 


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     PARKS AND RECREATION:  William Lansley, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Provide Funds Needed to Implement Necessary Infrastructure Improvements to NBT Bank Stadium ($52,929)


    • Both items - dollars already allocated into accounts; no additional dollars; release of dollars for which established
    • First item:  alarm system at NBT 20 years old; originally installed in piece meal towards end of building of stadium; lot of components obsolete; largest false alarm systems that 911 deals with; needs to be upgraded
    • Release of $52,929 replaces entire panel, circuitry and couple detectors in elevators; elevator shafts open to elements; new technology would change to not read false; will communicate with panel; smart system
    • During ball game, personnel monitors the system actively; cost to Chiefs, so don’t have alarms going off w/full house
    • Can start immediately; paid by facility use fee; believe it is $175,000 available, so not tapping out
    • Money used as things break; $25,000 investment – do pavement repairs, concrete repairs, parking lot problems, restriping, lighting; all out of infrastructure


A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Provide Funding for Expansion at the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery ($20,350)


    • Need of expanding open areas for burial plots; gives 18,000 sq. ft.; 100’s of additional plots needed
    • In 2015 would run out of available space; tremendous amount of acreage; in process of strategic plan for developing and assessing property for future
    • Took trees out to prepare for burial; next step and need to do; opened plot about four years ago; getting to the end
    • 52 acre property with 9 acres developed; lot in strategic plan being assessed; lot of very useable space; in about 2 weeks will have draft about master plan from engineers; will be back to discuss
    • From then on every so often opening additional acreage as needed


A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mrs. Rapp, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


3.     CNY ARTS:  Steve Butler, Executive Director; Catherine Underhill, Symphoria Managing Director

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($68,750) 


(Reports on file with Clerk)

    • Contingency request; Symphoria’s reserved funds good; met schedule; done everything supposed to as far as performance; Pops concert so popular, they added a performance - always good news; good for the musicians as well
    • Both State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts have been flexile with rules, so Symphoria can apply for funding this spring; normally need 3 solid years; taking little activity in 2012 as a season; due to leadership of Katherine Underhill, and the work Symphoria is doing


Chair Tassone stated they are constantly doing a good job.  Ms. Underhill said they are working hard, and there is a lot going on; in the middle of planning next year’s season.  They are going to bring in Larry Loh, who is moving to Syracuse this summer.  Ms. Underhill responded to Mrs. Rapp that Mr. Loh will be the Music Director.  He will shape the programming, handle the musicians, and handle the auditions to begin to ensure there are longer term commitments from some musicians currently on a one year basis.  Symphoria continues to grow its education and outreach programs.  They will be bringing programming into Cicero-North Syracuse, Tully, LaFayette and Wellwood Middle School in Fayetteville.  Ms. Underhill replied to Mrs. Rapp that they are bringing in their Sound of Nature program; received grant from Community Foundation to do that.  Symphoria is trying to get into more schools, and bring schools to Symphoria.  There is an opportunity to present middle school and high school bands, orchestras or vocal ensembles prior to Pops and Masterworks concerts.  Mr. Butler asked if Itzhak Perlam is coming.  Ms. Underhill replied yes; they are collaborating to bring Perlman in November.  There will be a big concert, and Symphoria is collaborating with Temple Concord on that project, so they will be able to offset some expenses, share revenue and bring people in from a much broader area.  Ms. Underhill said they are trying to use it as a regional economic development opportunity, so mark calendars for November 1.  Chair Tassone said they are doing a great job.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.


Mr. Dougherty stated it’s been great, and every time it’s more good news that keeps getting better than the last time.  Ms. Underhill said it was kind to say so.  Mrs. Rapp commented that it was sad they lost the symphony, but great to see it regrow.  Mr. Dougherty said there was a bad story every time the symphony came before the Legislature, so this has been a pleasant surprise; less and less of a surprise every time.  Mr. Dougherty likes the way it is headed, and is happy to support it.  Ms. Underhill said they are in growth mode, and they are trying to accelerate that growth; hope to see as they get to the end of the season, and into next year. 


Mr. Dougherty seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


4.     ONONDAGA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION:  Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for use in Support of the Skӓ·Noñh–Great Law of Peace Center ($100,000) (Sponsored by Mrs. Rapp)


    • No intention of coming to County for operational support; business plan sustainable; 2 years of planning and programs/events; all been standing room only events
    • Lot of attention for center; United Nations permanent formant on indigenes issues – meeting at beginning of January
    • Working with UN and working with Smithsonian; will meet with Director of National Museums of American Indian
    • Have new exhibit called “Nation to Nation”; at Smithsonian had issues regarding telling story among native community; in process of doing major revamp of storytelling there
    • Letter of support from the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs; reiterates support for center on behalf of the Nation





Chair Tassone knows they are asking for $100,000, and asked what the total cost will be for the whole project.  Mr. Tripoli responded the planning phase was about $500,000, and construction to implement the architectural design, exhibit design, and the film component is another $500,000. 


Mrs. Rapp commented that the one thing that has been extraordinary have been the partnerships.  Mrs. Rapp is glad the County is the last money in, and not the first. 


Mr. Tripoli:

    • That is one thing that has created a lot of buzz nationally - it is a unique great partnership
    • Talk about how different parties can find census and build towards peace; not about finding where disagree; plenty of places where these parties disagreed in past
    • It’s about agreeing to disagree civilly and look to find common ground to build towards more agreeable coexistence
    • Coalition between County, which owns facility and supported this facility (grateful), and Onondaga Nation
    • Partners not traditionally seeing eye to eye (government and indigenous nation); fact coming together under umbrella of peace is very unique; then add a traditional historical society (like OHA)
    • History museums not seeing eye to eye with Nations in past; Museums known for collecting sacred items (including human remains), most result in national law that still isn’t being followed by a lot of museums funded by fed dollars
    • Academic institutions – created collaborations, and met with chancellors and presidents of all organizations; all dedicated professors and students; Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, OCC, Empire State College, Lemoyne College
    • Traditionally Eurocentric academic models - teachings taken a predominately European perspective, not Native American perspective, on how to deal with colonial American, and issue of Native American/European contact
    • Locally, first contact that did not go so well was between Haudenosaunee and the political spiritual center of that confederacy, Onondaga Nation; French Jesuit Missionaries in St. Marie
    • One partner is a Jesuit college; working with them on issues related to Christian doctrine of discovery; made progress
    • These are all organizations who have not traditionally seen eye to eye on these issues; fact that they have all come together with skin in game to create this facility is unique

Mrs. Rapp asked what the Legislature can expect to see from this investment made.  What is going to come back to the community, and how is this going to be truly unique in the marketplace.  How will the County be repaid financially and culturally?  Mr. Tripoli responded:

    • Unique because this will be first facility of its kind that speaks to Native American heritage, history and values
    • From perspective of Center of Haudenosaunee confederacy; site of first United Nations; site of first represented democracy in the West; site of inspiration on dollar bill and national emblem
    • All came from Native American history on shores of Onondaga Lake; compelling stories with national scope; and contributions to American way of life, which people would learn for the first time at Great Law of Peace Center
    • Native American heritage facility is not typical museum set up; gives validity to oral history
    • First time they know of that a traditional historic organization is champing a project that speaks to validity of oral history as a valid document of history; native tradition is oral history
    • It will be an oral history experience for the visitor who will be listening to the history and values of the Haudenosaunee from the Haudenosaunee themselves
    • Audio visual component and film made by local company; facility makes use of audio visual
    • Natives are telling in first person a narrative of history, as they’ve been told through generations
    • Will help to leverage some amazing things happening around the lake
    • OHA finishing; funding in place; been working for 2 years on documentary of history of Onondaga Lake
    • Will be completed in November around same time they hope to open the Great Law of Peace Center; will be around time amphitheater is opening; loop the lake; inner harbor construction and other great things that will leverage that
    • There is no place in Onondaga territory, in Capital of Haudenosaunee confederacy, that deals with that history
    • For those folks interested in Native American history, this will be it; this is official sanctioned perspective
    • Trail of Native American facilities; working with all of them; new one in Canandaigua; working with National Museum of the American Indian in NYC and Washington D.C.
    • Working to link all package tours; those interested in learning Native American history of America and this part of country; telling phenomenal story that people don’t know and will help build pride
    • If people knew every time they use phrase “bury the hatchet”; if people knew the founding fathers of this country regularly wrote and spoke about Great Law of Peace that happened on shores of Onondaga Lake – it instils pride
    • Things that happened locally had major impact on how this country was founded and continues to operate

Chair Tassone asked how they will advertise and get the word out.  Mr. Tripoli responded that the project itself has garnered national press.  They are working with package tours operators, and have access to media regularly.  OHA is a contributor to the Post Standard, SMG, CNY Business Journal, The New Times, and Good Life Magazine.  In USA Today there is an article on OHA.  They are working with the Convention Visitors Bureau, and Mr. Tripoli serves on the Executive Committee.  Mr. Tripoli said they are masters of promotion and publicity, know how to get the word out, and can do it without paying much.  Chair Tassone is looking forward to the project.


Mr. Dougherty asked if all the money is for the building near the lake.  Mr. Tripoli replied absolutely.  Mr. Dougherty asked if they were opening another building.  Mr. Tripoli said these are capital improvement funds, and it is a capital improvement to a County facility that is currently underutilized.  Mr. Dougherty asked how the rest of the fundraising is going, and if they are done.  Mr. Tripoli answered that so far they have raised (with the help of the Legislature) $750,000; about $270,000 away from reality.  The money they are asking for from the Legislature is close to the cherry on the top; that is for the base to complete the designs.  Mr. Tripoli said there are more things they can do and would like to do.  For example:  the film they are creating deals with things that happened 1500 years ago.  There are no images, photographs or folks around, and a lot of that was legend.  It would be great to be able to show the visitor the history in high quality animation, which is very expensive, and not part of the budget.  Mr. Tripoli stated if they raise enough funds, there are things they would like to do that would add value.  They are working with ESF on a volunteer basis to identify native species of plants and trees on the premises, so they can do walking trails with interpretive signage.  Currently there is no funding for that.  It costs a lot of money to fabricate the signs that will last through the weather here.  The hope is to raise more than the base, which will go to adding value to the facility. 


Mr. Tripoli responded to Mrs. Rapp that they are working with the Nano Center on a project to highlight the connections of Syracuse to the motion picture industry.  Mr. Tripoli stated a current issue of the CNY magazine has a cover story written by himself that will make everyone start thinking of Syracuse as Hollywood’s hometown.  Mrs. Rapp loves the authenticity of the project; not making something up or trying to fabricate something that is not here.  It is unearthing something that is a unique treasure, which is authentic to Syracuse.  Mrs. Rapp would like to sponsor this.


A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mr. Dougherty, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mr. Tripoli said the County was first in as well as last in, and they wanted the County to be last in because they deserved it. 


The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature




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MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Burtis, Mrs. Tassone, Dr. Chase, Ms. Williams

ALSO PRESENT:  also see attached list


Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:28 a.m. A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to approve the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Liedka took the agenda items out of order.


2.     HEALTH:  Michelle Mignano, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Personnel Resolution - Create R.P. 01 404300 8225, Research Technician 1, Grade 9, $44,522-$49,246 Effective March 7, 2015


  • Requesting to create Research Tech 1 for IAP (Immunization Action Plan) at Healthy Families; program is entirely grant funded; working on vaccine education campaigns
  • By law report to NYS all immunizations; work with school districts and providers; doing with Admin Intern, 18 month position in Personnel; same grant dollars; individual worked out really well
  • Provided Personnel with job duty statement description to identify what title would best fit; think Research Tech 1 fits with where going with electronic records, and providing data to the state
  • Was grant funded via Personnel’s roster, and would now like to put on Health’s roster

Ms. Mignano responded to Mrs. Tassone that it is someone they have already; Administrative Intern.  The person works in the Health Department, but the position is in Personnel’s budget.  Mrs. Tassone asked about when the grant runs out.  Ms. Mignano answered that the person would go.  Chairman Liedka replied that there is language in there. 


Dr. Chase asked if the line is moving from Personnel into Health.  Ms. Mignano responded that Personnel always has the admin interns, and the idea is that they get people with a Masters.  Mr. Troiano commented that they can have any kind of Masters that pertains to the department where they will work.  The Personnel Department houses the Administrative Interns on their roster, and the departments who want to hire will transfer the money to pay them.  There is no additional money; the money will go to the Research Tech 1 instead. 


Mr. Burtis asked if this is a new position.  Ms. Mignano replied that they had this position (Research Tech 1) up to two years ago, and had been vacant for a while.  When they cleaned up the rosters, they let it go.  Ms. Mignano said they are looking at more data (with things like accreditation), and would have fought harder to keep it if they had foreseen where they were going.  They did have it, and have other research techs, so this is not a novel position.


A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Transfer of Funds from Medical Examiner Account 330501; Reg Salaries 641010 ($90,000) and Medical Examiner 330501, Employee Benefits 6912000 ($45,000) to Medical Examiner 330501, Professional Services 664800 ($135,000)


  • Move money now in anticipation of what’s needed for pathology services so far for this year; hope to find pathologist as early as October; 2 positions needed to fill
  • Takes through what will need this year; possible to come back at end of year; moving from 101 to contract line for the contract pathologist

Mrs. Tassone asked if they are close to finding someone.  Dr. Stoppacher responded that there are three candidates; one interviewing tomorrow, and the other two in the next few weeks.


Chairman Liedka asked why there is such a limited number of people in the profession.  Dr. Stoppacher replied that there are about six hundred board certified Forensic Pathologists in the United States, and there are offices throughout the country vying for those people.  Part of it, is that it is what it is, so they are dealing with a group of people that may be slightly off kilter.  Secondly, compared to other pathologist positions and salaries across the country, Forensic Pathologists are on the low end of the scale.  That is not the only reason people do not choose the profession, but it is a factor.  It does not draw as many people as radiology.  Chairman Liedka asked which big universities or colleges are the ones to go to for this profession, and is there an opportunity for it here.  Chairman Liedka asked if there are any universities the County could partner up with.  Dr. Stoppacher answered that the plan is, once they are fully staffed, they will meet the requirements for a fellowship.  They already work with Upstate, and this would strengthen that relationship.  After basic pathology training, the MEO would offer a fellowship in Forensic Pathology, where individuals are trained in the office.  This gets another body to perform work, and creates a pipeline for the Forensic Center to keep people in those jobs.  Dr. Stoppacher has been in contact with the Chairman of the department, so it is on the horizon, but they have to solve this problem first.  It is a great idea.  Chairman Liedka said that is awesome.  Dr. Stoppacher said the other good part of the program is that the fellowship is funded through Medicare; done through the hospital.  The County would not have to take on the responsibility. 


Mr. Burtis asked if they found the three people with a national search.  Dr. Stoppacher responded yes; one is from Pittsburgh, and two are from Florida.  Ms. Mignano commented that they have looked beyond the US as well. 


Chairman Liedka asked, for the benefit of Mr. Burtis who is new, Dr. Stoppacher to explain where the County is with pay compared to other appropriately sized counties in the state.  Dr. Stoppacher:

  • Before last year’s budget process, compared to other counties, Onondaga County around 10-20% lower than comparable salaries; Monroe, Erie, Westchester
  • Last year through budget able to increase salaries across board; Pathologist, Chief, Deputy Chief; not bottom of barrel as far as NYS, but still are somewhat low nationally; addressing
  • New pay grade allows for some room to increase it, but potentially require another pay grade for Pathologist position; potentially maxed out at salary in order to get people
  • Been to Legislature many times asking things to get Pathologist; no response w/adequate people applying until now with making the salary competitive; fantastic and appreciate the efforts
  • Unfortunately need to take to another level to maintain those people; already starting at end of range; made progress, but little more to go to ensure solving the issue

Mr. Burtis asked if the three candidates know the salary package range, and if they are still interested.  Dr. Stoppacher responded that they know the starting salary, but no other details on the end of the pay grade.  Dr. Stoppacher responded to Mr. Burtis that he believes next year it will be looked at.  Ms. Mignano commented that they will have a lot of information to bring to the Legislature when looking at next year’s budget with what they have learned.  It’s been a long time building up to provide this pay level, and as OCHD learns, they will know where they want to go.


A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Mr. Burtis, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        c.     A Local Law Relating to Certain Fees Collected by the Onondaga County Health Department

        d.     Authorizing the Establishment of a Petty Cash Fund to be used by the Health Department Bureau of Disease Control for the Purpose of Making and Providing Change ($300)


  • Establish fee for Tuberculin (TB) skin tests; previously written sliding fee scale for anything in Bureau of Disease Control Clinics
  • Under the skin to determine whether exposed to TB; predominantly see those seeking are college students and those working in health care; fairly large health care system when including nursing homes and long term care facilities
  • In this community, quite a few immigrants work in long term care facilities, and are often sent to County for testing
  • Previously unable to provide all discretionary tests; national shortage 2 years ago, but has cleared up
  • Would like to do what Monroe County has done - offer to people coming through door as cash only
  • Designed for people who are downtown, know the County, and have come to County before
  • Does not impact those that need a test that are recent refugees or related to contact investigations; do this free, because charged to do by NYS Department of Health, and want to do to ensure there is no spread of TB
  • Continue to send individuals to 2 providers locally that provide testing; Industrial Medical Associations in Syracuse, and Riverfront Medical in Liverpool; not asking for rate to be set to put out them of business
  • Rate reflects actual costs including fringe; it’s matter of convenience; benefit - do it often and do well
  • If test not placed well, it could look like a reaction; if it looks like a reaction, it becomes OCHD’s job to follow up and investigate; do all testing and whatever is necessary; good to make sure it’s done right first time
  • 1st item - setting fee of $25; 2nd is matter of convenience (can talk about accepting credit cards or insurance cards in future), currently will do cash (quicker); goal not to be service provider; they can submit receipt to their insurance


Ms. Mignano responded to Dr. Chase that they could do all the employees at a medical organization, and they would do it for cash.  Ms. Mignano said they are confident they would have the capacity.  Dr. Chase asked if the organization would hand over cash.  Ms. Coughlin, from the Center for Disease Control, commented that they work with some not-for-profits, and send a bill through the fiscal office.  If there is a large not-for-profit in the community, the not-for-profit will send a list of the new hires, and they will bill them through the fiscal office.  Chairman Liedka stated this is more for walk-ins.  Ms. Mignano said they have not been charging for their services, so they have not opened that door. 


Dr. Chase asked if they think they will have a lot of customers when they open this up.  Ms. Mignano and Ms. Coughlin thinks it is possible.  Looking at history prior to shortage, they had over four hundred people a month receiving the vaccine free of charge. 


Chairman Liedka asked if it is an immunization.  Ms. Mignano answered that this is just a test, and has to be read within 48 hours.  They have to set up when they give the tests, so people can come back in to be read, or they have to do it again.  Planning on possibly one hundred people with charging, and OCHD has the capacity to manage more than one hundred.


Ms. Williams asked if a person comes that does not have $25, then they will not get the test.  Ms. Mignano said not unless they are in a contact investigation and need to be tested for a health reason.  Right now the County would not provide testing, and would send them elsewhere.  Ms. Mignano said they are not changing their practices.  Dr. Chase asked where they send them.  Ms. Mignano said there are two providers that do this in the community.  Industrial Medical charges $20, and Riverfront Medical in Liverpool charges $16.50.  If someone has a problem with one of them, the County will continue to offer it to those individuals.  Ms. Mignano stated they are not seeking to do this for direct care, and not seeking to get in the business.  This is a breakeven proposition.  Ms. Williams said if Liverpool charges $16.50 and IMA charges $20, then why is the County charging $25.  Ms. Mignano answered those are the actual costs between time, nurses, fringe benefits, etc.  Ms. Coughlin commented that the County uses LPNs, nurses’ aides and higher level staffing to do this.  Ms. Mignano said there is a benefit for them being direct care service providers, and they may very well be covering their costs.  Ms. Williams asked how they will notify the public that they will now be charging.  Ms. Coughlin replied it will be on their website, and they will probably put signs up in the bureau.  All of their regular customers know the County does not provide the service, because of the shortage, so this will roll it out.  Ms. Mignano said they will do it softly.  Dr. Chase commented that a lot of free clinics send people to the County, so a note to them would be good.  Ms. Mignano agreed, and said they know who their community partners are, and will make sure all of the clinics know. 


Mr. Burtis asked if they are confident in the controls as far as accounting and audit of cash.  Ms. Mignano responded yes.  They take in quite a bit of cash in Vital Stats, and the clinics that accept cash.  They have to set up a petty cash drawer, and have to do some work.  Ms. Mignano stated that Ms. Smiley is working with staff and IT to create a receipt system to be tied into PeopleSoft. 


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve item 2c.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Tassone, to approve item 2d.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


1.     CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES:  David Sutkowy, Commissioner

        b.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs ($158,131)


  • Involves Youth Bureau part of dept.; anytime want to enter into agreement with municipality, it requires Leg. approval
  • 1st aspect - Youth Bureau receives $400,000 from state for purchasing youth development and recreation services
  • In past, purchased services from Camillus, Cicero, Syracuse; did with approved intermunicipal agreement which expired at end of 2014; part of resolution continues that relationship with those organizations

Chairman Liedka said when they spoke on this last year, the fear was that they would not be back at the table with this funding, so this is good news.

Mr. Sutkowy:

  • 2nd aspect - last year in spring, state entered into its own contracts with municipalities on formula basis to purchase recreation services - 30 diff contracts state had with municipalities in Onondaga County
  • State didn’t want to do anymore; amount of money and paperwork, wanted to get out; allocated money to counties and passed responsibility to counties to enter into agreements with municipalities if they so chose
  • Last year received money at end of budget, so no RFP process; continued relationships with those municipalities
  • Funding behind this is part of Governor’s budget; assuming Governor budget passes, will receive money
  • Will continue contractual relationship with municipalities; would like some sort of RFP or competitive process
  • Have more time than last year; gives authority to enter into those agreements

Mrs. Tassone asked about the estimated numbers for the towns, and if they want to go through a bidding process.  Mr. Sutkowy replied not a bidding process.  Mrs. Tassone said they want the towns to explain what they want to use the money for, and Mr. Sutkowy agreed.  Mr. Sutkowy replied to Mrs. Tassone that the estimated money listed is the money the municipalities received last year, or were eligible to receive; a couple municipalities never responded.


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Mrs. Tassone asked when the County will get the numbers for the different towns.  Mr. Sutkowy said it is part of the County’s pot.  Those numbers were formulated by the state based on population.  Now all the money is a pot of money that the County can allocate at their discretion.  Mr. Sutkowy agreed with Mr. Burtis that these are numbers from last year.


        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget and Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement for the Purposes of Implementing a Grant from New York State to Support Projects Related to Promoting Discipline within the Syracuse City School District ($2,000,000)


Mr. Sutkowy would like to explain the whole context of what they are trying to accomplish, and why the County went through the realignment of Human Services last year. 


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Mr. Sutkowy stated two years ago, they looked at the people receiving public benefits, and their education background.  About 75% did not have high school degrees, and approximately 98% did not have a degree or only a high school degree.  If a person has a degree and makes it through the educational system, then they can be independent of the Social Services system. 


Dr. Chase:

  • Don’t need a degree like a Bachelors, but need skill set; some people are not interested or able to go to college
  • Need to do more for getting resources to educate in skill sets needed
  • When BOCES programs came up, deal was each individual town or village did not have resources to give skill training, had places like Centro Tech and anyone could go
  • Since city disseminated and wealth gone to county, BOCES has stayed with County; don’t have ability in city (have some tech programs); nothing like what is needed, nothing like old days; need to do something to turn around
  • Love to do research project - take kids in city attending schools, put them in Skaneateles and Fayetteville, and vice versa; keep everything else equal; bet city graduation rates would go up and county graduation rates would go down
  • Teachers getting bad rep, but not about resources have in education system; it’s the poverty and social network of kids in urban settings; they are already starting out behind; not even ready for school

Mr. Sutkowy agreed completely, and said:

  • CFS is involved with families and dealing with crisis; so many children interacting that will hit age eighteen, and not be prepared - have to weigh in more effectively to help give children a fighting chance
  • Have the issues addressed so they can succeed; this discussion was unthinkable two years ago
  • In past - DSS involved, Probation, Criminal Justice, Mental Health, Dept. of Aging and Youth, etc.
  • Now trying to coordinate, and make inroads working with preschool population for early childhood work, also work more proactively with school age population to organize resources (for this grant)
    Have to link in more organized way with city school to coordinate non-academic supports on behalf of the kids whose life experiences are threatening success
  • Trying to be more proactive with families on early side, and after child goes to school, so can help position child more affectively; have better chance of graduating high school

Chairman Liedka asked Mr. Sutkowy to get into the specifics of what the money is for.  Chairman Liedka’s personal opinion is that they have to find a way to get kids in the mindset that school is healthy, and there is a reason to be there.  Chairman Liedka does not think that exists right now, which makes it impossible for the teacher and those kids that want to learn.  Two million will help turn that around, because the city needs help with education.  Mr. Burtis asked if there is a plan for the school; a discipline project for non-academic barriers for the city school district.  Two million dollars is great, but what does that mean.  Everyone knows there is a problem.  Mr. Sutkowy responded:

  • Grant comes from last year’s state budget; sponsored by Assemblyman Magnarelli; made available to Onondaga County to develop partnership with city school district
  • Jennifer Parmalee, Director of School Based Initiatives, spent enormous time and energy working with school district, Patty Clark, Director of Student Support Services; to organize this and other contracts that run through the County
  • With this money, purchased services of promise owned specialists; staff that now operates in each school; team organized through social worker in school – social worker is hub, then there are promise owned specialists, family support specialists, counselors in the school, mental health specialists, etc.
  • If child exhibits difficulties in classroom (academic, behavioral), and teacher makes referral, or data from school district indicates problem, then child’s name referred and linked w/resource to best address; deal with immediately
  • Some exhibit problem behavior in classroom, which needs to be addressed immediately; long term is dealing with personal or family issues causing the child to be disruptive or not progressing academically at pace should be
  • Grant allows to purchase services for staff; directly part of each team to address non-academic

Chairman Liedka asked if they are in place now, and Mr. Sutkowy replied yes.


Dr. Chase asked if all of the schools have one of them, or is it only the at risk schools.  Ms. Parmalee responded they are in all but one alternative school.  There are thirty-two schools in the district, and they supplied thirty-one specialists.


Ms. Williams asked if the grant is going to be used for something that is already in place.  Mr. Sutkowy answered that they received the grant last year as part of the budget for 2015, and they were asked to bring it back to the Legislature for specific authority to accept and continue this.  Chairman Liedka asked if the funds were going directly to the schools before, and Mr. Sutkowy replied no.  It is a new member item sponsored by Assemblyman Magnarelli in last year’s state budget.  Chairman Liedka asked how it was in place before the funding.  Ms. Williams asked if whatever they are doing now is without the grant.  Mr. Sutkowy said no.  Mrs. Berger stated it is more of a best practice in the Charter for the Legislature to approve intermunicipal contracts.  The money has already been awarded, and this is just approving the contract.  Mr. Sutkowy commented that this money was part of the state budget last year, and CFS received it in September.  It was included in the 2015 budget it was submitted, and approved.  Mrs. Berger stated that because of the size and significance of it, they wanted to make sure everybody knew what was going on.  Ms. Williams asked if this is a contract that the County has with the Syracuse School District to do the program.  Mrs. Tassone asked if the County is allocating the funds to the city schools.  Mrs. Berger’s understanding is that no money is going to the city schools.  Chairman Liedka asked if the people that are in place are County employees or city employees.  Mr. Sutkowy replied that under the grant, the staff are employees of CCSI.  Chairman Liedka asked if they interface with the County’s people, and Mr. Sutkowy agreed.  Chairman Liedka said if there is a kid that demonstrates a big issue and the family may be in the system for certain reasons, then those people can identify the problems to get to a solution.  Mr. Sutkowy said they are all stationed in the schools; not school district employees or County employees.  They have contracted with a not-for-profit agency.  Mrs. Tassone asked what happens when the state grant runs out.  Mr. Sutkowy answered it runs out, and agreed with Mrs. Tassone that the County will not be responsible for it.  Ms. Williams asked if the grant is to pay salaries, and Mr. Sutkowy said mostly.  Ms. Williams asked if the grant runs out, then the program and positions will go away.  Mr. Sutkowy said yes; the County is not on the hook to continue this without funding.  This is something Magnarelli requested be continued. 


Dr. Chase asked how they are evaluating this grant.  Ms. Parmalee replied:

  • Working hard with city school district to ensure partnering together to look at three major components for each child
  • Looking at those three major components across each school to see if there is an impact on the school as a whole
  • Currently have access to information:  if the child has been suspended in school or out of school, if they were sent to the principal’s office, and all discipline related data
  • Partnering with school - look at attendance for improvement and finding academic standard within district to ensure children’s academic success
  • Access to discipline data and collecting data now; hoping next month will have access to attendance and academics
  • Spent last 24 hours reviewing data (preliminary data); Sept. more challenging month and as months have gone by, disciplinary actions decreased and are less sever; can see level of severity
  • Very close contact with program and staff; impressed with work happening in each school; integrating this person into building which allows them to get to know the youth, and struggles they’re experiencing
  • Traditionally child may experience challenge in classroom, and would be on the way out door to leave - specialist supports making sure they stay in school, get to place to express concerns, problem solve and get back to classroom
  • Working with district; been challenging to get child back to class, and back to level of comfort to tolerate; still early on

Mr. Sutkowy commented that besides collecting quantitative data (suspension, attendance and grades), they also survey the teachers to ask if they are using the service, and what their perspective is on it.  That was done a couple weeks ago.  Ms. Parmalee stated 64% of the teachers that responded were utilizing the service, and a number of them said they were positive about the service.  The same number are also utilizing teen, and the real purpose is to integrate this into teens in the school.  This is brand new to the district, and from the beginning of December they’ve created a very strong foundation. 


Mr. Sutkowy

    • Working last year with school district, planning, and wanted to be good partner
    • Other municipalities have tried to do this; find out who, who’s doing well, what did they do - steal ideas
    • Best information from Cincinnati, OH - person said their graduation rate was in 50s, and now 80s
    • Their model of f non-academic services is what CFS was thinking of doing and trying to do with resources
    • Used to have spray and pray approach - get services, throw them against the wall and hoped stuck
    • Kids acting out or having problems – some here, some there; not organized
    • Have to organize services - social worker is primary care (hub); cases comes here and social worker routes to appropriate member of team to engage child and family appropriately; get information, and back to classroom
    • Data – have to pay attention to information; identify kids that need help; effectiveness of intervention

Chairman Liedka asked when they were actually put in the schools.  Ms. Parmalee responded this past September. 


Chairman Liedka stated this topic is very personal, and to talk in a committee for a half hour is not enough.  Chairman Liedka requested more data maybe a few months down the road.  This sounds good, but what Chairman Liedka hears from teachers (including his wife) pays a very different picture, and he would like to see where they are going.  Ms. Williams stated from the state level there was a huge discipline rate amongst children of color.  Ms. Williams requested to see the breakdown. 


Chairman Liedka stated this is a topic that should be the only topic of a meeting, and there should not be a meeting after it.  To Chairman Liedka, this is the most fundamental issue in the County.  The city has to succeed for the County to succeed, and it starts with the education in the schools.  Would anyone object to that, and the members said no. 


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:41 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jamie M. McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature



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MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Knapp, Mr. Liedka, Mr. Burtis, Mr. Plochocki

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 10:47 AM.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Plochocki, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Liedka, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 



        a.     Confirming Reappointment of John E. Harper, Jr. to the Central New York Regional Market Authority (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


Mr. Knapp:

  • from Lafayette, long time involvement, operates greenhouse; supports appointment


A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Liedka, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.



        b.     Confirming Reappointment and Appointment to the Cooperative Extension Association of Onondaga County Board of Directors (Michael Plochocki, Kathleen A. Rapp)(Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)


A motion was made by Mr. Knapp, seconded by Mr. Liedka, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.



        a.     Update – David Holder, President


Mr. Holder:

  • Distributed 2015 SCVB Program and Payment Schedule (See attached), presented at December committee, updated 1-13-15, lists payment schedule, won’t make all payments as shown but need confidence funds will be available at that time to engage in programs and pay invoice when received, full view of 2015 work plan, cover items presented during budget in greater detail, broken down by month; great management tool for them, good tool for legislators to see what’s happening; anticipate changes, wrapping up 2014 financials, expenses planned for 2015 may shift to 2014 and vice versa , i.e. brand launch expenses planned for 2014, launching tomorrow, expenses will accrue in 2015
  • 2015 will be a great year, one of the best March months ever - Eastern Winery Exposition recruited from Lancaster, pleased with early exposition sales, interested in returning in the near future, will see long-term contract, 1,000 winery related business owners and suppliers, builds off of core industries in the area:  finger lakes wineries, distilled beverages and breweries; NCAA Men’s Regionals at month end
  • Launching new brand, changing everything; need 1st release of contingency funds for investments


Chair Rapp asked that Mr. Holder tell the committee a little about the early results from the fall marketing plan before getting into the resolution.  Mr. Holder:

  • Urged legislators to attend tomorrow’s legislative breakfast, in-depth presentation, tying into brand launch and telling success stories 
  • Received County funding, matched funds through Market NY program a Regional Economic Development program for marketing in Canada around new brand; logo wasn’t in place, had to get things started, November 1 started program with digital advertising and billboards in Toronto and Ottawa
  • Saw Canadian dollar start to slide, November 1 was at $.85 of $1.00, doesn’t work well for Canadian travelers coming here, saw hotel figures drop, i.e. year after year weekend comparison show drop in November, December and beginning of January, confident decrease is related to the Canadian dollar
  • Marketing campaign early results look promising, 2,800 visitors to website from Canada in November and December 2013 compared to 142,000 visitors in November and December 2014 with advertising program in place, 4900% increase in website visits; ready for them when they are ready to start traveling, are interested and more informed
  • Two Ottawa consumer shows in March, have been very successful, Julie Taboulie going with them for the first time, everything branded under the new brand


In answer to Mr. Plochocki, Mr. Holder said that the Ottawa Women’s Show was in the middle of March and followed by the Ottawa Travel and Vacation Show the following week.


In answer to Mr. Liedka, Mr. Holder confirmed the program launched in November and had great hotel participation.  One concept they are presenting to the hotel community on Friday is an at par program, i.e. hotels, restaurants, attractions, and retailors give 15% discount if Canadian dollar is at $.85.  If the businesses want to put this together, they will get the information out there.  The great thing about the marketing program is that they have advertising placement that they can change at a moment’s notice, which is running between now and October.  This money came from the state tourism fund and the money the County is putting in was helping to match those funds.  Chair Rapp said that Lake Placid is dependent on Canadian visitors and many businesses are offering the at par program for the same reason.  Mr. Knapp asked how the program would work for transactions other than cash, i.e. credit cards typically charge the exchange rate.  Mr. Holder said that their intention was that the players in the program would offer this as a set price, showing the discount.


In response to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Holder said that marketing for the website was going to continue all year.  They are meeting in a couple weeks to see what the January numbers look like.  They have had a relationship with the Pinckney Hugo Group and Syracuse Media Group, two local agencies, for managing this advertising program.  Mr. Burtis said that they are now laying a foundation and have a base count, with tracking they will be able to see how the clicks translate.  Mr. Holder said that they always have year over year analytics.  Last year they put into place daily hotel performance figures.  This year they are adding destination demand and searches through online travel agencies, i.e. starts tracking when a search is performed, if purchased, tracks and gives demand indicators of future travel.  This is not good for gaging Canadian visitation, as it is so close that they are not going through the online travel agencies; usually used when someone needs air, rent a car and a hotel or one of the three.  If someone only needs a hotel, they may wait until they get here.  This gives them snapshots of what future demand looks like and they can pump out messages targeting a slow timeframe, i.e. put together packages with partners for slow weeks.  They can change the advertising message at any time.  It is all about driving sales tax.  Chair Rapp said that it was about consistently driving sales tax, week after week. 


Mr. Liedka questioned the value of the Crunch sponsorship and asked what the ROI has been.  Mr. Holder said that it was too early to tell.  Mr. Liedka asked why they choose to spend this amount of money on a onetime event.  It was a lot of money.  They may very well go gangbusters based on the people they brought in but $50,000 buys a lot of marketing.  He has an agreement with some of his hotels in NYC and they do things with the Rangers and revolving boards.  Every SU basketball game is on national TV and for around $50,000 - $75,000, they would get that same type of exposure.  This was a onetime event with a limited TV audience.  He was not being critical but wondered what the justification was for choosing this.  Mr. Holder said that the justification was very simple and they relayed this to their team and their clients.  They hosted about 40 different clients for the event, many were local based and many conferences brought in are local based, i.e. quilters’ vice president was raised in Syracuse.  Local connections blossom to bring them new convention business.  They knew that if the Crunch were able to achieve their goals and make this a headline event, they would be able to broadcast it as the most attended indoor hockey event in the US ever; a loud message that they don’t’ get very often.  They knew they would have another one with the NCAA coming up but they wanted to use the event as a showcase for the flexibility of the community; pre event at the Oncenter, took clients to the game, saw how the community celebrated the game and how facilities in the community can be changed and adapted for multiple uses.  Mr. Liedka said that he attended the game and they had an awesome crowd. 


Mr. Liedka asked if they were going to consider doing this again next year and if they could consider making it bigger so that they put people in hotel rooms.  The Utica draw makes since to get the place full but he suggests adding a collegiate or amateur game to put people into hotels.  Mr. Holder said that based on the outdoor game, they knew that this would not be as great an overnight draw for the community as it would be for the publicity value.  There are times when they have to invest in things representing the destination marketing organization to generate demand and awareness building for future opportunities; this was definitely one of those cases.  They were hopeful that they would be able to blast out the new brand and did do a lot of promotion around “Do Your Thing”, which is the brand promise but were not there with the logo. 


Mr. Liedka said that the event was first rate.  Mr. Holder said that the Carrier Dome and the Crunch did an unbelievable job.  The clients left with great smiles on their faces and he believes they will see the payoff from those events starting to come back.  Dick Davidson was one of their guest.  He owns Harley-Davidson and is thinking about having another Harley owners group rally.  When that event comes in it will be huge.  Chair Rapp said that it was big money.  Mr. Holder said that Mr. Davidson was just one example.


Mr. Liedka reiterated that he was not trying to be critical.  As long as he is on the committee, and in this profession, he will try to help them.  He always likes to see a return, just like they do and this is why he asks the questions.  Mr. Holder said that whenever they make marketing and investment decisions they run them past many different players in the mix.  As they started building and questioning what they were going to do with this event, the people they talked to said that they needed to do something special with the publicity.  ESPN and Sports Illustrated picked this up and they wanted to take advantage of the publicity factor and use it as a client building force.


Mr. Fisher said that communication between their office, the legislature and SCVB is very important.  They may have read a news story that Howard Dolgon was looking to get the AHL All-Star Game’s here.  They heard about this the day before the story broke and have since talked to him.  He is very interested in pursuing this opportunity.  In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Fisher confirmed that the AHL was national; 30 minor league teams that go to the 30 NHL teams.  There is a legitimate opportunity to bring this here and it is widely televised, broadcasted all over the NHL and in Canada when held in Utica.  This might be an opportunity to get their message out to places they are doing well, like Canada.  Mr. Dolgon is always looking for the County, SCVB or both to help.  They do not have a specific ask but can count on being asked and should all stay in touch.  Mr. Liedka said that they hosted this back in the late 90’s.


Mr. Fisher said that all AHL teams have representatives play.  There are typically scouts from the NHL looking at the players and it is usually a big deal for their families.  Chair Rapp asked if this was a multiday event.  Mr. Liedka said that it was.  He remembers that the Oncenter was setup with family friendly events and it was a nice event.  In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Fisher said that the event would likely be held in January 2016.  Mr. Dolgon is putting together a package to sell to them.  There is a skills competition the night before and then a game the following night.  The skills competition has a little less food and beverage but the game itself gets a lot of food and beverage. 

Mr. Knapp said that people would come in from out of town for this.  Mr. Liedka said that scouts would be coming in from every team, as they are the best of the best for that level.  Chair Rapp said that any hockey fan within driving distance would be here.  This would be great and she looks forward to hearing more about it. 


Chair Rapp said that they were not voting on the release of funds until Mr. Holder “sings for his supper”.  Mr. Holder:

  • Going through name change tomorrow, from SCVB to Visit Syracuse, shifting to .com, .org will still work, easier for customers to find them, wanted to do this for a long time, didn’t own rights to .com, local business owner signed it over about 1 year ago, held off changing email addresses and announcing
  • Building brand learned Syracuse name was the piece people were drawn to anywhere in the region, need to make it more of a regional name, something all celebrate and latch onto, to do this talked to customers already latching onto it; very powerful customer quotes will be presented at tomorrow’s long presentation, will leave them saying it was really cool that someone said that about us; from visitors learned whatever they come here to pursue there were always more things for them to do and while pursuing primary activity they felt the community was celebrating with them, became the drawing card for everything associated with this brand
  • Logo doesn’t stand alone, goes with “Do Your Thing” brand, must be treated that way; not about creating a new logo for the SCVB or community, about creating a new brand and identity for the area, something all can be proud of
  • Played “Syracuse Do Your Thing” video (See link below), soundtrack written by Ben Mauro, lead guitarist for Lionel Richie, grew up here and used other musicians that grow up here, embedded into the video https://vimeo.com/cineticproductions/review/119478790/e49aa52d24


In answer to Mr. Liedka, Mr. Holder said that Bob Murdock shot the video.  He had been shooting B roll for them over the last year and they were able to put some of that together.  Mr. Liedka said that he did a good job.  Mr. Knapp agreed.  


The committee viewed the video was again.  Chair Rapp said that it was very nice and asked if it took 18 months to develop.  Mr. Holder said that it was actually longer.  Chair Rapp said that at the end of the video they saw the SYR airport code in the bright colors.  They didn’t want to get rid of the bright colors.  Everyone remembers the old rendition with the chalkboards; people left the meeting being less than inspired.  Mr. Holder said that they have shown this to a few organizations and the SCVB Strategic Advisory Board and the input has been overwhelmingly positive. 



  • People gravitate to how simple and modern the logo is, has joints they can use to create connections, very excited about where it is going and where they can take it
  • Adaptable for other organizations and businesses to use, i.e. Mr. Tripoli of OHA idea - can’t spell history without




  • Releasing logo tomorrow, everyone going home with flash drive of brand content, available for use by all; will see it being more impactful
  • Hospitality training for frontline on how to think about the destination in a different way, no longer about going in and talking about all the things here, now all about the customers experience – Do Your Thing message, what they want and how we can service them


Chair Rapp said that she could not be happier.  It was rough going through as they began to think that it was never going to work.  There was a reason they did not have a logo, to try to capture the emotion of the place and not just the details, the sizzle not the steak.  The airport code is universal, people know what you are talking about and they didn’t lose the bright colors that provide the vibrancy.


        b.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity for use by the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau ($87,500)


A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


The meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM.                                      


Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French


Onondaga County Legislature





* * *







MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Holmquist, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. Jordan, 1Mr. May

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Ms. Williams 

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Ryan, see also attached list


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.


A motion was made by Mrs. Williams, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.





        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity for use by the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau ($87,500)


        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs ($158,131)

3.     HEALTH:

        a.     Transfer of Funds from Medical Examiner Acct 330501; Reg. Salaries 641010 ($90,000) and Employee Benefits 6912000 ($45,000) to Medical Examiner 330501, Professional Services 664800 ($135,000)

        b.     A Local Law Relating to Certain Fees Collected by the Onondaga County Health Department

        c.     Authorizing the Establishment of a Petty Cash Fund to be used by the Health Department Bureau of Disease Control for the Purpose of Making and Providing Change ($300)


        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Provide Funds Needed to Implement Necessary Infrastructure Improvements to NBT Bank Stadium ($52,929)

        b.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Provide Funding for Expansion at the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery ($20,350)


        a.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($30,000)

        b.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($50,000)

        c.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from New York State Empire State Development Corporation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($960,000)

        d.     Authorizing Acceptance of Grant Funds from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Authorizing Execution of Grant Agreements to Implement the Intent of this Resolution ($1,800,000)


A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the items on the consent agenda.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.



1.     COUNTY CLERK:  Chris Plochocki, Deputy County Clerk

        a.     Authorizing Reimbursement for 2015 Expenses of the Recording Officer for the County of Onondaga for Administration of Mortgage Taxes


  • NYS reimbursement for salaries and other expenses related to the collection and distribution of mortgage tax
  • Pursuant to Section 262 of NYS Tax Law
  • $691,802 total reimbursement


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     FINANCE - REAL PROPERTY TAX:  Don Weber, Director

        a.     Approving and Directing the Correction of Certain Errors on Tax Bills


  • Approve errors to tax bills greater than $2,500
  • 4 this year so far:
    • School tax payment applied to wrong parcel
    • Approx. $40k water charge levied by the town in error
    • Sewer Unit charge placed on incorrect parcel
    • Tully - Duplicate tax bill – one parcel received two tax bills


 In answer to Chairman Knapp about the Tully parcels; Mr. Weber indicated that no refunds are owed--no double payments.  It is just getting rid of the charge.  It was a parcel that split parcel 1 from parcels 2 & 3, and the assessor never deleted parcel 1.


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Holmquist to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


3.     CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICESDavid Sutkowy, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget and Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement for the Purposes of Implementing a Grant from New York State to Support Projects Related to Promoting Discipline within the Syracuse City School District ($2,000,000)

  • Grant received last year – Assemblyman Magnarelli sponsored legislation to provide Onon. Co. with $2 million to support services in conjunction with City School District
  • Monies included in 2015 budget submitted and approved by the County Legislature
  • Because it is an intergovernmental agreement between the State and County, it was determined that best practices required bringing it individually to the attention of the County Legislature

Mr. Holmquist asked if the County was selected because it can better administer the funds than the school district.  Mr. Sutkowy said that the school district’s stock and trade is academics.  The County is involved more in supportive areas.  It was felt that this partnership would be better. 


Chairman Knapp asked how it is being implemented logistically.  Mr. Sutkowy said that the County has contracted with Coordinated Care Services, Inc.  They are hiring the staff, which will work for them – they are not on county payroll.  In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Sutkowy said that here is no additional cost to the county for implementation.  If the grant goes away; that is the end of it.


Mr. Jordan asked if this is a grant to set up a program for disciplinary actions.  Mr. Sutkowy said that there are so many kids across the county struggling academically – it is attendance issues, behavior issues – all impacting their academic performance.  It is designed to provide non-academic support to address behavior that the kids are exhibiting in the classroom and school environment, which is interrupting their ability to learn.  Each school district now has a functioning team; this staff member is a member of that team.  They work together with teachers and administrators to identify students that are having problems, connecting them with a member of the team, addressing the family or individual behavior.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


4.     HEALTHKristi Smiley, Administrative Officer, Financial Operations

        a.     Create R.P. 01 404300 8225, Research Technician 1, Grade 9, $44,522-$49,246 Effective March 7, 2015

  • Fully grant funded for Immunization Action Plan
  • Work is currently being done by an Admin. Intern whose 18 months is coming to an end for that position.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Ms. Smiley said that it is a multi-year grant and anticipate getting it again.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


5.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTJoe Rinefierd, Director

        a.     Amending 2015 Budget to Accept Homeland Security Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, and Authorize the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($110,000)

  • Increases in grant funding–had set the dollar amount at the beginning of the year and received more than anticipated
  • Maintains the Regional HazMat Response Plan--includes Onondaga, Oswego, Madison Counties & City of Syr.
  • Increases in grant (5a, 5b) doubled the amount of money that was in the budget


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Accept Funds from the New York State Emergency Response Commission for use by Onon.  County Local Emergency Planning Committees ($6,871)

  • Planning for hazardous materials – LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee)

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


6.     ONONDAGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:  Susan Mitchell, Executive Director

        a.     Create R.P. 01 406500 8226, Admin. Director (OCPL), Gr. 35, $75,402-$97,534 Eff. March 3, 2015; Abolish R.P. 01 406500 5946, Dir. or of Admin. Svcs., Gr. 33, $62,755-$81,175, Eff. March 3, 2015

  • Combining  Director of Internal Services and Director of Administrative Services positions
  • Due to consolidation of units in Personnel, Budget, and Facilities Management
  • Combining 2 positions – the other will go to the County as part of the consolidation


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


        b.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available to Onondaga County Public Library to Retain a Reserve for Improvements and Emergency Repairs to the Branch Libraries ($30,000)

  • $30k put into contingency during the budget process
  • Want to move it to OCPL’s regular budget – need to have money available
  • Have several upcoming projects and emergency repairs – had a $1,600 repair at Beachump—rain garden backing up, and $1,100 to replace their security camera; plan to do lead paint abatement at Beachump


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Knapp asked for an update on construction.  Ms. Mitchell said that the leases should be signed this week between Upstate and the Galleries.  The bid documents are being prepared to go out for the construction piece in the next couple of weeks – should be able to start renovation pretty quickly.  They will be starting with the 3rd floor, because of closing the 4th and 5th floors, they have to get history and genealogy off of the 5th floor and are trying to do it the safest way possible to preserve those materials.  They are trying to do it in one move so that nothing ends up in storage or in a location that wouldn’t be secure.  They are ready to move forward, and also have four branch projects that they will be working in the next year and a half.


Mr. Jordan asked if there are any updates on tenants moving in.  Ms. Mitchell said that they were going to move in at the same time.  Now, part are going to move in a year from now, and about 6 months later another group will move in on the 4th floor.  The 5th floor will go first.


Chairman Knapp asked if there is very much construction that they have to do.  Ms. Mitchell said it starts with a “vanilla box” – tearing a lot of things out and then they pay for any construction that they then want beyond the white walls and fresh carpet.


7.     CNY ARTSGeorge Nardone, Board Member

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available to CNY Arts for Distribution to Musical Associates of Central New York, Inc. ($68,750)

  • Requesting additional funds being made available to Musical Associates of Central New York (Symphoria)
  • Performances will increase for the next year--have more people attending events this year than last – close to 5%
  • Reaching out to the next generation of music lovers
  • They get grant funding for any reach out that they do – individuals in physical need, Healing Harmonies, or schools


1Mr. May arrived at the meeting.


Mrs. Ervin said that she has enjoyed watching what has been happening with Symphoria and feels everything is going in the right direction.  Mr. May said that he has also, and strongly urged looking in the direction of an authorized agency of the County as opposed to a ROT funding scenario, because it is obviously working and things are going great.  Mr. Nardone said that people have worked hard; Ms. Underhill has done an outstanding job and believes will continue to do so.


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  AYES:  4 (Knapp, Jordan, Holmquist, Ervin); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.


8.     ONONDAGA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION:  Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director

        a.     Amending the 2015 County Budget to Make Surplus Room Occupancy Funding Available for Use in Support to the Skä Noñh – Great Law of Peace Center ($100,000)

  • Request for $100k appropriation from surplus ROT to construct the Great Law of Peace Center
  • Have been through 2 years of development and planning
  • A $500k project - County appropriated $150k towards it, OHA raised all of the rest
  • This is the final phase for construction - asking for 20% of the cost; have raised the other 80%.
  • County-owned facility - underutilized in Onondaga Lake Park
  • No intention of coming to the County for operating funds – designed to be self-sustaining.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Tripoli said that blue prints were developed by King & King Architects; Exhibits & More did the exhibit design – both are local firms.  The content narrative and art selection is complete.


Chairman Knapp asked if the tenant, Soil & Water, will be able to keep their space upstairs.  Mr. Tripoli said that they will; have worked very well with them and it has been a great partnership.


A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


9.     HUMAN RIGHTS:  

        a.     Amend 2015 County Budget and Provide for Various Personnel Changes Related to the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights ($167,186) (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Chairman Knapp noted that there is a replacement resolution.


Chairman McMahon:

  • In the budget process, it was anticipated to pass the Jail Oversight Committee
  • At that time, the Law Department recommended that the legislature reconsider reinstating the Human Rights Commission for various legal reasons
  • Money was put aside in contingency
  • There was confusion as to whether the Jail Oversight Director was going to be an additional position to the Human Rights Commission, which was not the intention -- that position was eliminated
  • This resolution creates the Human Rights Commissioner position, transfers a position from Personnel
  • The Human Rights Commissioner will oversee the Jail Oversight Committee
  • He looked at the grade, as it seemed rich at first; after looking at past practice, the grade always was a 36


Mr. May noted that the numbers are less in the revised resolution.  Chairman McMahon explained that it is because there was a second position in the original resolution.  There is now a creation of one position and transferring another position from Personnel.  Mr. May asked if there is a corresponding abolish in Personnel Dept.  Chairman McMahon said that it is a transfer.


Mr. Holmquist said that when Human Rights Department was abolished several years ago, one of the rationales were that there was duplication of services and the State has a similar department.  He asked if the rules and responsibilities were addressed during any of this.  Chairman McMahon said that it was; the understanding from Mr. Cuffy was that we were falling short in various degrees of responsibility and the position never should have been abolished.  This was an opportunity because the Jail Oversight Director will bring that back on top of other responsibilities.


Mr. Holmquist said that the committee has not been selected, and asked if this is the first step.  Chairman McMahon agreed.  Nine months are allowed from passage of the legislation to put forward the committee members.  This position needs to be confirmed by the legislature; assumes the executive branch would start an application process and interview candidates.  The legislature can start internally looking at board member candidates at any time – has received resumes.  The legislature has picks, and the county executive has picks – it is a 9 member board and thinks the legislature has 5 picks. 


Mrs. Ervin said that Human Rights Commission is separate from jail monitoring.  Chairman McMahon agreed, but noted that this position will be the director for that board. 


A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Holmquist, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


10.   PURCHASE, DIVISION OF:  Sean Carroll, Director

        a.     Revenue Contract Report

  • No revenue contracts to report on


Revenue contract report

  • Chairman Knapp asked him to attend to give an update on a couple of topics

Electronic Signature & Best Value:

    • Will be coming back to Ways & Means Committee to report on it when the technology/methodology is lined up

              Best Value - draft copies of material passed around the committee members

  • Looking at it from a math approach, and making sure that criteria has been identified up front
  • Make sure it is fair to all vendors
  • Scoring system easy to understand – percentage or point process
  • Beginning phase – thinking about which criteria to use – some criteria are easier to quantify than others


Chairman Knapp said that the criteria would be quite different depending on what the bid is.  Mr. Carroll agreed.  The approach has been having a standard set of criteria, and be available to add criteria as they go forward.  They want to stay true to the commitment that it is a public bid and all vendors are judged by what is on the paper.


Mr. Holmquist said that when there is a final document, it would be interesting to see it before committee--to have some time to review before coming to the meeting.  Mr. Carroll agreed.  Mr. Holmquist referred to “environmentally preferred purchasing (on the draft document of criteria) – it sounds subjective, but is sure that specific things can be quantified.  Mr. Carroll said they are wrestling with how to quantify it.  The County has an environmentally preferable purchasing directive – the questions are:  do you use Green Seal for cleaning supplies; how do you have an independent 3rd party review of who gets the point; how do you standardize those things?  The expectation is to share all the information with the committee when finalized.  Mr. Holmquist said that it is important, as most members are not environmental experts, to get the information in advance.  Mr. Carroll agreed – there are potentially 25 criteria, environmental being one of them; they are trying to put each criteria through a process to identify the ability to standardize evaluation.  The office is doing a very formal vetting process to come up with a strategy for that.


Mr. May said that sometimes environmental issues or environmental goals are not cost effective, but are in keeping with environmental strategies.  He would hate to see a purchasing program have criteria that are almost counterproductive to finding value.  Mr. Carroll said that picking a subject to get staff’s head around is a good place to start.  The purpose of the document was to start a process on how to do a score.


Mr. Holmquist referred to the 25 criteria.  It seems that best value is inherently subjective – what is the definition of best value; what is the priority in terms of financial vs. environmental.  Mr. Carroll said that he thinks financial will remain the driving force; the price on the product will remain a priority.  If he can get a 10 year warrantee, instead of a 2 years warrantee on some products, there is a real benefit to that.  On other products, warrantee doesn’t matter.  Warrantee, energy performance, financial, technical merit – criteria they are wading through – attempting to figure out how to standardize them, which can be made accessible, how to prioritize them, and when to deploy them.  They are working through them and will absolutely come back to report on them.  Mr. Holmquist said that he appreciates the position Mr. Carroll is in, and the difficult job ahead, as long as Mr. Carroll appreciates that when he comes up with his conclusions, that the committee needs some time to vet it and have some due diligence to be able to wade through all the work that Mr. Carroll did.  Chairman Knapp noted that he had just asked Mr. Carroll last Friday to provide and update on this topic today.


Chairman Knapp referred to the revenue contract concerning county parking facilities.  The County ran them for awhile, but it was the wish of the legislature for professionals to run them--they could do it better.  The legislature recommended that the services be bid out, which Mr. Carroll and his team did.  A contract has been awarded, and there has been some concern about the award, brought up by the Comptroller’s office.  He wants to have a discussion today about the procedure, thought process, how the award was made, and how it was analyzed.  It warrants going into executive session.  Mrs. Berger felt that the entire discussion should not be in executive session.  Discussion related to policy and processes should be an open discussion, but discussing actual financial issues or matters related to the employment of particular person in a corporation would be safe in executive session.


Chairman Knapp said that it certainly does include one individual in particular, and financial information, wherein if it were re-bid, having the information on the record would be detrimental to the county’s position in putting out the contract.


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session for the limited purpose of discussion matters leading to the appointment and employment of a particular person or corporation related to the provision of parking lot management services to the County under contract.  Mr. May seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Ms. Berger said that the body can designate who they would like to stay for executive session.  Chairman Knapp included the director of Purchasing, the Comptroller, and his staff to stay for the executive session discussion.


The committee entered executive session at 9:30 a.m.


A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. May, to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature











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