header graphic
Connect with Onondaga County Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On X (Twitter) Watch Us On Youtube
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:  Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jordan, *Mr. Holmquist

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chair May called the meeting to order at 12:04 P.M.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee


*Mr. Holmquist arrived at the meeting.



1.    EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:  Daniel Wears, Commissioner

       a.     Transfer from Emergency Management, Account 641010 Regular Employee Salaries, to Emergency Management, Account 693000 Supplies and Materials, $43,000

Mr. Wears presented the following:

  • Propose using salary savings from vacant positions for one-time expenditures
Emerg Mngmt list

Mr. Dougherty asked the number of CPR cards.  Mr. Wears said that they cost about $2.00 each.  Mr.  Dougherty said that there was roughly 4,000.  Mr. Wears agreed, adding that they have already sold about that many this year and the number will increase for 2016.


  • Central storage improves office efficiency; personal protective equipment required


In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Wears confirmed that this was a one-time transfer - felt it was better to use salary savings, rather than requesting additional funds during budget. 


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


Chair May asked that Mr. Wear return after the budget process to update the committee.  Mr. Wears said he would be happy do so.


2.    SHERIFF:  Chief Ken Andrews; Sheriff Eugene Conway

       a.    2015 Overtime Transfer:

              Transfer from Sheriff’s Office, Account 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office, Account 641020 Overtime Wages, $1,750,000

Chief Andrews:

Distributed packet of material (On file with Clerk) showing progress made in projected overtime and 3-year replacement plan



  • First request was for full release of contingency funds


Chair May clarified that the Sheriff’s department is projecting to be over budget by $109,930, with $735,025 being the projected overage for custody overtime. 


Entire overtime amount needed, continue to work at reducing the number; resolution proposes release of $1,750,000 - will be back to request remaining balance


Mr. Dougherty said that they are asking for release of contingency funds.  This is not new money, and is a separate issue from the overtime.   Chair May said that $2.25 million is budgeted for overtime in the Sheriff’s department.  Mr. Dougherty said he wanted to make sure nothing changed.  He does not want to muddy this with the overtime issues still being worked through.  Chair May said that they are holding back a little to provide flexibility for yearend changes - release is not the question.  The overtime number was north of one million dollars about four months into the year.  They are in a good spot compared to where they started.


Mr. Dougherty said that he hopes that they discontinue the use of contingency funds when preparing the 2016 budget - does not feel that it worked and is another drain on the time spent by the Sheriff’s department.  Chief Andrew said that they would come over and talk anytime. 


Mr. Holmquist said that the Sheriff and his team have done an outstanding job.  They inherited a big mess on multiple fronts and the contingency funds were put in place because the legislature needed accountability.  He agrees that this department has demonstrated that they are on board with the Legislature.  They are doing a great job and have taken on a huge undertaking that will not be fixed in one year.  It is very complicated with multi-layers and many issues are ahead for the department.  It is refreshing to see the Sheriff’s department and Legislature working collaboratively and it would be nice to have this type of open dialogue and trust with every department.


Mr. Ryan said that the working relationship has come a long way.  The contingency notation was born out of a different set of circumstances but he wants to make sure that the ongoing dialogue continues.  He wants to be advised of any changes or projected overruns as they are talking about a very big budget and he wants to insure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.  To Mr. Holmquist’s point there are many moving factors, over-crowding being one.  There are 15 million reasons as to why they are in trouble there.   He is not a proponent of begging for dollars but if they must do this to keep the dialogue open then they will have to do so.  They are going in the right direction but this is a big department with a lot of money and big overages. 


Mr. Ryan asked if they had anything further to add to last month’s discussion regarding other moves made to help defer overtime costs.  Chief Andrews said that they have implemented changes to the constant watch and are making physical changes to the jail to create safe cells.  As the changes are implemented more constant watches will move to frequent checks – going from 4 to 1 watch to every 15-minute checks.  These changes, along with administrative changes previously discussed, will make a difference.  They are reviewing arbitration decisions to ensure the administration is making full use, e.g., number of people allowed off at the same time.  The benefit of these types of changes can be seen in the overtime projection – dropped $235,000.  Mr. Ryan said that the amount is significant but this will take some time.  For the record, he wants it noted that they are continuing to talk about this.  The items put in place by the Sheriff’s department are moving them in the right direction – something that the previous administration was apparently not doing.  Many of the changes made will not have immediate return, e.g., may need another quarter to see benefit of admin changes. 


Mr. Dougherty said that the saving was realized late in the year and asked if it would carry forward to next year.  Sheriff Conway said that it would - some savings are operational, others are administrative policy moves.  The results of changes implemented to operations are starting to show in many ways, not just money savings.  They are far from where they want to be, still have things to work on and some are contractual – need to leave with agreements in place.  Both he and the undersheriff are confident the saving will continue but more importantly, they are trying to instill a new mindset about their mission and what is most important.  Mr. Dougherty said that this was encouraging to hear.  Chair May said that policy changes would carry forward and more than compensate for the one-hits that resulted in the $233,000 savings.


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


        b.     2015 Vehicle Transfer:

               Transfer from Sheriff’s Office, Account 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office, Account 671500 Automotive Equipment, 


               Transfer from Sheriff’s Office, Account 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office, Account 693000 Supplies and Materials,  



  • Requested all additional funding be released for 16 scheduled vehicles



  • Part of 3-yr plan previously presented, prudent approach, asking for 24 cars in 2016, then 25 cars per/yr. - minimum need for fleet maintenance
  • Used capital plan for 1st round of cars, asking for remainder – leadership has proposed half of what they are asking for in equipment and supplies for the vehicles




Propose release of $209,234 for automotive equipment, reducing original request by projected shortage of $109,930 and $65,383 for supplies and materials – budget neutral; leaves them 4 cars short, can look at other funding sources to finish request, e.g., STOP DWI

Want to enter 2016 budget just looking for 24 vehicles – important to shore up fleet and get cars ordered


Sheriff Conway reiterated that vehicles are the core of law enforcement.  They have with a viable plan to bring them to a reasonable yearly request for vehicle replacement.  As promised, he implemented a more restrictive policy on take home vehicles.  Since taking office 7 cars have been eliminated from take-home and they received one grievance.  They are not where they want to be and are trying to live with contractual language.  He is confident that the number will be double digits by yearend.  Whether approved today or next August vehicles will be required for the Sheriff’s office.  If approved today, it will beyond January 1 before the vehicles are in service.  He is also confident that the projected overage will decrease by yearend, as each day they discuss ways to reduce costs.  Vehicles discussed today are needed for all units and he too requests the full release of funds minus the projected overage. 


In answer to Mr. Dougherty, Sheriff Conway said that just under 200 vehicles are in the fleet and about 70 were take-home, with the majority being contractual.  The take-home policy has been revised and is in place restricting vehicle use.  Chief Andrews said that as officers retire their replacements are not contractually guaranteed a car.  This is working in their favor however; they are seeing a loss of experience  


Mr. Ryan said that take-home vehicles were not covered under one collective bargaining agreement.  Whether management or management confidential he never saw a need for take-home vehicles.  As with the overtime, it was good to hear that they are making changes within the administration and confines of the collective agreements.  He is a little apprehensive to add more money to the request with just 7 vehicles eliminated from take-home and believes they have a long way to go.  For years, vehicles were taken home unnecessarily, putting a tremendous expense on the County as shown in the comptroller’s audit for all departments.  Sheriff Conway said that he was not asking simply because they wanted more vehicles.  They have been assessing the situation and are accountable for vehicle use beyond the normal course of the day.  There are times when it is beneficial for an officer to respond with a car.  The reduction of take-home vehicles, along with the take-home use policy, leaves the remaining vehicles necessary and they need to be good service vehicles.  Mr. Ryan said that this was all he could ask for.


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Sheriff Conway said that take-home vehicles were not part of the negotiations with the DSB.  Most are transport vehicles used in the normal course of the day – two primary vehicles are covered under the captain’s agreement.  Mr. Ryan said that the captain’s agreement was part of PERB ruling they received years ago.  Chief Andrews said that the grievance came from there.


Mr. Dougherty said that any progress was good and the fact that it would get better was very encouraging.  He would expect that Sheriff’s leadership and positions expected to travel to crime scenes from home would continue to have take-home cars.  No one expects them to get to zero and he was happy to hear that they are making the right steps to reduce the number without being sued.  Chair May added that they should half expect that bargaining away this privilege might cost them money.  Mr. Dougherty said that it was an employee benefit and they can expect to pay for it.


In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Chief Andrews confirmed that the Sheriff’s proposal would leave them on budget with their projections.  Mr. Holmquist asked if the Chair was considering multiple resolutions today.  Chair May said that he was not going to defend the resolution on the agenda.  It was a measure to get something through this month.  He does not speak for others but believes everyone accepts the need for more cars and the condition of some cars used.  No one wants to see that going forward.  The resolution logistically frees up enough money to order some cars and at the same time explore alternative funding sources.  It is not by any stretch of the imagination what the legislature is willing to do – just keeps the department moving in the right direction.  He does not have a problem adjusting the numbers but they may have to adjust them again as they need to be on budget to use some of the funds.  In the last two months, great things have happened in the Sheriff’s department and the $109 number could go up or down a little bit.   Since the past committee meeting, he has been going back and forth between Law, Sue Stanczyk, Chief Andrews and the leadership to get to this point and has learned that the number will likely change again.  Ways and Means is on Friday and he wants to be comfortable with the number pushed forward as Ways and Means will have to confirm whatever they do today.  For the record, this is the last time that he wants to deal with these concerns for 2015.  They have been dealing with these struggles since the day he started at the legislature.  To the department’s credit, things are moving in a positive direction and he wants 2016 to be a straightforward budget process – looking at 24 to 25 vehicles from an operating standpoint and eliminating some of the tedious discussion.


Mr. Holmquist said that the resolutions would be identical except for the dollar amount.  He would guess that 2015 would be the year of transition and going forward they will not have to be that micro.  Chair May said that the dollar amounts are different today but by yearend, they should have appropriated money in one form or another to purchase all the cars requested.  Then moving forward they will have a capital plan for the vehicles.


Mr. Dougherty said that the projection was difficult to swallow but was much worse when the year started and was not bad given the size of the entire budget.  They have been talking about buying these cars for a year and he would like to approve the Sheriff’s proposed resolution.  Ms. Berger said that they would have to make a motion to amend the current resolution.  The committee continued to discuss the options.  Chair May said that they could change the resolution at Ways and Means but it was very important to have whatever they do passed and supported. 


In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chief Andrews said that the amount for supplies and materials relates to the equipment needed for the cars purchased. 


The committee continued to discuss the options.  Chair May said that Law and Ms. Stanczyk are still looking into things.  He would prefer that Mr. Ryan and he get full support from both caucuses, prior to Ways and Means, for all the reasons previously stated.  The timeframe would remain the same.  Mr. Holmquist said that when presenting the information to the caucuses they should note that everyone is on the same page.  In over 10 years, he does not remember the previous Sheriff physically coming before Public Safety, which has to account for a lot.  Mr. Dougherty agreed.  Mr. Holmquist said that there has to be a level of trust that enables the department to do their job for 2016 with continued communications from Chief Andrews to the committee. 

In answer to Chief Andrews, Chair May said that if the caucuses agree they would adjust the numbers to reflect the agreement at Ways & Means – cannot guarantee the numbers will can but would like to pursue it.


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


Mr. Holmquist said that he wished they did this to other county departments.  Mr. Jordan noted that budget was coming up.  Mr. Dougherty said that this was leftover from a previous administration and he hopes they understand this going forward.


Sheriff Conway asked if they had any questions for him.  Chair May asked how things were going.  Sheriff Conway:

  • Things are going very well; swearing in 18 new police deputies Thursday evening at Town of Onondaga Town Hall
  • Academy to begin on Monday - City not forecast to hire, County holding academy with other town and village police departments assisting with instruction, open to other agencies, expect class of 30 police deputies
  • Several retirements at line level and a couple at supervisory level, speaks to the 18 police deputies, met with all and appear to be good candidates; 1 deputy likely to move directly to field training officer program without going to academy – received academy training in other places
  • Onondaga Town Hall used for convenience, attendees won’t pay to park; everyone welcome, 7:00 P.M.; going forward will consider other locations for other ceremonies outside of the city
  • Last custody group graduated and completed FTO program now “on their own” and doing well; spent a couple hours at Justice Center Sunday morning, try get there at least once over every holiday weekend - communicate and discuss matters with them, working out of contract, trying to facilitate contract and manage jail operations
  • Had amphitheater detail, will have presence at After Action Meeting on Thursday, he and Undersheriff Cassalia were present to ensure their involvement went smoothly
  • World Lacrosse Tournament next event, attended meetings with other city and federal agencies, much larger commitment, 10 days/various locations, many teams from various parts of the world, significant security concerns, estimated costs presented to County Executive’s office – not planned for in 2015 budget, will significantly impact overtime, confident they will receive assistance 

Mr. Dougherty said that he heard from a deputy that firearm training happens at rented facilities around the county and was getting more difficult as the facilities themselves were having difficulty keeping their members out while the department trained.  He asked if there was any hope that the County would use a County owned facility to do this in the future.  Sheriff Conway said that he believes Mr. Dougherty was speaking to the Elbridge Rod and Country Club and he has been told that they pay a daily or half-day rental fee, depending on usage.  He has asked for the past number of days committed to renting the facility and if the maximum number of people were attending – wants to ensure maximum use of all spots available.  During his campaign, he heard concerns about over use of Elbridge.  He comes from a Dewitt agency that had the use of the Jamesville Quarry and over the 12 years, heard concerns from those neighbors.  Firearms training is a very difficult balance for all agencies as there are sound issues.  A significant number of deputies work at night and it is important that they are proficient with their firearms. It is more complicated to find a range in the evening.  He has talked to other federal agencies but by in large what they are trying to do is get as many agencies as possible to find a common site that can be used, while not over abusing it.


Mr. Dougherty said that his question was beyond that.  The Syracuse Police have similar problems and he questions if the County owns land that could be used as a permanent facility for firearm and SWAT training – might save money, allow for day/night training and the building of items for SWAT or specialized training.  Sheriff Conway said that he has looked into this over the years.  He had the ability to use the Jamesville Quarry and immediately had new friends because they wanted to use the facility. They tried to work with everyone but got into over use and neighbors complained.  There has to be a balance of use but the bigger picture is to find the site.  Once found, they will run into environmental concerns because of the lead fired.  Other entities will be asking for remediation/capture plans for the site.  His goal would be to find a common area that would be somewhat cost free and accommodate all agencies in Onondaga County.  Mr. Dougherty said that if the County took the lead, they might be able to rent the facility to other town and village departments.  Sheriff Conway said that years ago the 174th built an outdoor range, allowed others use and quickly had to stop because they had so much lead.  They continue to look for this type of situation. 


       c.  A Local Law Regarding Home Health Aides in Onondaga County, and Repealing Local Law No. 4-1991

Chief Andrews:

  • Formerly supplied background checks for 43 Home Health Aide Agencies, NYS passed a law and now provides services for 42 agencies, 1 agency still goes through Onondaga County - burden to department, want NYS to take over all 43 agencies; no financial impact


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


Mr. Ryan asked the number of people currently providing this service.  Chief Andrews said that the person providing the service works in the records department and does alarm enforcement and other things.  Mr. Ryan said that this could not be a lot of work.  Chief Andrews agreed saying that it was a nuisance and they should let NYS have it since they took the lead.


The meeting adjourned at 1:07 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature



* * *



MEMBERS PRESENT:   Mr. Liedka, Mr. Knapp, 1Mr. Burtis

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Plochocki

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list


Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:008 a.m. and noted that the agenda would be taken out of order.


A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to waive the reading of the proceedings from the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Liedka, seconded by Mr. Knapp, to approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 


3.     CENTERSTATE CEO:  Deb Warner, Vice Pres, Public Policy & Gov Relations; Lawrence Brinker, Esq., Exec Dir NUAIR

          a.     Informational:  NUAIR UAS Testing Site and Industry Update

Ms. Warner:

  • Thanked committee for opportunity to talk about NUAIR and the opportunity unmanned air systems (UAS) has for NYS and our region - started in 2011, heard Congress was designating 6 test sites for UAS research and to open the market in the US
  • Other parts of the world are ahead of the US - Europe has used UAS for 20 years in agriculture, US has a ways to go with a huge market
  • Introduced Mr. Brinker, General Counsel and Executive Director of NUAIR Alliance


In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Brinker said that NUAIR stood for The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance.  It is the new wave of aviation. 


Mr. Brinker played a video https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9iIUwUSsV7-ZEZIajBLTjgwc1E/view?pli=1 introduction and then presented the following:

Nuair     Nuair

  • Collage of aircraft being tested at Griffiss and other areas, includes MQ-9 from Hancock
  • 174th Attack Wing large part of NUAIR Alliance to gain civil flight authority for the MG-9

Nuair     Nuair

  • Test site operations began last year for all 6 sites, produce information to support FAA’s efforts to produce rules and regulations to govern use of UAS in national air spaces


Nuair     Nuair


  • Griffiss is main testing site, huge area, great for testing large and small UAV’s, focus has been on small UAV’s because they are leading the industry and the largest annoyance
  • Partnered with MA and MI - working together as one test site; images of various facilities in the northeast


Nuair     Nuair


  • European name more accurately describes how the technology is used, piloted operation - human just not in the aircraft
  • Will be seamless integration of UAS flying side by side with manned systems

Nuair     Nuair


  • 52 applications for test sites, 25 qualified, existing infrastructure and airspace part of the reason they were chosen – 174th operating UAS for almost a decade and Air Force training facility for MQ-9’s
  • Partnered with Air Force Research Lab in Rome – operating UAS in testing capacity for several years


Nuair     Nuair


  • 1st collaborative effort with Rome lab involves flying multiple small UAV’s at the same time 
  • Partial list of private sector partners – over 90 partners


Nuair     Nuair


  • UAS technology will improve human potential – widespread use in US once regulatory framework is in place for seamless commercial operations

Nuair     Nuair


  • NUAIR is a not-for-profit collection of subject matter experts that promote the growth of private sector companies and academic research and development
  • Named test site end of 2013, declared operational August 2014


Nuair     Nuair


1Mr. Burtis arrived at the meeting.

  • Low flight allows under and topside coating of leaves, RMAX recently approved to operate in US, discussed bringing to CNY to assist with mosquito abatement, highly accurate spray pattern to 1 square centimeter


Nuair      Nuair

  • 1st test conducted in Batavia area in cooperation with Cornell University, Precisionhawk Lancaster used for crop management, almost all autonomous, pilot simply programs and launches, takes over if needed - flies to center of field, orbits a few times for orientation, flies to corner of field, makes down pass and lands at operators feet, farmer uses data to decide where to water, fertilize, etc.; anticipate first large way of UAS commercial use will be agricultural


Nuair     Nuair


  • MIT/Harvard students part of partnership, recently delivered medicine to remote area of VA
  • Huge amount of private investment going into development of UAS

Chair Rapp asked if the Solara would be used as a satellite to provide internet service.  Mr. Brinker said that it was a solar powered craft with a package on board that could provide internet service.  It will not be a traditional stationary satellite.  It will move around in various areas and was designed to operate above 60,000 feet.  He noted that Google got into a bidding war with Facebook to purchase the company that developed the technology.  Ms. Warner said that Facebook purchased another company so there is competition.


Nuair     Nuair 

  • Developing small “Star Wars-R2D2” to turn manned helicopter into unmanned, “R2D2” completely operates aircraft - pilot on board as safety pilot

Nuair       Nuair


Ms. Warner said that currently they are only test site with this capability.  It is a demonstration project and they are hoping that it will open the market for SRC and Saab Sensis.

  • Received $4M NYS grant to install state of the art devices for radar and multilateration sensing devices
  • Griffiss to be test bed for range instrumentation, could serve as model for airports as protective resource – expect system to detect and alert air traffic control of uncooperative aircraft, both manned and unmanned, advance notice will allow controller to maneuver around uncooperative aircraft

Nuair          Nuair


  • Lockheed Martin converted K-MAX to UAV heavy lift system, proven to work in Afghanistan, now promoting as commercial asset; tested firefighting capabilities last November, performed so well assembly line reopening to build 6 more, Dept. of Interior demonstrating next month; K-MAX practicing at Griffiss today

In answer to Chair Rapp, Mr. Brinker said that the K-MAX could be used for firefighting, insertion and extraction.  It can lift 6,000 pounds and is the only UAV with that capability.  Ms. Warner said that it could be used in natural disasters and has dropped ATV’s.  Mr. Brinker said that Lockheed Martin also has a UAV product called Indago.  In the firefighting test, the Indago served as the bird dog, found the hot spot and the K-MAX put the fire out.  It has enormous capability for natural disasters.


Ms. Warner said that Lockheed Martin’s national headquarters for UAS is located in Owego and all their UAS activity reports to Owego and coordinates with Salina.

  • Must comply with all FAA regulations or obtain exemption waiver to fly; notice of Part 107 rule change issued in February, pertains to regulation of UAV’s 55 lbs. or less, FAA received 45k comments and must review all before final rule publication; Section 333 Exemption only way to operate commercial UAS without wavier, public entities obtain Certificate of Authorization (COA) – used by test site for operation; FAA cracking down on hobbyist operating in unsafe manner

Nuair     Nuair


  • Check website for clear and concise flying regulations and updates
  • Largest UAS show in the NE, expect 300 participants


Nuair     Nuair


  • Image of Indago operating while C-5 is landing at Griffiss, coordinated by air traffic control - 1st test flight of large UAS
  • Image of Centaur - 4 passenger general aircraft converted to UAS

Mr. Liedka asked the advantage of computer operations for large aircrafts with a pilot is on board.  Mr. Brinker said that it replaces one pilot and helps with fatigue as the pilot is not working as hard. 


Nuair     Nuair

Chair Rapp said that the presentation was great and asked what they were proposing for the Governor’s $500 Million Economic Development Initiative.  Mr. Brinker said that it was a multipronged approach to robotic transportation in the macro since.  UAV’s have been leading the charge but unmanned ground and maritime vehicles are not far behind.  Currently unmanned transportation is 80% aerial.  Ms. Warner said that the proposal is a work in progress.  Mr. Brinker agreed.  Chair Rapp said that this region has a critical mass of companies that are leagues ahead of others in the country.  Mr. Brinker agreed, adding that NUAIR was just awarded a contract from NASA for their UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program.  It will be the air traffic control system from 400 feet and below, e.g., keep Amazon package drone from running into Domino’s Pizza delivery drone.  SRC and Saab Sensis are two of the leading companies in the world for aircraft traffic management and will be part of their application.  The application will also include robotic transportation, building off from what they have, and will be very strong because of their base. 


Chair Rapp said that this area has a history of development for these items with the army.  Mr. Brinker said that the Lockheed product was evidence of this.  The military has had UAS in use for more than a decade.  Department of Defense contractors are now looking for ways to morph their systems into civil and commercial use.  In addition, the 174th will be launching the MQ-9 from Hancock before yearend.  The MQ-9 will then be able to respond to natural disasters and emergencies.  After 9-11 they could have been restored the entire downstate cellphone system within a matter of hours, if they had the authority to use the MQ-9 in a civil capacity at that time.  This is where the future is going and what is happening now in Syracuse. 


Chair Rapp said that this was like a “Wild West” opportunity.  Mr. Brinker agreed, adding that the FAA has issued about 1,500 Section 333 exemptions nationally.  That is 1,500 new businesses and the demand keeps growing - FAA estimates processing 200 exemptions per week. 


Mr. Knapp asked if there was technology available for law enforcement to shutdown UAS systems.  Mr. Brinker said that NASA is leading the way for low altitude traffic management through their UTM system.  NUAIR is currently preparing the test site for testing of UTM activity and SRC, Saab Sensis, C Speed and others are developing those kinds of countermeasures.  NASA envisions that the control system for low altitude aircraft will be similar to the normal air traffic system used today.  There will be identification availability and there are countermeasures available, e.g., Geofencing – does not allow UAV to enter area, causes aircraft to pull back.  Everyone focuses on the machine but countermeasures are at least half of the issue – a huge part of what is going on.


Mr. Knapp said that from a privacy standpoint this was a stalker’s dream come true.  Mr. Brinker said that it is already against the law to spy on your neighbor and it does not matter what machine you use.


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Brinker said that based on the demand for FAA commercial certificates they now expect the projected economic impact of $82 billion by 2025 to be even larger.  Just a few examples of what UAS is capable of doing have been shown.  As more go into play, the price will decrease and make it more cost efficient to use this tool for a number of things.  NUAIR is currently working with Oneida County to use UAS for inspection of their waterways - from this one type of use think about how a county could use the system to improve its workload, make jobs easier, and then multiply that by all the other municipalities.  There is also the private sector, e.g., person interested in promoting a system in NYC that would allow transportation of organs around the city by UAS.  The more this comes along, the more uses people will think of.  Ms. Warner said that recent numbers project 130,000 jobs in the US by 2025.  In 2013, they projected 4,000 jobs for NYS but recent data shows a newer number that is a multiple of that.


Mr. Brinker thanked the committee for the opportunity to present.


1.     CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU:  Carol Eaton, Vice President of Marketing

       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 ($235,000)

Ms. Eaton:

  • Mr. Holder attending World Canals Conference in Belgium - coming to Syracuse 2017
  • Requesting final release of contingency funds, everything on track, need funds released to move forward with pending programs for final quarter of 2015


In answer Chair Rapp, Ms. Eaton said that they are extremely involved with the upcoming World Indoor Lacrosse Championships (WILC).  The County dedicated $15,000 for signage around the community - all installation is in process.




  • Signage emphasis on 13 participating countries
  • Green Hills offered use of parking area for shuttle service – Centro will travel back and forth to the Onondaga Nation arena
  • 3’x6’ banners offered to merchants
  • 10k posters throughout community – mimics postcards available throughout town
  • Currently running digital campaign in Ottawa in partnership with Syracuse Media Group – click on ad and land on page to book a room, targets when Canada is playing
  • WILC weekend same as the LSU game, crowds will be amazing, hotels are booked – pushing out to neighboring counties through cooperative program
  • Hospitality alert started today – reminds tourism partners to staff accordingly


Mr. Liedka said that lacrosse is the official summer sport of Canada.  Mr. Knapp said that Canada was favored to win the championship and indoor box lacrosse games were big in Canada.  Ms. Eaton agreed.


In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. Eaton said that opening ceremonies would be in the War Memorial on September 18th followed by the Iroquois verses USA game.  During the week, most of the games are at the beautiful new arena on the Onondaga Nation.  The big game will be the following Sunday at the dome.  They are waiting to hear the time - dome must be flipped from the LSU game, have 12-day window and should know soon.


Ms. Eaton said that NBC Universal will broadcast the WILC games and Visit Syracuse is sponsoring four thirty-second spots to promote future visits to Syracuse. 


Mr. Knapp said that they approved $90,000 and asked what the remaining $75,000 was for.  Ms. Eaton said that it was for organizers of the event who dedicated it to satellite trucks - organizers had to supply the trucks as part of the broadcast deal. 


In answer to Chair Rapp, Ms. Eaton confirmed that the games would be on TV.  NBC Universal is a cable subscription however, the station is free during the month of September.  Mr. Liedka said that it could be streamed to an iPad by downloading the app. 


Chair Rapp asked the number of hotel rooms secured.  Ms. Eaton reiterated that every hotel and B&B was booked in Onondaga County.  The industry alert notes that all hotel rooms are sold out.  It will hit today and every other day leading up to the WILC and usually shacks up hotels who may have a break, e.g., tour bus that cancelled.  Chair Rapp said that this was well-utilized room occupancy tax.


Ms. Eaton said that just about everything listed on the program and payment schedule, presented in January, stayed within the plan.  The Fam Tours line was flexible and their current emphasis is to get meeting planners here to see the new Marriott - former Hotel Syracuse.  In answer to Mr. Knapp, Ms. Eaton said that the hotel was on track to open for banquet style facilities on Saint Patrick’s Day and would be booking rooms a month later.


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


2.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Kevin Sexton, Chief Information Officer

       a.     Transfer from Information Technology, Account 64110 Regular Employee Salaries, to Information Technology, Account 694080 Professional Services, $270,000

Mr. Sexton:

  • Transfer supports continuation of PeopleSoft - Human Capital Management Project (HCM); lost staff – resigned for other opportunities

Mr. Knapp asked if the staff lost was county employees or consultants.  Mr. Sexton said that they were county employees.

  • Lost 2 employees with solid PeopleSoft skills, 1 project manager left for higher pay, 2 directors retired – is the reason for overage in the account
  • Setbacks with consultants, did not have adequate experience, cost time; in certain cases did not understand requirements and development was not adequate – must go back and review, adds to scope and timeline
  • Currently have core group of 2 proficient and experienced consultants, getting others from the County to step up -  countywide project with largest stakeholders comptroller and personnel, ultimately supports anyone with a county paycheck
  • Goal is to implement program to promote better efficiencies and audit accountability of payroll, benefits and HR systems; project in jeopardy without transfer - would have to stop or look for other funding
  • Project management in better position, County has taken ownership and is driving the direction, focusing on a smaller number of priorities – moving along but not as fast as they would like, very important to keep going

Mr. Liedka asked what point the transfer would get them to if approved.  Mr. Sexton said that it would give them the ability to pay the experienced consultants to lead them towards the finish line.  It also provides an opportunity to improve the internal resources that are working on the project.  They are improving but there is a learning curve and they are bringing people in whenever they can, including people from the comptroller and personnel.


Chair Rapp asked if they interviewed or had people in mind for the management positions.  Mr. Sexton said that they had not spent a lot of time looking but brought people in when they could.  They have not had much success, as the salary is a challenge.  Chair Rapp said that should could image, especially during this time when they need the best and brightest.  A consultant seems like a better use of the money.  Mr. Knapp said that the stock was going up for these types of people.  Chair Rapp said that it seemed like a good strategy to get experts in during the creation the system and then perhaps hire someone to run it. 


In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Sexton said that they lost three people to resignations and two retired.  They also lost a programmer to retirement but hope to fill the position.  In answer to Mr. Burtis, Mr. Knapp said that the savings from the lost personnel was the $270,000.  Chair Rapp said that they were not changing the budget – just transferring within. 


Mr. Burtis asked what the due date for completion was.  Mr. Sexton said that the original projected date was December 2014.  April-May 2015 they saw funds were depleting and made a strong push for a September-October timeframe but now know they will not get there.  The consultants did not complete one of the biggest functions adequately – had to go back to the requirements table and rebuild, causing a large impact on the project.  Chair Rapp asked if a new goal had been set.  Mr. Sexton said that the goal is to wrap up all configuration and customization by yearend and then come up a solid test plan.  Ideally, 3 months are necessary for user and parallel testing.  Yearend is always challenging because they lose resources, as personnel and the comptroller’s office are busy with yearend activities for a good eight weeks.  This would push them to the early second quarter of 2016. 


In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Sexton confirmed that they would not be filing the retired positions for the remainder of the year and would use the funds for consultants.  Mr. Knapp said that they could choose what they needed with the consultant approach.  Mr. Sexton agreed adding that they have heavily invested two and a half years of work and money.  They are 70%-75% complete and need to get to the finish line to realize the benefits of the investments made.


In answer to Mr. Knapp, Mr. Sexton confirmed that IT helped the City implement PeopleSoft budget and financials on July 1.  They view completing this on time as a big success.  The City will need assistance with enhancements in a short time and they will be assisting them.  Mr. Knapp said that the County is waiting for their final payment from the City because of their internal difficulties.  Mr. Sexton said that they are close to working it out.  Chair Rapp asked the amount owed.  Mr. Fisher said the IMA approved had $125,000 in it but they ran up an additional $34,000.  The City understands they owe this and they intend to pay it.  Mr. Knapp asked if they owed $34,000 or $159,000.  Mr. Fisher said that the $125,000 was funded but they had not processed the check, $34,000 was unfunded.  The City has a state grant but councilors must approve using the funds for this purpose. 


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


Chair Rapp asked if there was anything further to discuss.  Mr. Knapp commented that the concert at the amphitheater was great - the facility was incredible and Miranda Lambert put on an incredible show.  Chair Rapp said that they had lawn seats, which was the place to be.  It was an intimate experience for 70,000 people and the transportation was not what she feared.  It was a homerun all-round. 


The meeting adjourned at 10:10 A.M.


Respectfully submitted,




Onondaga County Legislature





* * *




MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. May, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Ervin, Mrs. Williams


ALSO ATTENDING:  Mr. Ryan, see also attached list


Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.


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


1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTDaniel Wears, Commissioner

        a.    Transfer from Emergency Management, Account 641010 Regular Employee Salaries, to Emergency Management, Account 693000 Supplies and Materials ($43,000)

  • One time purchases with savings from vacancies:


Emerg Mngmt


Chairman Knapp said that the purchases will be done by a transfer from within the department’s budget; no new money.  Mr. Wears agreed.


Mr. May said that this passed unanimously in Public Safety Committee; it is being done through salary savings and it keeps it out of the operating budget


A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


2.     TRANSPORTATION:  Brian Donnelly, Commissioner

        a.     Amending 2015 County Budget to Accept Additional Funds from the NYS Consolidated Local State and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and Authorizing the Execution of the Agreements ($583,169)

  • 2nd year in a row NYS provided additional monies in CHIPS program because of harsh winter
  • Equates to $583k – which will supplement hot mix, cold mix, and drainage programs
  • Accepting revenue and crediting the 960 account


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


3.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contract with the US Dept. of Interior, for the Operation and Maintenance of Stream Gaging Stations in the County of Onondaga

  • In the budget, but permission is needed from legislature to enter into the IMA
  • Gaging stations for all streams associated with WEP projects, plants, and lake
  • Have to reimburse federal government for gages, which are required by permits and ACJ


In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that this is done every year.


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



        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Travis Glazier)

Mr. Fisher:

  • Legislature is familiar with Mr. Glazier’s resume/background
  • County Executive sees the natural connection between the Office of Environment and OCRRA


Chairman Knapp said that this appointment would fill the term of Marybeth Primo, who is leaving the board.


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


5.     COMMUNITY SERVICES ADVISORY BOARD:  Lisa Alford, Commissioner - Adult & Long Term Care Svcs

        a.     Confirming Appointment to the Community Services Advisory Board (Dr. Indu Gupta)

  • Appointment of Dr. Gupta to the Board
  • Board provides advisory support for the mental health unit of the department


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

6.     SHERIFF:  Chief Ken Andrews

        a.     2015 Overtime Transfer:  From Sheriff’s Office Acct 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office Acct 641020 Overtime, $1,750,000

  • Projections indicate being over in overtime line; will need all the overtime money
  • Appears the overall budget is improving dramatically from where it was earlier in the year
  • 8/25 projection was that the budget would be over by $109,000; today the projection is to be an even budget overall
  • $2.25M in contingency--will need all of it and will come back later in the year

Chairman Knapp said that this is great news, Mrs. Ervin and Mr. May agreed.

Mr. May pointed out that in June the OT number was tracking toward $1 million; now it is around $750,000.  There are some good things happening; a lot of efforts made to get on task and perform better with respect to budgeted overtime.  Today’s request is pure, budgeted overtime, which was placed into contingency so that discussions could take place and understand the process better.  Regarding holding back on the release of the entire $2.25M, $500,000 is held back to see what happens at the end of the year and what may be needed.

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

        b.     2015 Vehicle Transfer:  From Sheriff’s Office Acct. 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office Acct 671500 Auto Equip, $159,582; From Sheriff’s Office Acct 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office Acct 693000 Supplies & Materials, $32,692


Mr. May distributed an amended resolution requesting that $209,582 be transfer into automotive equipment from contingency, and $42,692 be transferred into supplies and materials from contingency.


Mr. May said that in looking at the original resolution, half of it what was requested was approved unanimously by the Public Safety Committee, as a quick decision in response to all of the remaining money that could be used for vehicles and associated equipment.  Chief Andrews and Sheriff Conway did a great job of explaining where they are at and priorities.  Overtime was discussed as well -- thinks there was consensus amongst committee members that some of this catch-up be done and over with by the end of 2015.  In response to the Sheriff’ request, the amended resolution increases the number to the projected budget overrun.  The number has changed today, but it still should be approved, as adjustments would have to be made to the number towards year-end anyway.  Based on the extensive discussions at committee, the notion of getting this taken care of in this calendar year, and moving forward with a straight forward capital plan, is something that everybody wants to do. 


Chief Andrews said that they put a 3–year purchasing plan together for vehicles – it is imperative.  They were behind the eight ball to start with.  Dramatic purchases were needed and made.  A capital project was made for a portion of the cars that they will end up paying for over the next 4 years.  It is not leasing cars, but is like it so they can purchase more cars this year.  The budget for next year was put together under the consideration that they might not get this year’s cars.  With this resolution, all of those cars for next year would be taken out and will ask for 24 cars in 2016.  In a fleet of over over 400 vehicles, 24 vehicles per year is a prudent number that should be replaced on a yearly basis.  This can be maintained going forward and is a smart way of managing a fleet. 


Mr. May said that the Sheriff is looking at alternative funding for the rest of the cars.  He is open to the concept of using Stop DWI money, seized asset money, etc.


In answer to Mrs. Ervin, Chief Andrews said that through this resolution and the funding mechanisms with i.e. Stop DWI funds, the purchase of the remainder of 2015’s 3-year plan will be completed.  Next year it will be 24 vehicles; 25 in 2017.  Chairman May said to get all the way there, the total would be 47 cars.


Mr. Morgan said that instead of leasing vehicles, they spun up this cash flow – found money to buy additional vehicles.  In the 2016 budget there is a 4 -5 year plan to equal a payment to pay off that debt, plus the fund for the 24 vehicles.  Chairman Knapp said that it is an internal lease type plan.  Chief Andrews said that it will be in their budget for the next 4 years to pay off the debt.


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



        a.       Amend 2015 County Budget to Make Funds Available for Distribution to CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity for Use by the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau ($235,000)

  • Request to release the final piece of contingency for Visit Syracuse (formerly Convention & Visitors Bureau)
  • The program previously presented is still in place a moving forward
  • Need to pay to get programs in place for last quarter

Chairman Knapp asked Ms. Eaton to discuss activities related to the Lacrosse Tournament.

Ms. Eaton:

  • Visitors Guide has a call out on the cover and the entire back cover, includes a special section promoting it
  • Visitors Guide is in all hotel rooms in Onondaga County and visitor centers throughout NYS and Canada, can be ordered on line
  • Promoter and planner is from Los Angeles – his entire team is from the west coast  - have been in constant contact with them along the way
  • Blanketing community with welcome signage – 13 countries are coming

Ms. Eaton provided the following:


  • Major request was pole banners – emphasis needed on downtown and Oncenter/War Memorial
  • Will take care of banners outside of the mall - DestiNY USA has banners within the mall, which was a private partnership that they arranged
  • Green Hills has agreed to allowing parking and shuttle to the arena on the Nation; also eager to put up horizontal banners
  • Putting emphasis on Nedrow/Valley areas – route that many teams/fans will take – flags currently on poles for few blocks of South Salina Street – have flags of all 13 countries
  • Traditional services that are done for groups like this at airport and hotels
  • 30’ x 30’ banner – largest - at Oncenter
  • Important to help them sell tickets – saw preview of light show for opening ceremonies


Opening ceremonies will be Sept. 18th at 7:00; game is Canada vs. USA.  It will be a big game – Canada is huge in lacrosse.  Chairman Knapp added that Canada’s national sport it lacrosse.  Ms. Eaton said that the biggest challenge is to fill the Carrier Dome – final Sunday.  It is also SU vs. LSU – hotels are full, flowing to neighboring counties.  It will be broadcast on NBC Sports.  Four, 30-second spots are provided to promote visitors to the area. 

Chairman Knapp said that the pavilion/stadium on the reservation is gorgeous.  Ms. Eaton said that the relationship with the Nation is strengthened.  A lot of travel writers come to town, and now they can pick up the phone and call the Chief.  They are welcoming anyone in to learn more about the culture of the Iroquois.

Chairman Knapp said that this item passed Planning Committee unanimously.


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

8.     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:  Kevin Sexton, Commissioner

        a.    Transfer from Information Technology Account 64110 Regular Employee Salaries, to Information Technology Account 694080 Professional Services ($270,000)

  • For the benefit of moving PeopleSoft Human Capital Management further along
  • Have available funding due to resignations and retirements – some resignations had a direct impact on the project
  • County-wide project – supports anyone who gets a county paycheck – biggest stakeholders in the project are Comptroller and Personnel
  • IT has a big hand in the project, as it owns and controls a lot of the payroll processing and responsible for overall implementation
  • Project has had set backs – losing staff with crtical PeopleSoft skills hurt them; getting people in line with those skills has been a challenge
  • Have had to pay consultants to do a lot of the work, which is where the heavy cost/burden of the project is
  • Consultant – still reeling a little bit from original implementers regarding work they did and lack of quality on some key components of the projects
  • Leave accrual project – arguably one of the biggest processes in the project – uncovered that it was not done well at all – had to pretty much re-do it
  • Made a push to get things wrapped up by Sept/Oct of this year, but realized they weren’t there – this funding will get them through the rest of the year
  • Plan to wrap up remaining tasks by the year end/early next year; have test cycle of user acceptance and 2-3 test cycles of user parallel testings (comparing actual payrolls to new payrolls from project); have an early 2nd quarater implementation


Chairman Knapp said that this passed unanimously at Planning Committee yesterday.  There was good discussion about the project and the positions.  Mr. Sexton said that these are positions that they would like to fill at this point, but for the benefit of the project they feel they can get through the rest of the year.  Chairman Knapp said with consultants, they can hire exactly what they need. 


In answer to Mr. May, Mr. Sexton confirmed that this is a one-shot and will not have a budget impact next year.


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



        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution


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



        a.     Revenue Contract Report – NONE.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Onondaga County Legislature







To Provide Feedback About the Disability Accessibility of An Onondaga County Department's Website, Click Here to Access the Department's Contact Page

© 2001-  Onondaga County, New York  All Rights Reserved.   |  Ongov.net  |  Privacy Statement | Directions & Parking | Language or Disability Access Assistance