County nixes grand jury job

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government decided not to create a position to manage county grand jurors, which will be done by the state.

The Board of Supervisors was scheduled Monday to create a per diem grand jury clerk position in the office of District Attorney Louise Sira.

She recently recommended the move through the board’s Public Safety Committee.

But county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the proposed resolution was withdrawn because Sira has been working with the state court system. He said Sira communicated with state Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi and the state may be able to provide a court attendant.

“They have a solution worked out, for now,” Stead said.

Sira had told committee she had wanted to create a separate $12.15-per-hour, per-diem position. She put the total annual cost at $4,902. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in the basement of the County Office Building. Sira said a person is needed to “manage” grand jurors, who can’t be left unsupervised.

In other personnel moves made by the board Monday:

Supervisors authorized a grant application to the state Office of Indigent Legal Services to create a sixth assistant public defender position. The annual salary of the position would be $25,000 with benefit costs of $11,250.

Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean asked whether the county would be obligated to pay for the position in the future.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said anyone hired will only be paid through grant funds.

“If the funding dries up, the position goes away,” Stead said.

The board also reclassified the county’s fourth assistant public defender from part-time to full-time.

Supervisors appointed Diana Putnam of Broadalbin to serve on the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency board for 2014, filling a vacancy.

The board authorized payment of training reimbursement for the hiring of a sheriff’s deputy. Sheriff Thomas Lorey is considering hiring a new deputy currently employed as an officer with the Owego Police Department in Tioga County. State General Municipal Law allows a municipality that has paid for the training of a police officer to recover the training cost from another municipality that hires the candidate within three years.

Fulton County will reimburse the Owego Police Department for $1,500.