County Approves Formation Of Citizens’ Council

OSWEGO, NY – At Thursday’s County Legislature meeting, legislators approved contracting with CGR to develop the foundation for a Citizens’ Advisory Council.

The council’s mission will be to enhance communication between the public and the Department of Social Services.

The Center for Government Research (CGR) is a consulting firm based in Rochester.

“This group has a very important purpose,” said Legislator Jack Proud in recommending the resolution to the full legislature.

Proud said the council would be one of the most important and positive things to come out of the Erin Maxwell tragedy.

The 11-year-old Palermo girl died last August. Her father and step-mother were convicted of multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child and were sentenced to two years in jail. Her step-brother was convicted of her murder and faces a 25 year to life sentence next month.

“The establishment of this council will go a long way toward improving the interactions among all the agencies that deal with children to improve Child Protective Services,” Proud said. “It will help define and clarify what roles each one plays. It will move Oswego County in a positive direction to help prevent any future tragedies such as this from occurring.”

The council will report to either the health committee or chair of the legislature.

The cost of CGR’s services shall not exceed $9,500.

The county hopes to get the council up and running in the near future, according to Barry Leemann, chair of the legislature.

In other action Thursday, the legislators approved accepting a Center for Disease Control grant. The funding will be used in response to the swine flu pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, additional grant funding from the CDC has been allocated to Oswego County. This is being done in three phases, each with its own grant budget directives.

Since there are still many uncertainties as to how the pandemic will continue to evolve and to when and how much swine flu vaccine and related supplies will be allocated to the county, “we will need the flexibility to utilize our own staff and to hire temporary and part-time individuals to meet out obligations,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Public Health Director.

This phase of the grant will be used for part-time temporary workers ($14,810), overtime hours ($15,000), additional hours ($24,000) and other supplies and expenses ($30,000).