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County Legislature Honors Retiring Clerk

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Thursday afternoon, the Oswego County Legislature paused to recognize and say goodbye to an old friend and colleague.

Earlier this month, Ted Jerrett, clerk and FOIL officer for the Oswego County Legislature, announced his intention to retire at the end of May.

May 23 is his last day on the job, he added.

Ted Jerrett, clerk and FOIL officer for the Oswego County Legislature, holds his award as he thanks the legislature Thursday afternoon. From left are Government Committee members Kevin Gardner and Jack Proud, Jerrett, committee chair Milferd Potter and standing in back is Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann.
Ted Jerrett, clerk and FOIL officer for the Oswego County Legislature, holds his award as he thanks the legislature Thursday afternoon. From left are Government Committee members Kevin Gardner and Jack Proud, Jerrett, committee chair Milferd Potter and standing in back is Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann.

“I’ve worked in Oswego County Government for more than 31 years and have enjoyed the experience immensely. Your support and friendship have touched my heart and will never be forgotten,” he told his friends and co-workers.

He asked not to have any sort of retirement party. However, his friends are passing around a book in which people can leave comments and well wishes.

“Wendy Falls has done a tremendous job as Deputy Clerk and I have every confidence in her ability to keep the office going and to support you in every way she can,” Jerrett said.

In his remaining days, he said he will be “trying to tie up loose ends.”

“I want you to know how much I’ve appreciated your friendship, support and confidence,” he said. “I’m sooo proud of all of you and what you do each day! I’ve been blessed with the moments we’ve shared.”

Legislature Chair Barry Leemann honored Jerrett with a proclamation recognizing his ears of service to the county and its residents.

“I’m going to keep it short, so my ‘allergies’ don’t get to me,” Jerrett said, dabbing at his eyes, as he accepted the framed proclamation.

“Thank you so much for your support, encouragement. Be kind to one another; speak the truth and be proud of it,” he continued. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been a legislator, to have been a department head also; a very unique situation that’s worked wonderfully for me. I hope it worked well for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!”

As he returned to his seat at the head of the legislature, next to Chairman Leemann, one last time, he quipped, “This way, I can submit the FOIL request now.”

Among the resolutions of the day was a motion to authorize a budgetary modification in the Department of Social Services – to accept an additional allocation of $10,244 in federal HEAP Administrative Funds.

The additional funding will assist the department to cover expenses incurred in overtime for staff to process HEAP applications and answer or return phone calls from people requesting HEAP assistance, according to Legislator Jack Proud, Chair of the Health Committee.

Between Nov. 1, 2010, and April 3, 2011, there were 23,696 phone calls, 3,534 people in the office for appointments related to HEAP and 5,480 benefits worth more than $6.2 million issued to eligible households for regular and emergency HEAP, he said.

“That is a staggering figure to me,” he said. “It should also be an eye-opener to the general public as to the level need in our county and the care being provided by the DSS staff.”

The legislators also voted to continue its Home Rule 1% sales tax.

It was set to expire on Nov. 30.

“Approval of the resolution will begin the proves of seeking state permission to extend our statutory authority and help us continue to provide property tax stability and relief to the people of Oswego County,” noted Phil Church, county administrator. “This is not a request to approve an additional tax, but simply to maintain the current rate.”

The county shares its sale tax with its towns and villages and the city of Fulton.

In 2010, the county collected $36.5 million in sales taxes, of which $10.1 million was provided to the municipalities.

“By sharing the sales tax with municipalities, we help those municipalities to keep their local property taxes in check,” Church added. “The loss of the sales tax extension would therefore negatively impact property taxes in the municipalities as well.”