Lanigan Retiring as Social Services Commissioner

Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Frances Lanigan is retiring.

Lanigan announced her retirement to employees last week.

She declined to speak with Oswego County Today about her retirement in a polite e-mail exchange over the weekend, saying she would be “more prepared” to discuss it later in the month.

Lanigan will retire in June, ending a 37 year career with the department.

Her tenure was largely uncontroversial until the August, 2008 death of youngster Erin Maxwell in her family’s Palermo home.  Her stepbrother was convicted of murder in her death.  Her father and stepmother, Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, were convicted of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child after the first jury trial in town of Palermo court history.

An investigation showed that the girl lived amidst the feces of dozens of animals and was kept in a locked bedroom.  An independent investigation pointed out the ways the department could have handled the case better but did not blame case workers for her death.

Lanigan kept her job even as a vocal community group and some county legislators demanded her resignation.