Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
The deaths of two small children in the year 2008 have sparked many phone calls from taxpayers of Oswego County to county legislators and to myself.
The question is how could this happen? How could this have slipped through the cracks in county government? The accused has been incarcerated in county jail. But why isn’t the commissioner of Social Services being fired? Why are the county leaders not doing their jobs? The county leaders are George Williams, GOP chairman; Barry Leemann, chairman of the Legislature; and Jack Proud, vice chairman of the Legislature. All three are not good decision makers, personally. I believe all three are just cowards and friends of Lanigan.
Leemann has made a statement that if we fire Lanigan, the Oswego County government could be sued because we have a five-year contract with her. Our county taxpayers are being fed the bull by county leadership. I believe that our county government needs better management in the Social Services Department.
In investigating this problem, I have observed that our commissioner of Social Services’ personal work schedule is 35 hours per week; seven hours per day. But when you back out vacation time, sick time and personal leave days, she is working closer to 20 hours per week.
Being a small business owner and manager of about 90 employees for 32 years, I averaged about 60-80 hours per week. I have questions on how our Social Services commissioner can manage 272 employees and know everything that’s going on in the Social Services Department. It took me as a county legislator and Health Committee member from Feb. 15 to March 30, to get an appointment with a payroll clerk at the Social Services Department. On March 30, I had questions. On April 30, I still had not received answers to my questions. How could this happen? Our Social Services director is not accountable to the committee members. She has denied issuance of pass cards to committee members for access to the Social Services building in Mexico. Isn’t it time the county leadership made Lanigan accountable to the committee?
On March 27, 2006, bad conditions were reported to Social Services at the Maxwell residence. On May 17, 2006, Social Services visited the Maxwell home to find it was still bad. On May 18, 2006, Oswego County Social Services closed the case regarding the Maxwell home. Lanigan has made many statements that the Social Services Department has done nothing wrong. Once the case is closed, state law prohibits Social Services from checking on the Maxwell home.
My question is, should Social Services be closing their case this fast? Should the caseworker, the supervisor, the director of Social Services be fired? Should these three people be allowed to retired with pensions and health benefits? Should the three county leaders be asked to resign their posts?
If your county legislator is a member of the Majority Caucus, they could vote to give the leadership the boot. All 25 county legislators are up for vote this fall, as well as county clerk positions. The three county leaders are experts when it comes to the “blame game.” Isn’t it time we have checks and balances at Social Services and our county legislators be more accountable and professional to the taxpayers of Oswego County?
Arthur P. Gearsbeck
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