October 22, 2021

Search still on for county planning director

Nearly five months after Cortland County’s planning director retired, the county has delayed action on hiring a successor.

County legislators were supposed to meet in a special Budget and Finance Committee session Thursday, ahead of a regular monthly meeting of the full Legislature, to discuss hiring someone to replace Dan Dineen, who agreed to stay part-time until a replacement was found.

However, that meeting was canceled, and no recommended successor has been named.

“The county continues to search for and conduct interviews for county planning director,” Eric Mulvihill, the clerk of the Legislature, said Thursday in an email.

Hiring a new planning director was discussed during a Dec. 8 Budget and Finance Committee meeting, but no action was taken and it was decided to have a special Budget and Finance Committee meeting before the Legislature meeting Thursday. However, that meeting was canceled.

Legislator Kelly Preston (R-Homer) said she and Legislator Cathy Bischoff (D-Cortland) planned to vote no on the resolution at the budget and finance committee meeting because applicants were not interviewed, so there was no name recommended for the job.

Mulvihill would not comment on how many people have applied for the position or were interviewed.

“The county is not prepared to provide that information at this time,” he said.

However, Kevin Fitch (R-Homer, Preble, Scott), the chairman of the Agriculture, Planning and Environment Committee, said three people have been interviewed so far by the hiring panel, which includes him, Legislator Chris Newell (R-Cortlandville), county Human Resource Director Annette Barber and County Administrator Rob Corpora.

Fitch said he believes the Personnel Committee will see who the hiring committee recommends first and then it will go to the Agriculture, Planning and Environment Committee before heading to the full Legislature.

He said Corpora had wanted to put the resolution in place so legislators didn’t have to wait until January, but the committee decided to delay the decision because legislators wanted to keep the job posting open for longer so more people could apply.

“I think when we talked we were leaving it open for two more months and seeing who we get,” Fitch said. “The others are still up for consideration.”