Board divided in vote to appoint Mraz as consultant

While five of the 20 voted against the hiring, former planning department head approved

Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr., second from right, speaks about the appointment of county Planning Director James Mraz as a consultant at the Fulton County Board of Supervisors' meeting Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr., second from right, speaks about the appointment of county Planning Director James Mraz as a consultant at the Fulton County Board of Supervisors' meeting Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Five Fulton County supervisors voted Monday against the hiring of retiring county Planning Director James Mraz as a 2018 county consultant, but the measure passed.

The board voted to authorize a contract with the Johnstown resident for planning director “consulting services” in the Planning Department. Mraz is retiring Jan. 12. He is being replaced Jan. 15 by county planner Scott Henze.

Monday’s resolution states that “to assist in the transition to a new director, Mr. Mraz has offered to be available to provide planning services to the Planning Department on an as-needed consultant basis.”

Mraz’s new contract with the county runs from Jan. 13, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018. He will be paid $50 per hour, not to exceed $30,000 during the contract. Estimated hours are 10 to 20 hours per week. No reimbursable expenses are being charged.

The contract is subject to approval by County Attorney Jason Brott.

The resolution approved Monday states supervisors feel Mraz’s “experience and knowledge” is needed in 2018.

“I think Jim’s done an immeasurable number of things for the county,” said Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young.

But Young suggested the county get away from hiring its former employees as consultants.

Former Fulton County Solid Waste Director Jeffrey Bouchard has been serving as a county consultant for three years since he retired. His contract was extended in September through the end of 2018.

“I really struggled with this,” Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. said of Mraz’s appointment.

Lauria said he has “nothing against Mraz.” But he said he has been receiving calls from taxpaying constituents “fed up that these consultant fees are too high.”

Voting no on the consultant contract were: Young, Lauria, Caroga Supervisor Beth Morris, Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor John Blackmon, and Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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