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Crime victims positions abolished

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday abolished two positions that over the years assisted the county’s crime victims.

The board ended the crime victim services coordinator and crime victim services assistant positions in the county District Attorney’s Office. Abolishment is effective Sept. 31.

Supervisors noted that state Office of Crime Victim Services’ grant funding has lapsed for the advocacy positions. The positions were created contingent upon state funding.

District Attorney Chad Brown recommended abolishment of the positions after reviewing his staffing situation.

In other personnel issues, the board waived the Fulton County residency rule for the hiring of caseworkers. Department of Social Services Commissioner Anne Solar and Office for Aging/Youth Director Andrea Fettinger are having difficulty filling caseworker positions, Monday’s board resolution indicated.

County Personnel Director Theresa Souza reported there is “low” Civil Service exam participation and “high” turnover rates connected with the caseworker title.

The resolution indicated that after careful review of the county’s hiring procedures, the board’s Personnel Committee recommended waiving the Fulton County residency rule to allow the hiring of caseworkers from not only Fulton County, but contiguous counties.

Following a public hearing with no speakers, the board adopted a local law creating the office of assigned counsel administrator. The position – whose term begins Jan. 1 — will manage Fulton County’s assigned counsel program to provide public defense clients with quality representation.

The board reclassified the graphics and web specialist/mail clerk to a web, graphics and computer specialist in the Information Technology Department.

Supervisors also commented about a recent program in which Townsend Leather celebrated its 50th anniversary at its new building, The Stitch, on Grove Street in Johnstown. The building was renovated from the former Diana Knitting Mill.

“It’s not every day you hear of a shuttered factory brought back to life,” said Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young.

Young noted The Stitch has been modernized, but retained some of its history, while creating more office space for Townsend.

“They have transformed a liability into a huge asset for the county,” said board Chairman Jack Wilson.

Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor John Blackmon stated, “I think it’s the best use of an old building in Fulton County.”

Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said that Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters, who worked with Townsend on the expansion, deserves credit. She said Peters worked hard to keep Townsend in Fulton County.

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

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