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FC sheriff’s office gets position grant

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino on Monday received preliminary permission to accept a $125,000 Federal School Resource Officer Grant — a deputy position he’s trying to establish for the Mayfield Central School District.

The Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee voted to accept the three-year, U.S. Department of Justice grant. Final approval will be considered by the full board July 13.

“We were one out of 2,000 [schools] approved nationally,” Giardino told the committee. “I have a [60-day] deadline to accept or reject it.”

The sheriff said he is still trying to determine if the Mayfield district will have to kick in a share, and to what extent. He said the district indicated last week that it could provide some of the match money, but not the entire match.

The board passed a resolution in 2019 requiring the district be responsible for all the local share of salary and benefits required for the first three years of the deputy dedicated to the school. The district is also supposed to be responsible for salary and benefits of the fourth year required by the grant.

But Giardino said the federal DOJ grant office has indicated it may waive matching funds, hoping to decide in the next 30 days.

The sheriff estimated the first-year deputy salary to be $48,000 plus benefits ($24,000) to be no more than a $73,200 total. Funds are reimbursed quarterly, and the salary will be pro-rated based on the date of appointment. Giardino must also have the county enter a memorandum of agreement with the Mayfield district, as required by the grant.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead asked if other school districts might want to consider the position since Mayfield might not have to pay the match.

Giardino said the Broadalbin-Perth, Northville and Mayfield central districts were originally interested in a shared position with split costs. But he said the other two districts bowed out before the pandemic hit. Mayfield has expressed interest all along.

In another education-related matter, Giardino informed the committee that he will not renew the special patrol officer contract with HFM BOCES for the 2020-21 school year. He said expectations for the SPO “didn’t match.”

“There was constantly issues coming up,” Giardino said.

Giardino thanked the Board of Supervisors and the Personnel Department for their efforts in establishing the contract and the program.

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

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