By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO October 2, 2001 When Sullivan County Legislator Jodi Goodman took office two years ago, she was put in charge of the Consumer Affairs Department a department that existed solely on paper, with no budget and no staff.
But with the help of fellow Legislator Chris Cunningham and the support of the other legislators, the department slowly began to take shape.
About three months ago, a Director of Consumer Affairs was hired. The new director, Susan Laverty, came in with a great deal of experience and helped to put the department together. Laverty worked for 13 years in the Consumer Affairs Department in Nassau County, some of that spent as the program's director.
Prior to the departments establishment, most consumer complaints were handled by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cornell will still work with the county on consumer issues.
On Monday, September 24, a press conference was held to introduce Laverty and the department to the public. Besides Laverty and Goodman, present were Sullivan County Clerk George Cooke, Ulster County Consumer Affairs Director John Van Black, and State Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Mark Hoops. All were on hand to explain consumer affairs, their roles, and to show their support for the new department.
"We only get involved when we are asked to," Laverty stated. "I have handled over 60 complaints so far. We want to make a difference."
"We are very happy to have her," Goodman said of Laverty.
"I applaud Sullivan County," Van Black commented. "Consumer protection is a basic American right."
"We have been more involved in Sullivan County," remarked Hoops, who represented the Attorney General's office. "There is a renewed commitment here."
Laverty announced a contest at the press conference, encouraging all county residents to come up with a mascot and slogan that would best represent the Sullivan County Consumer Affairs Department. The contest deadline is Wednesday, October 31. Ideas can be submitted to Laverty by calling 794-3000 ext. 3073 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.