By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO December 31, 2004 Richard Martinkovic was named Sullivan County Commissioner of Public Safety after a unanimous vote of the Sullivan County Legislature at a special meeting Tuesday.
Martinkovic, who was serving the county part-time as fire and emergency services coordinator, will now work full-time, overseeing a host of county agencies like the Probation Department, the 911 Center, EMS, the Board of Electrical Licensing and the Commissioner of Jurors. He will maintain his role as coordinator in charge of handling fires and other emergencies, working with the Sullivan County Sheriffs Department, the district attorney and the county coroners.
According to County Manager Dan Briggs, the move will provide increased emphasis on public safety and emergency management. The legislators motivation for doing so included the perceived heightened risks of terrorism, the two recent floods in the county, and the need for one individual to be responsible for interaction, coordination and interfacing with municipalities and local, state and federal agencies.
Sullivan County Legislator Ron Hiatt approved of Martinkovic but was opposed to the process, which did not include interviews of outside candidates.
The higher the position, the more open the process ought to be, he said.
He said Martinkovic was well qualified, but the request for applicants should have gone farther.
Legislator Rodney Gaebel said Hiatts argument had some merit, but Martinkovic had proven himself under fire.
Martinkovic, who is best known for his tenure as supervisor of the Town of Liberty and president of the Association of Supervisors, will earn $57,500 a year, serving at the pleasure of the legislature.
In other business, the county applied to take over the vacated Social Security building in the Village of Monticello. The Social Security Administration Trust Fund agency relocated to an office on Jefferson Street.
The county has applied to the federal government, which could grant them the office. The county would be exempt from paying village taxes. Briggs said the county might use it for workforce development.
The legislature voted to retain Gitlin, Knack & Pavloff, LLP as the countys out-of-house auditors. The contract for 2004 will cost the county $78,500, with an option for 2005 to run $80,500.
And the county will hold a special meeting today at 11 a.m. at the Government Center in Monticello to discuss casinos.