Sullivan County Democrat
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Dan Hust | Democrat

Richard Coombe of Grahamsville (left), the new chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Committee, greets retiring District Attorney Steve Lungen (center) and his replacement, Jim Farrell, during Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony inside the County Courthouse in Monticello.

Farrell takes charge

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — January 5, 2010 — The mantle of Sullivan County District Attorney passed from Steve Lungen to Jim Farrell on Thursday.
Inside a packed courtroom at the County Courthouse in Monticello, retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Tony Kane – in one of his last acts – gave the oath of office to Farrell.
Afterwards, Farrell acknowledged all who attended, especially with the weather making driving iffy. He praised the groups and individuals “who provided me with support throughout the last year as I campaigned for the office of Sullivan County District Attorney,” and the voters, who gave him and overwhelming victory.
He offered special thanks to County Clerk Daniel Briggs, who officially recorded his oath in the books of the County Clerk, and to the Honorable Judge Anthony Kane, who administered the oath.
“Sullivan County has a proud and special tradition of producing some of the finest jurists in New York history – just look around this room: Judge Robert C. Williams; Court of Appeals Judge Sydney Foster; Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Chief Judge Lawrence Cooke – and Judge Kane is no exception,” Farrell said.
“Judge Kane has served this county with great distinction. He was, above all, a fair and honest man with great integrity, and you have made all of us very proud. Judge Kane, you will be sorely missed. Congratulations to you and your family on your retirement. I am proud and honored to have you, as one of your last official acts, administer the oath of office to me and will be forever grateful to you.”
Farrell continued, “This has been a very bittersweet time for me – these last few weeks – as the realization that Steve Lungen is really retiring actually set in. Steve Lungen has been a constant for me over my career as a prosecutor here in Sullivan County. He has taught me how to be a prosecutor and how to secure justice for the victims of crime.”
Farrell noted that under Lungen’s tenure the DA’s office “has earned a reputation for regional and statewide excellence. He has led this office by example, never asking someone to do something he himself would not do. He has led this office with distinction, the highest level of professionalism, integrity and honesty.
“I cannot understate how important Steve Lungen has been to me – both personally and professionally. To have his unqualified support during this election process has meant everything to me,” he added, and talking directly to his former boss concluded, “You will be sorely missed and truly will go down in history as a legend of law enforcement in this community.”
Farrell thanked his “new” staff for “work[ing] very hard to make sure that justice is carried out. I appreciate all your hard work.”
“Next, I would like to thank my family – my wife Nicole and my children Douglas and Kelsey. While I thought that I ran the campaign, I know better and know who really did and who put all of her energy and passion into the campaign – my life partner and the love of my life, Nicole. I shall be always in debt to you for the sacrifices you made and the unqualified support you gave me. Thank you for all you did and all you do. I love you very much.”
Farrell read an essay by daughter Kelsey humorously pointing out the ups and downs of campaigning with her father.
“I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead,” Farrell aid. “I know that I have been prepared well. I care very deeply about this county and care about making our community a safe place to live, work and raise our families.”
Farrell quoted the English philosopher Edmund Burke, in describing what sort of government the people expect, said, “Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment, and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
The newly-sworn DA added his own view of justice: “Those citizens without power, influence and money deserve the same treatment and same judgment as that we render to those citizens who do possess power and money.”
He pledged to to crack down on gangs and on the violence in the county and continue to work with schools to keep children safe “in school and away from drugs and alcohol and prevent substance abuse before it starts.”
“As your DA, I will make sure that all domestic violence cases are pursued to make sure that women are safe in their homes. I will continue to protect our senior citizens from being abused by financial predators, scammers, or those that would physically harm them,” he added.
He emphasized his support for the Sullivan County Family Violence Response Team – formed in the aftermath of the Christopher Gardner case in 1997 – which “continues to protect our children from physical and sexual abuse. This team has been highly effective in detecting, apprehending and prosecuting child predators over the last decade and is vital to our children’s safety.”
Farrell thanked the Sullivan County Legislature for restoring the funding to two positions in the office, an Assistant DA and investigator, that were cut from the proposed 2010 budget. “The restoration of these positions was vital to the public safety needs of this county,” he noted.
“President John F. Kennedy once said: ‘For those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment of each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured in the answers to four questions: First, were we truly men of courage? Second, were we truly men of judgment? Third, were we truly men of integrity? Finally, were we truly men of dedication?’ ” Farrell said.
He concluded: “Judge Kane, Steve – the answers to these questions regarding your service to our county and state have been resoundingly answered in the affirmative. I will work hard to make sure that at the end of my tenure here I live up to the example you have set and legacy that you both have left.
“As DA, I will work hard and make you all very proud. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to represent you.”

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