Lungen Throws Weight Behind Assistant DA Farrell
By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO February 27, 2007 If Steve Lungen could hand pick a successor, Jim Farrell would be his man.
Lungen, who has served as Sullivan County’s district attorney since 1982, announced last year he will not run for office when his term expires.
“Nobody has a birthright to this chair,” he said last week. “I don’t ever want to be in this position and become complacent.
“I said I wasn’t going to run again, and I don’t see anything that’s going to change that,” he continued. “Even though I love what I do, I’m closing in on almost 26 years in this office. Change is good and healthy for me and the county.”
Lungen officially has two years left in his four-year term, but he’s already preparing his office for the first day in more than 25 years when he won’t be at the helm.
After more than two decades in his elected position, what’s at stake for Lungen is ensuring the county continues to have a prosecutors’ office that serves the community, brings justice to the people.
There’s no question, he said, that the next district attorney will and should be chosen by the voters of Sullivan County.
But he’d like to leave office knowing his successor will carry on his legacy.
“It matters greatly to me who succeeds me,” Lungen acknowledged. “Not because I want to hand pick my successor, but because I know how important that person is to the public safety of this county.
“Without a doubt, I want to make sure that the person who succeeds me will continue to run this office with a high degree.
“It’s only natural that I’d look inside my office first,” he continued. “And there’s no question in my mind that Jim [Farrell] will be able to succeed me.
Farrell, the fourth assistant district attorney, has been with the prosecutors’ office for 11 years.
It’s the job he said he went into law to do.
“When you go home at the end of the night, you’ve done good work, the people’s work,” Farrell noted.
A graduate of Dutchess Community College, SUNY Binghamton and Albany law school, Farrell is a father of two and married to a schoolteacher at the Sullivan West Central School.
A native of the Hudson Valley, Farrell now lives in Cochecton.
He credits Lungen as an incredible teacher a district attorney who has led his ADAs by example.
Lungen returned the compliments tenfold.
“He reminds me a lot of me 25 years ago,” the district attorney said of his protege, “except he’s smarter.”
Look to the March 16 edition of the Sullivan County Democrat for an in-depth look at Jim Farrell’s life as assistant district attorney in our “Men at Work” special section.