Eli Ruiz | Democrat
District Attorney Jim Farrell, left, talks with fellow Republican and County Legislator Alan J. Sorensen before making his announcement on Friday.
Farrell, Schiff want to stay in office
By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO March 12, 2013 Republicans Mike Schiff and Jim Farrell officially announced their intentions to run for re-election to their respective offices Friday at Mr. Willy’s in the village.
Dozens of supporters and constituents including the likes of Congressman Chris Gibson, Sullivan County Treasurer Ira Cohen, Sullivan County Legislator (District 9) Alan Sorensen and a sizable contingent of law enforcement, including Liberty Police Chief Scott Kinne, packed the main dining room of the popular eatery for the dual announcement.
Schiff, who is currently in his second term as Sullivan County Sheriff, was lauded by Republican Party Chairman Dick Coombe, who said, “I’m most proud of the fact that he is concerned about gangs; he is concerned about burglary; he is concerned about safety; he is concerned about our children; he is concerned about making our scarce budget and tax dollars go as far as they possibly can in order to keep our families and our homes safe.… He’s done a great job, he’ll do a great job…”
Schiff said, “As I’m almost through my second term as Sheriff, it’s had its challenges and ups and downs; it’s also been very exciting and rewarding, and I’m here today to announce that I will be running for my third term.
“I don’t know who my opponent will be, but I’m sure there will be one… it should be interesting,” added Schiff.
Schiff has overseen quite a bit of change within the Sheriff’s Office since his election in 2005, even re-naming the agency from Sheriff’s Department to Sheriff’s Office, and changing the color scheme of the patrol cars used by deputies from red and white; to black, gold and white. Still, on Friday Schiff focused on fiscal matters within the Sheriff’s Office. “We’ve tried very hard to be fiscally responsible. We’ve tried each year to cut our budget to save money for the county,” said Schiff. “We understand the fiscal condition of our county, villages, towns and the state and federal government,” added Schiff.
Asked what his goals were for his next term, if re-elected, Schiff offered to the Democrat, “I just want to continue doing what we’ve been doing. I want to get more training for our people, try to improve on our equipment and secure whatever new equipment we can through state and federal grants as well as with corporate partnerships. We want to work more closely with the community and assess their needs and make sure that we’re very responsive to those needs.”
Regarding the battle the Sheriff’s Office has recently waged against local drug dealers, Schiff said, “Manpower is tough and our overtime has been cut, but we will continue to work with the legislature to try to get the funding we need. I think these preventative programs are also very important. I feel that we cannot pull out of the schools. Our anti-gang and anti-drug programs are vital, and I feel cannot be cut. We really need to step those initiatives up.”
Added Schiff, “I’m very proud of the professionalism and the demeanor of our people, they’ve done such a tremendous job. Even in such a thankless job as the jail, our people handle themselves as consummate professionals and that’s something we don’t want to change at all.”
Farrell seeks second term
A District Attorney’s Office veteran for more than 18 years now, Jim Farrell took over as Sullivan County’s top prosecutor in 2009 after the retirement of his mentor and longtime Sullivan County DA Steven Lungen.
Said Coombe of Farrell, “Prosecuting is very very hard work, but in Jim Farrell we have a person that when a case is brought before him that deals with your security he’s going to prosecute to the fullest of his ability, and you know darn well that you and I are going to be protected because of the great work that he does.”
Farrell announced his intention to not only seek his party’s [Republican Party] nomination, but also those of the conservative and independence parties as well, “Much like I did four years ago when I first ran,” added Farrell.
Farrell thanked his wife Nicole, saying, “She has been a constant source of support over the last four years. Without her I would not be here today, and without her I also wouldn’t be running [for office] again.”
Farrell gave the lion’s share of the DA’s office success to his staff, offering, “We’ve accomplished much over the last four years, but… absolutely none of it would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of my wonderful staff. From jury trials to appeals, from investigations to the day-to-day operations and workings of the district attorney’s office my staff, time and again… has always stepped up to the challenges that we’ve faced.”
Farrell referenced the financial crisis that enveloped the country the year before his 2009 election, and talked about tough staff-related decisions he’s made in the DA’s office. “As a result of those decisions and my fiscal conservatism and my dedication to that, we were able to cut about 10 percent off our operating budget,” said Farrell.
Farrell thanked the county legislature for working with his office to cut the budget “responsibly, while not threatening public safety.”
“Also, none of our accomplishments would have been possible at all if not for my close working relationship with law enforcement… I treasure that relationship,” affirmed Farrell.
Farrell then outlined some of his office’s priorities: Taking on gangs, illegal guns, both drug dealers and abusers, child abusers, veteran’s services and much more. “I told you all four years ago that I’d relentlessly enforce the laws on the books… I’m doing that,” proclaimed Farrell.
As far as his goals for a possible next term, Farrell said, “I think the specific goals for my office are to always try to improve the quality of people’s lives in whatever way we can. If that means getting out in front and going to educate the kids, that’s what I’m going to do; if it means prosecuting somebody who’s broken into someone’s house, that’s what I’m going to do; if that means prosecuting to the extent of the law a child molester, that’s what I’m going to do. The same goes for drug dealers in this county.
“I want to have a professional; not political prosecutors office, and I want to make sure that we enforce the law equally and fairly so that everybody has their rights respected.” he added. “I think that that’s what the goal of the DA should really be. It’s what I’ve done over the last three [years], and it is exactly what I’ll do in my next term.”