Monday, December 31, 2018

New laws for the New Year

New laws for New York in 2019:
Drug Take Back Act: A law that takes effect Jan. 6 requires drug stores and mail-order pharmacies to give consumers the ability to return unused prescription drugs through free drop boxes, pre-paid envelopes and other secure options.
Diaper changing tables in public bathrooms: Beginning Jan. 1, all new bathrooms that are publicly accessible must have diaper changing tables.
Body scanners in prisons: A new law that takes effect Jan. 30 will allow body scanners to be used on inmates in prisons across New York to detect hidden weapons.
Disability benefits for volunteer firefighters with cancer: Volunteer firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer will be eligible for state disability coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Minimum wage increase: In Upstate New York and areas outside of New York City and its suburbs, the minimum wage will increase from $10.40 per hour to $11.10 per hour.
Newborn testing: Beginning Jan. 30, newborns in New York state who are identified or suspected of having a hearing impairment will be required to be tested for cytomegalovirus, unless a parent objects.
Prostate screenings at no cost: A law effective Jan. 1 requires health insurers to provide men with access to prostate cancer screening without any co-pays or deductibles.
Property tax relief credit: Property tax rebate checks for STAR eligible homeowners with incomes of $275,000 or less who live in property tax compliant school districts.
For more on these new laws, click here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New York enacts Bill of Rights for Sexual Assault Survivors

Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman wants all survivors of rape and sexual assault to know about New York State’s new “sexual assault survivors' bill of rights.”

“This new law will require state government to establish a bill of rights for purposes of informing survivors of their rights under the law,” Getman said.

According to Getman, the bill of rights will include the victims’ right to:

• Consult with a rape crisis or victim assistance organization;
• Appropriate health care services at no cost;
• Receive updates on their sexual offense evidence kit and the status of their case; and
• Be notified before sexual assault evidence kits are destroyed
Under the law, Getman explained, all law enforcement agencies must adopt policies to help communicate with survivors and enable a survivor to request information on their sexual offense evidence kit from the police agency or prosecutorial agency with jurisdiction over the crime.

“Advising victims of their legal rights will help ensure they can navigate complicated medical and criminal justice systems and receive necessary assistance and treatment,” Getman said.

The measure was signed into law Friday (December 21) and is scheduled to take effect in June 2019.

The complete text of the new law can be found here.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor to the county legislature and other county officers, including the Sheriff, the District Attorney and the Department of Social Services. The County Attorney prosecutes and defends civil actions and serves as the primary prosecutorial agency for cases presented in Schuyler County Family Court.

Monday, December 17, 2018

New York State Bar Criminal Justice Section Annual Meeting Program Announced

The New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Annual Meeting will be held Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York City.

The MCLE Program will cover “Implicit Bias and the Criminal Justice System.” Topics include:

• Understanding Implicit Bias
• Implicit Bias: A Law Enforcement Perspective
• Confronting and Addressing Implicit Bias During Litigation

For more information, or to register, click here.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Public Hearing on Access to Juvenile Justice Mental Health Services

On Tuesday, December 11 the New York State Assembly committees on Children and Families and Mental Health will examine mental health services provided to youth in the juvenile justice system and identify other supports and services that may be utilized to address unmet mental health needs of these youth:
With the recent implementation of Raise the Age, youth that would have potentially entered the adult criminal justice system, may
now be directed to the juvenile justice system, where there are more robust and age appropriate services available. In light of these additional youth, it is even more important to understand the scope of mental health services currently available, as well as additional services that may be necessary to adequately care for youth in the juvenile justice system. This hearing will examine funding and other resources the State utilizes to treat youth with mental health disorders in the juvenile justice system and other supports and services that could be used to address unmet mental health needs of such youth in the future.
For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Authorities investigating online predator who’s blackmailing students at Penn Yan, possibly Dundee schools
New York State Police are investigating reports of an online predator, and now letters have gone home to parents — warning them about the threat. 
Officials with Penn Yan and Dundee Central Schools say they’re investigating reports of an individual blackmailing area students over social media. 
Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis says the investigation began a few days ago when students in Penn Yan confided in trusted adults at the school. They then notified law enforcement. Dennis says the predator has victimized more than a handful of students, and he has heard reports there may be as many as 15 young people who have been blackmailed, according to Dennis. 
Dundee Superintendent Kelly Houck says she is not aware of any students in Dundee who have been directly involved.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Schuyler County officials warn homeowners: beware of property deed “scams”

Schuyler County Clerk Theresa Philbin and County Attorney Steven Getman are warning homeowners to be aware of a property deed "scam" that may be taking place in Schuyler County.

“Reports have surfaced recently of a company soliciting homeowners in the area who recently have completed real estate transactions, asking them to pay $89.00 for records which contain public information about their own property,” Getman said.

However, according to Philbin, deeds for every parcel of land in Schuyler County are already recorded and kept on permanent record at the Schuyler County Clerk's Office.

“After a real estate closing the original deed is returned to the property owner or their attorney at no additional charge and if you ever need another copy, you can request one from the county clerk for as little 65 cents per page and often less than five dollars,” Philbin explained.

“All public records can be searched in the county clerk’s office through its indexes Monday- Friday 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM.”

Philbin and Getman also warned that the assessment profile the company is trying to sell includes information that the homeowner does not need, and that could be obtained for free from the County’s Real Property Tax Division or other municipalities.

Currently there is no law against companies selling you your own information, or a limit on what they can charge.

Getman says the best way to protect yourself is to stay vigilant and informed.

"We want the residents of Schuyler County to be aware that the entities marketing such requests are not related to the County Clerk's Office or any other department inside Schuyler County government," Getman said.

If you receive anything in the mail about your property records that seems questionable, Philbin and Getman said that you can contact the county clerk or, in the event of possible criminal activity, local law enforcement.

The Schuyler County Clerk is responsible for all books, files and other necessary equipment for the filing, recording and depositing of documents, maps, papers in actions and special proceedings of both civil and criminal nature, judgment and lien dockets and books for the indexing of the same as directed or authorized by law

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor for county government and its various officials.  The County Attorney prosecutes and defends civil actions on behalf of the county and county employees acting pursuant to their official duties..

Monday, November 26, 2018

How to protect yourself from Cyber Monday scammers

A new report says Cyber Monday provides the perfect environment for cyber criminals: “They offer up distracted shoppers and ample opportunity. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, and online sales alone are expected to reach up to $143 billion.” Here are some tips from to protect yourself online:
• Shop only on secure Internet connections. 
• Do not be tricked by confusingly similar website and domain names.  
• Protect yourself by using credit or debit cards.  
• Beware of misleading bargains and added fees.  
• Compare warranty terms.  
• Know the terms of a layaway plan.  
• Check return and refund policies.  
• Beware of restricted gift cards.  
• Be wary of too-good-to-be-true contests and prize promotions.  
• Read the fine print. 
For more information on how to protect yourself from Cyber Monday scams, click here.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Committee on Women in the Courts to survey attorneys on gender fairness

The New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts is conducting a poll of lawyers, judges and court personnel to examine gender fairness and steps necessary to eliminate gender disparities in the courts:

The Committee has been working with experts to develop and distribute the survey, which will be emailed to a large, random sample of attorneys who have been admitted to practice law in New York State. Those attorneys selected will be able to complete the survey online. Their responses will be confidential and aggregated with others who respond. The Committee is also working with the State’s various bar associations to raise awareness about the survey and encourage attorneys, if selected, to participate.

The survey will address the experiences of attorneys and other court users. Some survey sections cover a broad range of experiences that may be encountered in the court system regardless of the survey participant’s practice area. Other sections ask about specific areas of practice and substantive law, such as family law, matrimonial law and criminal law.

Among the more general questions, the survey will query participants on whether and how gender affects courtroom interactions, the courthouse environment (sexual harassment) and fee-generating appointments and assignments. The survey also contains questions regarding the availability and impact of courthouse children’s centers ̶where litigants and other court users can safely leave their children while they attend to court matters ̶baby-changing tables in public restrooms and lactation facilities.

Survey participants will be instructed to select the responses that best reflect their opinions based upon their own recent experiences or direct knowledge while handling matters in the New York State courts. At the end of each section, respondents will be given the opportunity to offer comments and suggestions.

For more on the survey, click here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Town of Ovid Postpones Public Hearing for Comprehensive Plan

The Public Hearing for the recently completed Town of Ovid Comprehensive Plan, originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, is being adjourned to a later date, to ensure proper legal notification and to allow more time for public review of the draft document.

Upon consultation with the Town Board, Attorney Steven Getman recommended that the hearing take place in December, to allow the Town Clerk time to file a legal written notice, keeping the procedure within the requirements of NY State Law. 

Postponement will also provide more time for residents to review recommended revisions to a small section of the plan.  Those revisions involve minor “corrections” to three paragraphs, which were requested by the Steering Committee but inadvertently omitted from the version that was published for public review.  The page impacted has been posted online, with copies made available at the Town Clerks office and at the Library in Ovid.  While the corrections cannot be made prior to the public hearing, the Town Board wanted the Steering Committee’s intended language to be part of the review process.

The Town Board is expected to formalize and announce the new date/time of the Public Hearing at its meeting on Wednesday.  It is anticipated that the Public Hearing will be rescheduled for 7 pm, during the Town Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on December 12.

“This adjournment will ensure that extraordinary measures have been taken to inform all stakeholders of the Public Hearing,” said Town Attorney Steven Getman.  “From its very beginning, this planning process has been guided by the Town Board’s strong encouragement for all residents to get involved,” Getman stated.

“We hope residents take this opportunity to read the proposed plan, and attend the meeting,” he concluded.

Information about the plan and its process can be found online at or at the Town’s website, .

Monday, November 12, 2018

Schuyler County Budget Public Hearing: Tuesday November 13

There will be a Public Hearing held in regard to the 2019 County Budget in Room 120 of the Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, NY, 14865 on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m., to be followed by a Regular Meeting of the Legislature.

The tentative budget is available online.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Schuyler County youth placed in detention following “school shooter” comments

A twelve-year-old Schuyler County boy who made online threats he was going to be a “professional school shooter” at Odessa Montour Hanlon School was placed in the custody of social service officials on Monday (November 5) by the Schuyler County Family Court.

The boy, whose name was  not released because of his age, was found to be a “Person in Need of Supervision” in June of this year, based on allegations that he made statements constituting “a terroristic threat,” in text messages and in person, a felony if committed by an adult.  Sheriff’s deputies charged the boy after being contacted by school staff who discovered the comments.  County officials took immediate action to ensure that the boy had no access to firearms and that the threats were false.

The case was prosecuted for the county by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman’s office.    At Monday’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution recommended that the boy be placed in detention, due to the underlying charges as well as the boy’s failures to behave in school and cooperate with probation supervision since the June court date.

After reviewing the evidence, Schuyler County Family Court Judge Dennis Morris determined that the boy should be removed from the home for his own good.  Therefore, Morris ordered the boy placed in the custody of the Schuyler County Department of Social Services for up to six months.  

Assisting in the investigation and prosecution of this matter were the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, Odessa Montour Hanlon School officials, the school resource officer, the Schuyler County Probation Department and caseworkers with the Department of Social Services.

Finger Lakes Election Results Available Online

Typically, many of the local boards of election will post their unofficial results online.

The websites for some local boards of election can be found below:
Cayuga County
Chemung County
Ontario County
Seneca County
Schuyler County
Steuben County
Tompkins County
Wayne County
Yates County

Results usually start coming in shortly after the polls close at 9:00 pm and they are updated as new totals are calculated.

These sites are often a good way to keep track of local election results (village, town, county) that otherwise might not be available in the media until the next day.

Friday, November 2, 2018


Please take notice that on the 1st day of November 2018, the Treasurer of the County of Schuyler, pursuant to law, filed with the Clerk of Schuyler County a petition of foreclosure against various parcels of real property for unpaid taxes. Such petition pertains to the following parcels: [see exhibits A, B and C, annexed hereto and made a part hereof]

1. Effect of Filing: All persons having or claiming to have an interest in the real property described in such petition are hereby notified that the filing of such petition constitutes the commencement by the Tax District of a proceeding in the court specified in the caption above to foreclose each of the tax liens therein described by a foreclosure proceeding in rem.

2. Nature of Proceeding: Such proceeding is brought against the real property only and is to foreclose the tax liens described in such petition. No personal judgment will be entered herein for such taxes or other legal charges or any part thereof.

3. Persons Affected: This notice is directed to all persons owning or having or claiming to have an interest in the real property described in such petition. Such persons are hereby notified further that a duplicate of such petition has been filed in the office of the Enforcing Officer of the Tax District and will remain open for public inspection up to and including the date specified below as the last day for redemption.

4. Right of Redemption: Any person having or claiming to have an interest in any such real property and the legal right thereto may on or before said date redeem the same by paying the amount of all such unpaid tax liens thereon, including all interest and penalties and other legal charges which are included in the lien against such real property, computed to and including the date of redemption. Such payments shall be made to: Harriett E. Vickio, Treasurer, County of Schuyler, 105 Ninth St, Unit 17, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.  In the event that such taxes are paid by a person other than the record owner of such real property, the person so paying shall be entitled to have the tax liens affected thereby satisfied of record.

5. Last Day for Redemption: The last day for redemption is hereby fixed as February 20, 2019. 

 6. Service of Answer: Every person having any right, title or interest in or lien upon any parcel of real property described in such petition may serve a duly verified answer upon the attorney for the Tax District setting forth in detail the nature and amount of his or her interest and any defense or objection to the foreclosure. Such answer must be filed in the office of the County Clerk and served upon the attorney for the Tax District on or before the date above mentioned as the last day for redemption.

7. Failure to Redeem or Answer: In the event of failure to redeem or answer by any person having the right to redeem or answer, such person shall be forever barred and foreclosed of all his or her right, title and interest and equity of redemption in and to the parcel described in such petition and a judgment in foreclosure may be taken by default.


The above-captioned proceeding is hereby commenced to enforce the payment of delinquent taxes or other lawful charges which have accumulated and become liens against certain property.

Annexed hereto is a certified copy of a list of delinquent taxes recorded pursuant to section eleven hundred twenty-two of this title, as the same shall have been annotated from time to time by the county clerk pursuant to law, as of the date this petition was executed.

The parcels to which this proceeding applies are those set forth in such list, excluding only those parcels which have been marked “redeemed,” “withdrawn” or “canceled” on such list by the county clerk pursuant to law. In the case of parcels marked “partially redeemed” but not marked “redeemed,” the proceeding applies only to the unredeemed portion of the parcel. All parcels on the list which are unmarked or which are marked with any other notation are subject to this proceeding.

This document serves as both a Petition of Foreclosure and Notice of Foreclosure for purposes of this proceeding.

DATED: 11/01/18

Enforcing Officer:                                                          
Harriett E. Vickio Treasurer, 
County of Schuyler
S/BY: Holley Sokolowski, Deputy Treasurer
105 Ninth St, Unit 17
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Tel: 607.535.8181

Attorney for the tax district:                                            
Steven J. Getman, Schuyler County Attorney
105 Ninth Street, Unit 5
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Tel: 607.535.8121

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Steuben County Man Jailed on Schuyler County Family Court Warrant

Watkins Glen --An Addison man was jailed on $200.00 bail by the Schuyler County Family Court on Thursday (November 1, 2018) on allegations he violated a prior court order.

According to papers filed with the court, Todd G. Jones, age 38, was found to be in contempt of court in July of this year and failed to appear for sentencing on September 11.   The contempt stemmed from his willful failure to obey an existing family court order from 2012.

At Thursday’s court appearance, Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, asked that Jones be sentenced to thirty days in jail, due to his history of non-compliance with court orders. In the alternative, Getman said, the court should set an appropriate bail, to ensure Jones appear for sentencing at a later date.

Jones, through his attorney, asked to be released, pending further proceedings.

After oral argument, Family Court Judge Dennis Morris ordered Jones held on $200.00 bail and set the matter down for further proceedings on November 13.  Jones was then returned to the Schuyler County Jail.

Under New York State law, willful failure to obey a valid Family Court order may subject a party to up to six months’ incarceration for contempt of court.

The County Attorney is the legal advisor to county government and serves as the prosecuting agency for various family court matters, including cases filed by the county’s social services and probation departments.

The charges against family court respondents are allegations and respondents are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Halloween 2018: Be Safe, Avoid Lawsuits, Have Fun

With the growing popularity of Halloween as a holiday, both children and adults are cautioned to put safety first.

Many law enforcement and public safety agencies are issuing reminders nationwide to follow simple safety tips to ensure a safe Halloween, including:
* Warn children about the dangers of
crossing the street.
* Avoid Trick or Treating on very busy streets.
* Always have your children use a sidewalk when there is one.
* To increase visibility, have your children carry a flashlight or glow sticks.
* Apply reflect tape or stickers to costumes.
* Make sure the costume fits your child properly before they venture out, making sure they can see out of their mask.
* Always chaperone in groups.

The National Law Journal reminds us that holiday celebrations in the workplace can create legal issues for employers and that Halloween is no exception:
With Halloween just around the corner, labor and employment attorneys are warning employers that the annual holiday could get scary — in a legal way — if costumes, or a work party, get out of hand.

Specifically, costumes that carry a political or social message, or are simply too raunchy for the workplace, could lead to a liability nightmare down the road.

[A]nother potential liability with Halloween: personal injury suits.

Above all, simple common sense can do a lot to prevent tragedies--and resulting lawsuits--from happening. Halloween is an enjoyable holiday for the entire family. Stay safe, stay smart and have fun.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Help fight the opioid crisis on October 27: bring unused prescription drugs to a drop-off location on National Drug Takeback Day.

As part of Schuyler County’s multi-leveled approach to tackling the opioid epidemic, Schuyler County officials are encouraging community members to participate in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday October 27.

According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, “the initiative is aimed at helping citizens take one of the simplest steps to prevent addiction: safely disposing of unused drugs at drop-off sites around the nation.”

“Statistics indicate that new heroin users start out by misusing prescription drugs,” Getman noted, “and a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from a home medicine cabinet.”

Schuyler County residents can drop off their expired, unused, or unwanted medications between 10 AM and 2 PM at the Odessa and Tyrone Fire Stations. The Odessa Fire Station is located at 300 East Main Street in Odessa. The Tyrone Fire Station can be found at 3600 State Route 226 in Tyrone. Those drop-in stations are being sponsored by Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman and the Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD).

Community members can also dispose of unwanted, expired, and unused prescription drugs year-round by using the 24/7 confidential drop boxes available at the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office in Watkins Glen or in the foyer at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.

Residents of other New York counties can visit to find out where they can safely dispose of medications this Saturday, Getman said. Disposal of unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medication at these locations is "no questions asked" and free of charge.

In addition to advancing efforts for the disposal of unused opioids, Schuyler County’s strategy to attack the national opioid epidemic includes its ongoing lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributers of prescription opiates for damages to the County. In May of this year, Getman filed a nearly 250-page Summons and Complaint for damages to the County arising out of the fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opiates in the County. That case was transferred to Suffolk County Courts shortly thereafter, to join other cases brought by various New York state counties. In June, a New York State Supreme Court Judge refused to dismiss lawsuits against several large opioid manufacturers in one of the earliest decisions to come out of the cases brought by local governments over the prescription painkillers.

Recent reports indicate that opioids now kill more than 50,000 Americans a year, 10,000 more than AIDS did at the peak of that epidemic.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is organized by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Various national organizations have joined the DEA and local agencies in organizing the event, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs’ Association; and The Partnership at

For more information about Schuyler County’s participation in National Drug Take Back Day, click here.

Monday, October 15, 2018

New web platform helps users research meanings of words used in Constitution, Supreme Court opinions

A web platform that provides law-related historic linguistics information was announced recently:
Corpus linguistics involves the use of naturally occurring language in large collections of texts—called corpora—to help determine the meanings of words and phrases, according to a press release about the platform.

The unveiling of the Law and Corpus Linguistics Technology Platform, which is free to use, ties in with Constitution Day, the anniversary of the document’s ratification.

The Corpus of Founding Era American English, which allows users to examine how words from the Constitution were used from 1750 to 1799, is searchable on the platform; as is the Corpus of Early Modern English, which has more than 40,000 texts from 1485 to 1800; and the Corpus of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has more than 32,000 court documents. BYU Dean D. Gordon Smith said in the release that this is “the first corpora featuring all United States Supreme Court rulings (up to the most recent term).”

Georgetown University law professor Lawrence Solum said the new corpora will be helpful to those who want to research the meaning of the Constitution. “The method of corpus linguistics … provides an important tool for the recovery of the original public meaning of the constitutional text.”

The platform is available here. For more on the program, click here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

“Raise the Age” law takes effect: Schuyler County looks at consortium to address new state mandates for housing juvenile and adolescent criminal defendants.

In response to state mandates changing how teenagers charged with crimes can be tried and detained, the Schuyler County Legislature will consider voting Tuesday (October 9) to join a planned ten-county consortium looking at ways to comply with the new “Raise the Age” law and lessen the burden on local taxpayers.

On Wednesday (October 3) the county’s Legislative Resolution Review Committee tentatively approved authorizing Chair Dennis Fagan to sign an Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement between the counties to create a not-for-profit local development corporation. That corporation, if formed, would develop and operate a joint detention facility pursuant to the “Raise the Age” law, eliminating the need for the county to create and operate its own facility. The full legislature will now take up the matter October 9.

Under “Raise the Age,” effective October 1, rather than be tried in criminal court, sixteen-year-olds charged with most crimes will have their cases heard in Family Court. In addition, they can no longer be held in local jails. The law will expand to seventeen-year-olds on October 1, 2019.

According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, who acts as the Family Court prosecutor, youth who are charged with misdemeanors (other than traffic offenses) and most felonies will have their cases heard in Family Court, except in “extraordinary circumstances.” Cases involving sex offenses, defendants who display a weapon while committing a crime or cause a significant physical injury can still be tried in criminal court, Getman said.

“The teenagers who have their cases heard in Family Court, will have their sentences capped at 18 months in a juvenile detention facility,” Getman noted. “They also will no longer be held in jails, regardless of the seriousness of the charges against them.”

According to Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, although the state certifies and regulates detention facilities, the state does not develop or administer the facilities, leaving that to the counties.

“This group of counties is working with a consultant to determine how to best meet the detention mandate by pooling our resources and needs,” O’Hearn explained. “It is our hope that this plan will allow Schuyler County to once again lessen the burden of state government through intermunicipal cooperation.”

O’Hearn added that the consortium should operate at no cost to the county because the state has promised reimbursement for all costs related to probation, youth detention and alternatives to detention, and allocated $100 million for “Raise the Age” in the 2018-19 budget.

Other counties who have joined—or are looking to join—the consortium are Allegany, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Cattaraugus, Wayne, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Yates. The counties have already contracted with John Treahy, of Treahy and Associates Consultation Services, an organization experienced in juvenile justice and child welfare issues, job coaching and staff training.

In addition to O’Hearn and Getman, Schuyler County officials working to comply with “Raise the Age” include District Attorney Joe Fazzary (whose office will continue to prosecute adult offenders), Social Services Commissioner JoAnn Fratarcangelo, Sheriff William Yessman and Probation Director Chris Rosno.

The “Raise the Age” law is intended as a shift from punishing to rehabilitating teens charged with crimes. While in custody, the suspects will be eligible for a variety of case services and programs to divert them from offending again and give them access to treatment for addiction or other problems.

The “Raise the Age NY Campaign” believes the law will be more effective in preventing re-offenses. They cite a U.S. Center for Disease Control study that found youth who are tried in the adult criminal justice system are 34 percent more likely to commit future crimes than those who remain in the youth justice system.

The legislature’s October 9 meeting will be held at the Schuyler County Courthouse, 105 Ninth Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, beginning at 6:30 pm.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Schuyler County Presents: Planning for Peace of Mind

Schuyler County will present “Planning for Peace of Mind” on Saturday, October 6 at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls, New York.

Informational table topics will include Medicare Plans, Powers of Attorney, Wills, Volunteering and Community Programs and Services.

Presentations will be given on the following topics:

• Power of Attorney in Detail Workshop;
• Elder Law Survival Guide, Elder Abuse;
• Top Five Things You Need to Know about Medicare Open Enrollment;
• The Probate Process.
The event runs from 9:00 am to Noon at the 323 Owego Street, Conference Room 120, Montour Falls, New York.

Free breakfast snacks with coffee will be provided.

RSVP is required. To register to attend or for more information, please call the Schuyler County Office for the Aging at 607.535.7108.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Third National Prosecutors' Summit on Child Abuse

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys' Child Abuse Prosecution Project will be holding its third National Prosecutors’ Summit on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The summit is being held in Montclair, New Jersey on September 25-27 and featurs instruction from leading experts in the field of child abuse and neglect on cutting edge topics employing the most current model practices for investigating and prosecuting cases of child abuse and neglect.

These three days will consist of multiple tracks being available for prosecutors, investigators, law enforcement, forensic interviewers, social workers, and other multi-disciplinary team members.

The conference is being co-sponsored by the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, the New Jersey Children's Alliance, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, and Montclair State University.

For more information, click here.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Schuyler County recognizes September 17 as Constitution and Citizenship Day

The Schuyler County Legislature has enacted a resolution recognizing September 17 as Constitution and Citizenship Day.

The resolution, drafted by County Attorney Steven Getman, urges civil and educational authorities of states, counties, cities and towns to make plans for the proper observance of the day and “for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.” It was passed by the legislature at its September 10 meeting.

September 17 marks the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which, the resolution notes, "is the supreme law of the land and the document by which the people of this country self-govern."

In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the Americans who strive to uphold the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day."

The complete text of the resolution appears below.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Schuyler County joins class action lawsuit against U.S. Department of Interior

Watkins Glen, NY—Schuyler County has successfully opted into a class action lawsuit against the federal government to recover payments in lieu of property taxes on federal lands within the county.

According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, the county was notified Friday (August 31) that its claim had been accepted in the Kane County, Utah v. United States class action lawsuit to recover federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) underpayments for fiscal years 2015 through 2017.

The County Legislature voted August 13 to authorize Getman to file papers joining the lawsuit.

The United States Court of Claims has held that underpayments by the Department of Interior on federal PILT programs in Kane County and other local governments may have occurred during 2015 to 2017, Getman explained.   The PILT Act is intended to compensate local governments for tax revenues lost from federal lands in their jurisdictions, and the costs of providing services to those lands, Getman said.

That could include the part of the Finger Lakes National Forest in the Town of Hector, Getman said.

“If court determines the county was underpaid under PILT agreements for lands in the National Forest, the county can recover additional money” Getman said.   “There is no cost to participate in the lawsuit and no disadvantage to the county to do so.”

According to County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, “any money collected would go to the county as direct revenue to offset the cost of services to the forest and lost tax revenue, in order to reduce the local tax burden.”

“Given the fiscal stresses placed on local governments by state and federal mandates, county officials have a duty to make sure that any funds due Schuyler County taxpayers come back to Schuyler County to pay for necessary services,” Getman noted.

County Treasurer Harriett Vickio has reported that the County received payments for the affected years as follows:  2015, $16,526.00; 2016, $17,244.00; 2017, $17,091.00.   

Any additional amounts for those years obtained from the lawsuit would be calculated by the court, Getman said.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Schuyler County offers "Powerful Tools for Caregivers" program

Are you struggling to balance your daily life while caregiving for a loved one?

The Schuyler County Office for the Aging will host "Powerful Tools for Caregivers," a six-week educational powerful tools training provided by Lifespan, for family and friends who are caring for older adults suffering with long-term conditions. This program focuses on the needs of the caregiver. The classes will be held at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex, Conference Room 115, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, from 3:00pm-4:30pm on:

• Tuesday, September 25th
• Tuesday, October 2nd
• Tuesday, October 9th
• Tuesday, October 16th
• Tuesday, October 23rd
• Tuesday, October 30th
The class provides you, the caregiver, with the skills and confidence you need to better care for yourself while caring for others. Caregivers will develop a wealth of self-care tools to reduce personal stress, change negative self-talk, and communicate their needs to family members and healthcare providers. Caregivers will also develop skills to communicate more effectively in challenging situations, recognize the messages in their emotions, deal with difficult feelings, and make tough caregiving decisions.

Participants also receive a FREE copy of The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class.

Registration is required. Please call Office for the Aging, 607-535-7108, for additional information or to reserve your spot in the classes.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tips for Schuyler and Seneca County residents impacted by flood damage to avoid scams when hiring contractors

In response to last week’s flooding in Schuyler and Seneca Counties, which left many property owners with extensive damage, New York State officials have released a list of tips for consumers to avoid being scammed, when hiring a contractor:
          Be specific about what work you want done.
          Educate yourself about the required permits – don't rely solely on the contractor.
          Shop around.
          Get references and check them.
          Get proof of insurance from the contractor.
          Check licenses (if required).
          Never pay the full price upfront.
          Always put work to be done in writing, including all add-ons.
          Know where your payments are going.
          Never do business with a contractor who is unwilling to abide by any of the conditions above.

New York State law requires every home improvement contractor, before beginning work to provide the consumer with a written contract to be signed by both parties that sets out certain specific information and disclosures, including:
          Proposed start and completion dates;
          Particular description of the work to be done;
          Materials to be provided; and
          Notice that the consumer has an unconditional three-day right to cancel the contract without penalty.

In addition, the law requires that any advance deposits taken by the contractor must be placed into an account at a banking institution separate from the contractor’s other funds. The contractor must notify the consumer of the banking institution at which the deposit is kept.
If you feel you have been victimized, please feel free to contact the New York State Attorney General's Office at 1-800-771-7755 or local law enforcement agencies in your area.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Schuyler and Yates Counties to Share Public Health Director, Expand Shared Services

In a move towards continued cost savings and increased efficiency, Schuyler and Yates counties have adopted resolutions authorizing the sharing of a Public Health Director between the two counties.

At their respective meetings on Monday, August 13, county legislators voted to authorize an Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) permitting the consolidation of this position within the two counties.

The aim of the project is to work collaboratively while maintaining two distinctive health departments with shared leadership and integrated service delivery. Both departments will be governed by their respective legislatures and/or boards of health.

Yates Chairman Doug Paddock commented “As we continue to seek efficiencies for our residents and taxpayers, this most recent move exemplifies the commitment of both counties towards improving service delivery while lowering costs.”

Schuyler Chairman Dennis Fagan added, “While we continue to struggle with unfunded mandates and their associated escalating costs, it is great to be able to partner with our neighbors to the north, to achieve real savings for our residents.” 

Both Chairs expressed their appreciation to County Attorneys Steven Getman (Schuyler) and Scott Falvey (Yates) for their efforts in crafting an IMA that both Legislatures agreed upon.

The agreement, which now goes to the NYS Department of Health for approval, is in response to the announced retirement of Schuyler Public Health Director Marcia Kasprzyk, and the desire to further collaboration between each county. 

According to Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn while the combined savings approach $100,000 annually, the move will actually provide increased levels of service as each county shares departmental resources. 

By combining some resources, functions, and staff in their health departments, the two counties provide services that enhance their role as public health facilitators and educators in their respective communities, including:
  • ·        Public health education
  • ·        Emergency preparedness
  • ·        Childhood Early Intervention Programs
  • ·        Residential sanitary inspections
  • ·        Flu clinics
  • ·        Rabies clinics

O’Hearn stated “I commend both Marcia and Deb for their initiative in bringing this recommendation to their respective Legislatures. It is not often in government that such a collaborative and non-parochial approach to administration is achieved and this is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to public health!”

This is the latest shared service initiative between Yates and Schuyler, who currently share a Director of Weights and Measures and Code Enforcement responsibilities.

Both Counties have long recognized that inter-municipal cooperation can help local governments increase effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of services and is encouraged by the New York State legislature via broad statutory authority.  Here, the counties are taking advantage of legislation passed in 2011 that allows up to three county public health offices in counties with a combined population of less than 150,000 to share staff and services under the management of one public health director.

A County Health Department's mission is to protect and promote the health of its residents through prevention, science and the assurance of quality health care delivery.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ovid Town Board passes resolution supporting Seneca County development of a nine-element watershed plan for Seneca And Cayuga Lakes

The Town Board of the Town of Ovid passed a resolution on Wednesday (August 8) calling on Seneca County government to develop a Nine-Element Plan to pinpoint sources of pollution and steps to preserve the water quality of Seneca and Cayuga lakes.

The resolution, authored by Town Attorney Steven Getman, calls on Seneca County Government to work with representatives of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, the Finger Lakes Institute, the Cayuga Lake Association, the Cayuga Watershed Improvement Cooperative and other stakeholders in preparing an application for funding a Nine-Element Plan, and ultimately in preparing and implementing the plan.

“Consistent countywide efforts to protect the watersheds of the lakes are preferable to town-by-town measures which may be inconsistent and ineffective due to the geography of the county and the watersheds,” Getman explained.

“Experience over the past decade has shown that effective watershed management includes active participation from stakeholders, analysis and quantification of the specific causes and sources of water quality problems, identification of measurable water quality goals, and implementation of specific actions needed to solve those problems.”

The resolution passed unanimously among the board members present. Voting for the measure were Supervisor Walt Prouty and board members Eric Holmberg and Joe Borst. Board members Mark Beardsley and Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty were absent.

Following the vote, the board asked Town Clerk Michele Vangalio to forward a copy to the Seneca County Board of Supervisors.

A Nine-Element Watershed Management Plan is a clean water plan that details a community’s water quality concerns and a strategy to address these concerns. The plans are developed by people who live and work within the watershed with support from local and state agencies. The elements are intended to ensure that the contributing causes and sources of nonpoint source pollution are identified, that key stakeholders are involved in the planning process, and that restoration and protection strategies are identified that will address the water quality concerns.

The plans are consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation framework for developing watershed plans, and funding is available from the Department of State for 75% of the plan’s cost.

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors previously considered a motion considering a nine-element plan for Seneca and Keuka Lakes. The Ovid resolution asks that Cayuga be included in any such efforts as well.

In July, reports surfaced that Cayuga Lake is being monitored for Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB's), a visually identifiable bacterium which is blue or green in color and slightly resembles wet paint. People are advised to steer clear of the toxic bacteria, which is especially harmful to elderly people, those with weaker immune systems, dogs, and other pets.

The Town of Ovid, located in the geographic center of Seneca County, is bordered on the west by Seneca Lake and on the east side by Cayuga Lake.