Monday, December 28, 2020

Schuyler County Court employee tests positive for Coronavirus

A contact investigation is underway and is being conducted by the Schuyler County Health Department to identify close contacts and potential exposures. The Health Department will notify anyone who may have been exposed and will advise them as to what steps they need to take. The individual has been at home in isolation since samples were collected.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Schuyler County proclaims January 2021 as National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month.

The Schuyler County Legislature has passed a resolution to raise awareness of, and opposition to, human trafficking and modern slavery.

The resolution, submitted to the legislature by the office of County Attorney Steven Getman, designates January 2021 as National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month, “to acknowledge the vital role that the people of the United States have in ending human trafficking and modern slavery, culminating in the observance on February 1, 2021, of National Freedom Day.”  It was passed  by the county legislature at its regular monthly meeting on Monday (December 14).

Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex, Getman explained. It affects all populations and all economic classes, including both adults and children.

According to the resolution, human trafficking and modern slavery have been reported and investigated in each of the fifty states.   It calls for “continued partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as social service providers and nonprofit organizations to address human trafficking with a collaborative, victim-centered approach; and all other efforts to prevent, eradicate, and raise awareness of, and opposition to, human trafficking and modern slavery.”

According to Getman, the recognition period for National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month is because January 1 is the anniversary of the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation and February 1, “National Freedom Day,” is the anniversary of the date on which President Lincoln sent the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which outlawed slavery, to the states for ratification.  The month was first federally recognized in 2010.

Getman noted that citizens who suspect an act of human trafficking in their area, can report a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. This national, toll free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country.

A copy of Schuyler County’s resolution is available below.

Resolution Supporting the r... by Steven Getman

Monday, December 7, 2020

Second Amendment Legal Update: December 2020

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.
For a complete PDF copy of this month's update, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2020

New protections for domestic violence victims: NY’s Updated Address Confidentiality Program

Victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and human trafficking now have another tool to help keep themselves safe from their perpetrators: The New York State Department of State has announced a new online application portal for the Address Confidentiality Program.

The new online application is designed to provide swift and secure enrollment into the program for individuals who could previously only apply through the mail or by fax.

In effect since November 1, 2019, the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) "is a cost-free State program that allows victims of domestic violence to shield their actual address."

According to the Department of State:

Participants are assigned a substitute address which they will use for receipt of all first-class, registered and certified mail. The Secretary of State will also accept service of process on behalf of ACP participants. Participants' mail will then be re-packaged and mailed to their actual or mailing addresses. This program is one facet of an overall safety plan for victims of domestic violence. The ACP program is not a witness protection plan.

Using an ACP substitute address. Upon certification as an ACP participant, the participant will be provided with an ID card which will contain his/her name, unique ID number and the substitute address, which is a Post Office box in Albany, New York. The card will also indicate the expiration date for the program participant. ACP contact information is on the back of the ID card. The participant should use this substitute address in all dealings with state and local agencies, which are required by law to accept this address. Private companies such as utility providers, stores and other companies may not automatically accept the substitute address. Participants should show their ACP ID card to any of these entities when attempting to use the substitute address.

Participants in the ACP have designated the Secretary of State to accept any legal notices (process) on their behalf. The Secretary of State’s office will not reveal any identifying information to the process server. We will only verify whether the person being served is an ACP participant. A copy of any process will be mailed to the participant’s actual or mailing address via certified mail.

Any first class, registered or certified mail sent to the substitute address will be re-packaged and forwarded to the participant’s actual or mailing address. This is done on a daily basis, Monday through Friday (except holidays). Participants should expect a five to seven day delay in receiving their mail. ACP will not forward packages, periodicals and catalogs, unless clearly identifiable as pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs) or they were sent by a government agency.

For more information, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Danks Burke Elections Lawsuit against Schuyler County dismissed.

Watkins Glen, NY (November 16, 2020)—A New York State Supreme Court Judge has thrown out the lawsuit filed by Democratic candidate  for NYS Senate Leslie Danks Burke against the Schuyler County Board of Elections.


In court on Monday, (November 16) Justice Christopher Baker agreed with the motion to dismiss filed by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman on behalf of the Board of Elections and dismissed the case in its entirety.  According to the motion papers, Danks Burke did not follow New York law to obtain jurisdiction over the Board.


The motion papers also stated that further proceedings, if any, would have shown the election count was done in accordance with New York State law and was decided on unanimous agreement of both election commissioners: Republican Joseph Fazzary and Democrat Carolyn Elkins.  Both commissioners had submitted an affidavit to the court asking that the case be thrown out.


Danks Burke, of Ithaca, was the Democratic Party candidate for state senate in the 58th district.  Unofficial results showed her trailing the Republican incumbent, Tom O’ Mara.


A complete copy of Schuyler County’s motion to dismiss can be found here.

Danks Burke has approximately thirty days to attempt to appeal the dismissal to the New York State Appellate Division of Supreme Court in Albany.



Monday, November 16, 2020

Schuyler County moves to dismiss Danks Burke Election lawsuit

Watkins Glen (November 13, 2020)--The Schuyler County Board of Elections has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Democratic candidate for NYS Senate Leslie Danks Burke.

The motion was filed by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman on behalf of the Board of Elections. According to the court papers, Danks Burke did not follow New York law to obtain jurisdiction and the lawsuit must be dismissed.

The motion papers also state that further proceedings would allege the election count was done in accordance with New York law and was decided on unanimous agreement of both election commissioners: Republican Joseph Fazzary and Democrat Carolyn Elkins.

Danks Burke, in statements to the press, had singled out Fazzary for her complaint.

The case is currently scheduled to be heard in Schuyler County Supreme Court on Monday (November 16), with NYS Justice Christopher Baker presiding.

“Schuyler County is committed to full, fair and open elections,” Getman said. “Both our election commissioners, Republican and Democrat, work tirelessly to ensure that all proceedings are open and transparent.”

Danks Burke was the Democratic Party candidate for state senate in the 58th district. Unofficial results showed her trailing the Republican incumbent, Tom O’ Mara.

A complete copy of Schuyler County’s motion to dismiss can be found here.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Schuyler County Tax Foreclosure, Index No. 19-145, Notice of Petition and Petition in Foreclosure


Please take notice that on the 2nd day of November, 2020, the Treasurer, County of Schuyler (the “Enforcing Officer”) of the County of Schuyler (the “Tax District”), 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: Holley Sokolowski, 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 26, 2021. 


 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.

Notice and Petition of Fore... by Steven Getman

Monday, November 2, 2020

Second Amendment Legal Update: November 2020

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.

If you have not already done so, get out and vote.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Schuyler County Residents: Make your homeownership dreams a reality, with a Homebuyer Education Class

Join Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services to learn how to become a successful and happy homeowner.

The class will be held virtually on Mondays, November 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM via Zoom and will cover:

• How much money you need to buy a home
• Your credit score and how it affects you
• How much house you can afford
• What a Realtor can do for you
• How to get a mortgage
• How to pick the right home
• Home Inspections
• How to protect your investment
Participants can also get a free copy of their credit report as well as free one-on-one support.

Down payment and closing cost assistance is also available to first-time buyers — find out if you qualify: The INHS service area includes: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties.

The registration fee is $25.00 (Virtual Special for 2020: 2/3 off).

For more information or to register, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

Schuyler County Legislature to Take Up Resolution Opposing the Issuance of a Permit to Operate A Waste Management Facility in The Town of Cayuta, County of Schuyler.

The Schuyler County Legislature will vote at its October meeting on a resolution opposing a proposed solid waste materials recovery facility in the county.

The resolution passed the legislature’s Community Development and Natural ResourcesCommittee in draft form on Tuesday (September 29, 2020).  It calls upon the Department of Environmental Conservation to reject the proposal of Alternative Waste Services Inc. for a facility in the Town of Cayuta, pending a revised application, additional public comment and “a full, fair and exhaustive environmental review of this project.” 

According to the draft resolution, Alternative Waste Services has proposed building a 10,575 square foot materials recovery facility off NYS Route 13 that would accept municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris and source-separated recyclables.   The proposal is awaiting final DEC approval.  Earlier in September,  DEC waived a full environmental impact statement after finding that the project would result in no significant adverse impacts on the environment.

Schuyler County Legislature

However, in response to public concern, county officials reviewed the documents submitted to DEC and noted areas of concern with the current application, “wh
ich appear to be unaddressed or insufficiently addressed by the DEC review,” the draft resolution notes.  Among the public concerns cited in the draft resolution are that the facility could have potential negative impacts on tourism, agriculture and human health due to truck traffic and water pollution, as well as worries about possible expansion.  Therefore, the draft resolution requests that Alternative Waste Services submit a revised application to address legitimate areas of concern prior to any DEC decision on the project.

 Prior to passing the draft resolution, the committee heard from members of the public who spoke for and against the proposed facility, including a member of the Cayuta Town Board, a representative of Alternative Waste Services and a speaker from Seneca Lake Guardian, a nonprofit advocacy group.

The draft resolution was submitted to the committee by County Planning Director Kristin VanHorn, with input from County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, CountyAttorney Steven Getman and Committee Chairman Mark Rondinaro.

 The full legislature will consider the resolution at its meeting Tuesday October 13, at 6:30 pm at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. The public is invited to attend.  COVID-19 social distancing, crowd sizes and other safety measures will be in place.

 A copy of the draft resolution is available here.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

Voters warned about election crimes ahead of the November 2020 election

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning to educate voters about federal election crimes and how to avoid them, and to encourage voters to report suspected violations.

According to the warning, election crimes fall into four broad categories:

• Ballot fraud
• Campaign finance violations
• Patronage offenses
• Civil rights violations, such as voter suppression or voter intimidation
“While individual states and localities have the constitutional authority and responsibility to manage elections and have their own election laws,” the FBI notes, “an election crime becomes a federal crime when one or more of the following occurs”:
• A ballot includes one or more federal candidates
• Election or polling place officials abuse their office
• The conduct involves false voter registration
• The crime is motivated by hostility toward minority protected classes
• The activity violates federal campaign finance law
The release also notes that individual states and localities have the constitutional authority and responsibility to manage elections and have their own election laws. Voters are urged to know the law, know their rights and report any suspected election crimes to the appropriate law enforcement or elections authorities. For more information, click here.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Schuyler County SCOPE To Make Free Gun Locks Available In Schuyler County Through Partnership With County Attorney

The Schuyler County Chapter of Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) in conjunction with the Office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, is giving away free cable-style gun locks to Schuyler County families.

The locks can be obtained from the County Attorney’s Office by calling 607.535.8121 during normal business hours and scheduling a pickup time. One lock will be available per household and will be provided on a “first come, first serve” basis. Supplies are limited.

“We are pleased to have the Schuyler County Attorney’s Office as a partner in this educational program” said Daniel Phillips, Schuyler County SCOPE Secretary. “The mission of SCOPE is to educate the public on the importance of our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, as well as to make every effort to educate anti-gun politicians. We can help accomplish this by promoting responsible voluntary gun safety measures for gun owners that do not conflict with the Second Amendment.”

“Partnering with County Attorney Getman allows SCOPE to participate in a countywide effort to promote firearms safety education and increase awareness of just one of Governor Cuomo’s many gun laws. We are 100% membership funded and made up of concerned gun owners and conservation clubs across New York State.”

According to Getman, the giveaway will also help ensure that gun owners are in compliance with New York’s strict firearms storage laws, which require them to lock up their firearms while living in a home with someone under the age of 16.

“We encourage county residents to pick up a free lock so that they can securely store their firearm,” said Getman. “The locks fit on most types of handguns, rifles and shotguns. The cable is threaded through the weapon and blocks the barrel or the use of ammunition. It’s secured by a padlock and key.”

“The goal is to prevent a young child or other unauthorized person from accessing a firearm in the home.”

Phillips and Getman noted that the locks have been donated by SCOPE and, therefore, there is no county charge to the taxpayers for this service.

SCOPE is a non-partisan statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to educating the public about firearm ownership, Second Amendment rights and legislation. The Schuyler County chapter’s meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm in January, March, May, October and as necessary at the Montour Falls Moose Lodge, 2096 Co Rd 14, Montour Falls, NY 14865.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor to the county legislature, county administrator and other county officials. In addition, the county attorney prosecutes family court cases of child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency and other civil matters on behalf of county officials.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Schuyler County Honors Sept. 17 as Constitution and Citizenship Day

The Schuyler County Legislature is recognizing Thursday (Sept 17) as Constitution and Citizenship Day.

The legislature’s 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.”

The resolution was approved at the legislature’s Sept. 14 meeting.

Sept. 17 is the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which, the county 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 on Feb. 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated Sept.17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.


Monday, September 14, 2020

New law gives New York Judges authority to waive surcharges and fees for people under 21

New York courts now have broad discretion to waive surcharges and fees where the judge finds that the person being sentenced was under the age of 21 at the time of the offense and that:
· the waiver is in the interests of justice;
· the imposition of the surcharge or fee would work an unreasonable hardship on the defendant, the defendant’s immediate family, or any other person dependent on the defendant for support; or
· after considering the goal of promoting successful and productive reentry and reintegration), the imposition of the surcharge or fee would adversely impact the defendant’s reintegration into society.
The new law was effective August 24, 2020 and the full text is available here.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Second Amendment Legal Update: September 2020

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.

Monday, August 31, 2020

New summaries on aging and disability law released

The Government Law Center at Albany Law School has released two new publications in its "explainer" series on Aging and Disability Law for state and local policy makers:
• “Adult Protective Services – Autonomy Versus Protection
• “Guardianship for Adults with Developmental Disabilities in New York.”
A news release from the center explains:
“These explainers provide accessible information about the legal protections for vulnerable older adults and individuals with disabilities, two groups making up a significant part of our communities. It’s something that touches us all, because it’s very likely someone we are close to falls into one of these groups….Throughout its history, the Government Law Center has focused on providing law and policy makers with options for reforming existing laws and designing new ones. Our Aging and Disability Law explainer series is our latest contribution to helping meet the needs of this growing and diverse population.”

Prior summaries released were:
• “Healthcare Proxies: Appointing People with the Power to Make Healthcare Decisions for Others."
• “‘Act Now’ Healthcare Proxies.”
• “Hospital Ethics Committees.“
• “The New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.”
For more on these publications and the Government Law Center, click here.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Schuyler County announces rabies clinic for cats and ferrets

Please see attached the flyer for our next rabies clinic being held September 1st from 6-7 pm at the Shared Services Building in Watkins Glen. The clinic is for cats and ferrets only. Registration is required by August 28th.
Add caption

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Schuyler County offers Medicare 101 classes

This class will be held virtually, in a Zoom classroom setting. For more information, or to register, please contact the Schuyler County Office for the Aging.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Schuyler County Considers Generic Drug Price Lawsuit

Schuyler County legislators are considering a resolution to join Federal, state and municipal governments in suing the makers of generic drugs over alleged price-fixing.

The County Legislature will vote Monday (August 10) on a resolution authorizing County Attorney Steven Getman to join forces with Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a New York City law firm “in the investigation and/or prosecution of any legal claim against manufactures of generic pharmaceuticals and/or their executives based upon their actions in fixing prices, allocating markets, and engaging in other antitrust violations or other wrongdoing with respect to generic pharmaceuticals.”

According to Getman, the county will be investigating claims in several areas.  These include possible overpayments of Medicaid reimbursements, increased health insurance premiums for county employees and higher costs of pharmaceuticals purchased for use by county agencies, all based upon artificially inflated generic drug prices.

Various government agencies have already commenced suit, Getman said, alleging violations of state and Federal antitrust laws and consumer protection statutes.  

“In 2014, the Department of Justice began an investigation into the pricing of various generic pharmaceuticals,” Getman explained. “In the wake of the Federal investigation, in 2017, the state attorneys’ general of 48 states brought a civil action alleging price fixing, market division, and other antitrust violations by 16 defendant pharmaceutical companies related to fifteen (15) generic prescription drugs.”

“As alleged, the defendants' anti-competitive conduct falls principally into two categories.   First, the defendants, allegedly communicated with each other to determine and agree on how much market share each would control and which customers each competitor was entitled to.  Second, competitors allegedly communicated -- either in person, by telephone, or by text message -- and agreed to collectively raise and/or maintain prices for a particular generic drug.”

The lawsuits, Getman said, now involve over 100 generic drugs and 21 pharmaceutical manufacturer defendants, including Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer, Actavis, Amneal, Apotex, Aurobindo, Breckenridge, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Glenmark, Greenstone, Lannett, Lupin, Par, Rising, Taro Israel, Taro USA, Upsher-Smith, Wockhardt USA and Zydus.

“The key question in formulating a lawsuit is determining for which generic drug(s) each county has overpaid, and whether each was direct or indirect purchaser of same,” Getman explained.  “As noted, hundreds of generic drugs have been implicated. Each affected county or municipality can bring an action asserting overpayments for each applicable generic drug.”

According to County AdministratorTim O’Hearn, any lawsuit will be filed at no risk to the county, as Napoli Shkolnik will work on contingency basis that will cover all costs associated with the lawsuit.

“By voting to go forward with possible litigation, the County Legislature hopes to lessen the burden to taxpayers and seeks to hold manufacturers responsible for any unlawful role in the high cost of generic drugs,” O’Hearn said. 

Separately, three other New York counties (Greene, Schenectady  and Essex) are already working with Napoli Shkolnik on a lawsuit likely to be heard in Federal court in eastern Pennsylvania, and the state Association of Counties last month circulated a memo suggesting other counties consider joining the effort.

In addition to the generics case, Schuyler County has been working with Napoli Shkolnik to prosecute a pending action against the manufacturers and distributers of prescription opiates for damages to the county arising out of the fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opiates in and to the county.

The next regular meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature will be held in the Schuyler County Human Services Building, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, New York on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm.  The meeting is open to the public and all required COVID-19-related safety protocols will be in place.

A copy of the county’s proposed resolution is available here.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Second Amendment Legal Update: August 2020

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.