Cayuga County Legislature moving forward in county attorney search

Cayuga County Legislature moving forward in county attorney search

Cayuga County Government Operations Nov. 6

The Cayuga County Legislature's Government Operations Committee voted Tuesday to change the hiring process to fill the recently vacated position of county attorney.

AUBURN — The Cayuga County Legislature continues to move forward in the search for a new county attorney after the position was abruptly vacated last month, with a committee Tuesday deciding how the hiring process should proceed.

The Legislature's Government Operations Committee voted to change the hiring process for the position from what was prescribed at a special meeting of the Legislature last week, during which an acting county attorney was also appointed.

Previously, the county administrator and human resources director were authorized to advertise for and interview potential candidates before making a recommendation to the Legislature to fill the vacancy left after Fred Westphal suddenly resigned in October. In a resignation letter, Westphal did not provide a reason for the resignation.

On Tuesday, the committee passed a resolution, which was itself amended, to change the process to allow for Legislature Chair Patrick Mahunik, D-Auburn, to recommend to the Legislature how the hiring committee should be composed and later who should sit on it.

Legislator Tucker Whitman, R-Sterling, introduced the amendment for that process, while the resolution would have previously made the Government Operations Committee itself responsible for the hiring process.

Whitman proposed the amendment after Legislator Keith Batman, D-Springport, expressed concern that the original proposal was not in line with past precedent for hiring major positions.

The amendment and the resolution passed unanimously, with Legislator Joe DeForest, D-Venice, suggesting that whoever joins the committee must be willing to actually participate in the process.

"The players have to be available and attend. Make the commitment," DeForest said.

The resolution provided for the position to be advertised at a salary range of $100,000 to $125,000.

Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin


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