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Broome County to Transfer Court Security Officers to State

     BINGHAMTON, NY - Echoing a major theme of her election campaign, County Executive Barbara J. Fiala announced today an agreement with the New York State Unified Court System that will transfer the responsibility for providing security in the Broome County Courts to the state court system.

“In this day and age it is imperative that all levels of government seriously question and analyze how they do business. Coordination and consolidation, where appropriate, is a task incumbent upon every elected official and public agency,” stated Executive Fiala. “Therefore, I am pleased to announce today that Broome County and the Sixth Judicial District, Unified Court System, have agreed that the court security function now provided by the Broome Security Division will transfer to state responsibility as soon as practicable.”

Shifting the responsibility from a contractual basis with Broome County to the court system will, stated the County Executive, “provide significant short and long-term savings to the county, while at the same time, court officials assure me, best meet the long-range objectives of the Unified Court System.”

Under the agreement, which has been approved by all parties and which will be officially announced this week by Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts, employees of the Broome Security Division who currently serve as contract court security officers and who qualify under the provisions of Civil Service Law will have the opportunity to choose to transfer to the court system. Current assigned officers who choose not to do so will remain with the Broome Security Division.

Among the savings that the county will accrue include the reduction of from 20-25 full-time employees from the payroll, and the transfer of all current accrued sick, annual leave and all long-term pension benefits from the county to the state, stated Fiala. In addition, “significant administrative costs now assumed by the county will be eliminated along with the security responsibility. The transfer will yield great savings over the upcoming years and decades, savings that will go to lowering taxes for our residents.”

Speaking for the courts, G. Russell Oechsle, Executive Assistant to Sixth District Administrative Judge Judith F. O’Shea, stated that the courts reacted after County Executive Fiala made a formal request for the transfer in the Fall of 2005. “The proposal was approved by Judge O’Shea and Upstate Administrative Judge Jan H. Plumadore, and the Sixth District formally requested funds in the state 2006-2007 budget to support the transfer,” stated Oechsle. “The funding request was included in the Governor’s request, and funds were approved by the Legislature that will provide for the transfer, now slated for mid-July.”

Among the advantages to the courts, stated Oechsle, will be the fact that “chain of command, training and assignment functions will be under a single authority, simplifying lines of communication and streamlining responsiveness to the needs of our judges, staff and the public. The courts fully expect that the return on the investment by the court system will be significant.”