Vacant Deputy County Executive position will not be filled

By Jillian Marshall

July 17, 2014 Updated Jul 17, 2014 at 6:09 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A vacant Deputy County Executive position will not be filled in order to help cut down the county's budget.

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston (R) made the announcement Thursday morning.

She said this change will save tax payers nearly $100,000 a year in salary and benefits.

"Who am I to ask my departments to make these cuts, if I'm not willing to do so myself? That's not being a good leader," Preston said.

The position has been vacant since May, when Bijoy Datta stepped down.

Deputy County Executive John Bernardo will continue to serve with Preston.

To help balance the work load of the vacant position, Commissioner of Social Service Art Johnson will oversee the Office for Aging and the Willow Point Nursing Home.

Commissioner of Public Works Dan Schofield will oversee B.C. Transit and the departments of aviation.

Preston adds that as the county moves through the budget process, more changes may come to help keep a balanced spending plan.

She will make a formal budget address in front of the Broome County Legislature in September.

By law, three Deputy County Executives are allowed.

Broome County Legislator Jason Garnar (D) is pushing for a piece of legislation to allow voters in Broome County the choice of reducing the number of Deputy Broome County Executive positions.

"Unfortunately, when you leave a position vacant, you can always change your mind or another County Executive could always change their mind down the road. So what this would do, this would just change the charter and keep that one Deputy County Executive permanent. I mean the President only has one Vice President, so the County Executive only needs one Deputy County Executive," Garnar said.

The resolution will be considered by the legislature in August.

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