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Candidates sought by different means for Lewis County manager, attorney spots

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators will be considering applications for two positions when they resume in January, though the process to attract potential candidates has been handled differently for the spots.

For the county manager, vacant since the resignation of David H. Pendergast on April 30, advertising brought in 10 applicants in May.

Legislators elected not to appoint from that pool of candidates, instead readvertising and receiving an additional seven applications in June.

Brian J. Wohnsiedler, Harrisville, former executive director of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, was selected to replace Mr. Pendergast. Prior to his appointment, however, legislators tabled his appointment to further vet the candidate after concerns were raised about his departure from his previous post, where he had been borrowing money against future state grants to continue to pay operating costs. Though no criminal action was found, the former director stepped down in February after the Soil and Water board said it had lost confidence in him.

Legislators then withdrew the resolution to appoint Mr. Wohnsiedler and decided to wait to fill the position in January 2014, as reappointment would be necessary at that time regardless of who was hired. Mr. Wohnsiedler is apparently out of the running for the job, since he took a position as executive director of the West Carthage Housing Authority in November.

In November, a caucus of legislators-elect agreed to advertise the vacant county manager’s position, and request resumes for the position of county attorney, both due by Jan. 1.

An advertisement ran in the Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 editions of the Journal and Republican for the county manager’s position. It also was posted on the county’s website and the New York State Association of Counties’ website Nov. 20.

Because the language of the job description had to be reworked, posting of the ad for county attorney was delayed one week.

The county attorney position appeared on the county website and the NYSAC website Nov. 27.

Potential candidates for county attorney could have found out through another avenue. Teresa K. Clark, clerk of the board of legislators, believed, she said, that “word went out to the bar association,” though she was unsure how the information was conveyed as it was handled by human resources.

A call to human resources was not immediately returned.

A query to the Lewis County Bar Association was answered by Jodi Dolan, who said, “I’m not aware we were notified. I have not seen anything like that.”

Ms. Dolan stated such information would have come to her desk to then be passed on.

As of Dec. 19, the county attorney position had not been published on any other sites or in print.

“Price was a factor,” Legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, said about the decision not to advertise.

The county received approximately 10 applications for county manager, according to Mr. Tabolt.

The county attorney position has seen different results.

“We’ve had some people inquiring, but no applications yet,” he said.

The lack of response, he said, has prompted an ad through the New York Newspapers Association.

“It’s one time in each of our central region publications,” said Don Ferlazzo, advertising and events manager at the New York News Publishers Association.

The ad will run at the discretion of each newspaper, as early as Sunday or as late as Dec. 28.

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