Making Democracy Work

Action and Advocacy

Cortland County Needs A Professional Full-Time Administrator

Cortland County Call To Action

Over a decade ago a Cortland County Legislative Committee and the League of Women Voters of Cortland County called for the creation of a full-time professional County Administrator.

In 2002, the County Legislature established the position through local law. The Cortland League urges the Legislature to hire an Administrator now. With a $134 million annual budget, our county needs a full-time professional.

Only ten of New York State's 62 counties have no administrator or executive.

We recommend that the Legislature establish a search committee that includes private and public executives who have hired successful senior administrators. An experienced search committee may help ensure that we hire someone with both the managerial qualifications and the people skills to be an effective administrator.

This is a link to the local law on the Cortland County website -

This is a link to the job description on the Cortland County website -

Here are 3 links to presentations at our 2016 educational forum.

CountyAdministrator_Background & History_AlisonKing,PhD,LWVCC,

CountyAdministrator_NYS & US_MaryMcGuire,PhD,

Perspective of a County Administrator_JoeMareane

After two Administrators, the Legislature has allowed the position to remain vacant since the last administrator resigned in 2014.

Since then, the part time Chair of the Legislature has acted as Administrator.

Since then, the County has been unable to resolve the challenges of the landfill and recycling center.

Since then, the County has been unable to resolve the challenges of overcrowding at the County jail.

It is past time for a full time professional administrator who can:

  • Coordinate staff services to Legislature,
  • Develop and enforce County policies,
  • Coordinate administrative functions of departments, meet regularly with department heads, liaise between departments and Legislature,
  • Represent Legislature in contacts w/State & Federal officials and agencies


  • Supervise dept heads,
  • Conduct performance appraisals, Recommend appointments/dismissals


  • Prepare tentative County budget, Audit County departments,
  • Measure policy impact on tax base and economic development


  • Participate in all labor relations activities

What Can You Do?

Call your legislator and ask how you can help get this done because -
  • The $34 million/year County budget is big enough to require central oversight. Only 10 counties in New York State have no Administrator or Executive.

  • The County is considering spending over $50 million on a new jail complex, but basic questions have not been answered.

  • We are still waiting for solutions to solid waste management, and the new flow control law has not been enforced. Proposals move forward helter-skelter with little understanding of impact.