(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Broome County Republican Committee Chairman Bijoy Datta today took to task Democrat County Executive Jason Garnar for flip-flopping on his promise to remove politics from the process of making personnel appointments in his administration.
“We’re only two weeks into the Garnar Administration and already we’re seeing the worst of partisan politics from him,” said Datta.
“Jason Garnar told the people of Broome County that he would make personnel appointments based on experience and qualifications. But for the County Office of Employment and Training, he fired a respected executive with 30 years of high-level management and business experience, and proposed to replace him with someone who doesn’t have a single day of private sector experience and who has no qualifications in the field of workforce development.”
“There’s a gigantic gap in qualifications and experience between the prior Director and Garnar’s nominee, so it makes you wonder what influenced his decision,” Datta stated. “It’s simple: The highly qualified prior Director is a Republican, while the underqualified nominee is a Democrat.”
Previous Director Jim Tripp served in that role since 2014. Prior to that, he was the President of Hidden Valley Electronics in Apalachin, an electronics manufacturing company that employed more than 150 workers, managed a multi-million dollar budget, and worked with major local employers like Lockheed Martin, BAE and Binghamton University. He is also a combat veteran of the U.S. Army and works with the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. Just prior to last month’s Christmas holiday, Garnar’s team informed Mr. Tripp that his services would no longer be needed at the County.
On December 28th, Garnar announced his nomination of Sara Liu to serve as the Department’s new Director. Upon leaving college in 2012, she has worked at several non-profits in various capacities, most recently as Director of Chemung County Habitat for Humanity.
Broome County Personnel’s formal job description for the Director of Employment and Training notes in its very first paragraph that the position “involves responsibility for…a wide variety of employment and training of a considerable size and complexity.” In 2017, Department will have a budget of $2.2 million and oversight of 12 employees.
“No one holds anything against Ms. Liu, who I’ve never met. She appears to have done some laudable work in the non-profit sector,” Datta noted. “But it’s impossible for Garnar to justify this partisan personnel decision after he preached about bi-partisanship.”
Following his Election Day victory, in a story published by Time Warner Cable News on, Garnar stated that he was “going to work with Republicans and independents and anybody. If you have a good idea, we're going to go with it and I don't care if you're a Republican or an independent”.
Garnar stated on his Facebook page onthat “It's so important to work with ALL people, regardless of political affiliation, to move Broome County forward in the right direction”.
In aarticle published in the Press & Sun-Bulletin, Garnar stated that he would “ensure only the most qualified employees stay on in his administration”.
Datta concluded, “Jason Garnar can appoint whomever he wants; he’s the County Executive. But he made a promise to the people of this County that he’s remove politics from the process. The people deserve to know that he flip-flopped on that promise.”
The Broome County Legislature will vote on Ms. Liu’s appointment, along with numerous other Garnar nominees, duringLegislative Session.