Reimagining of county planning director position back to the drawing board

The Cortland County Legislature at Thursday’s legislative session. (Photo via Cortland County).

The Cortland County Legislature Agriculture, Planning and Environmental (AP&E) Committee is set to review transformative changes in the next month.

AP&E committee chair and Minority Leader Beau Harbin (D-LD-2) said at Thursday’s legislature session that the position of planning director will go back to the committee for discussion. An agenda item on potentially bumping the salary and adding job duties to the role was tabled by Harbin at the legislature meeting.

The proposed salary bump to the vacant planning director position was voted down by members of the Cortland County Legislature Finance and Administration Committee earlier in January.

The recommendation, however, was passed by AP&E a week prior to the Finance and Administration meeting.

The new planning director proposal would come with added responsibilities focused on economic development, as well as a salary that is anywhere from $91,771 to $122,148 based on experience. This would bump the position from a grade 5 to a grade 3 role. As a grade 5 position, the salary range for the role was anywhere between $79,412 to $105,698, based on experience. Other department heads sit in grade 3.

The county has only had about three applications for the vacant role in the few months since former director Trisha Jesset left the county last fall.

“It is critically important that we get this right. We don’t want to rush it,” Harbin said Thursday. “So we are gonna take it back to committee and do some further work with County Administrator Rob Corpora and Personnel Officer Laurie Leonard.”

Harbin also noted the committee could be changing its name soon.

“We are doing a look at how to reimagine ourselves as a committee,” he said. “We will be having a special committee meeting Feb. 2 at 4:30 p.m. to review how to best update our mission and name.” 

Harbin added the committee will be looking to add the words “economic development” to the name. 

“The committee already covers key parts of this, but not in a sufficient manner,” he said.