On Tuesday, Seneca County Officials learned that Finance Director Brandi Deeds would be leaving her post effective August 1st.
The surprise resignation came as an emailed notification from County Manager John Sheppard to the Board of Supervisors. While details of the resignation were not made clear in the email, the finance department has been at the center of intense debate among the supervisors.
Deeds was selected as Finance Director, as the department was being created at the County Manager’s direction. While a number of ‘billing issues’ have been discussed and debated between members of the board – no action had been taken to investigate or audit the long-term results of the department in its first two years of existence.
County Manager Sheppard said that having a unified finance department, instead of finances being handled by all departments individually – that time, energy, and efficiencies could be gained.
In a statement to FingerLakes1.com County Manager Sheppard said the following of Deeds’ resignation:
“I have accepted Finance Director, Brandi Deeds’ resignation effective 08/01/2018. The vacancy will be filled following the established processes of the County.”
Fayette Town Supervisor Cindy Lorenzetti added the following:
“The key to success is being able to admit when mistakes have been made; and then learn how to fix them. County Government needs to be held accountable and this includes elected officials. Having a County Finance Department has worked in surrounding counties, but our selection process and criteria for leading that effort needs to be better. We have to raise our standards to meet the needs of Seneca County. A strong preference should include municipal government experience. We should also explore subdividing the finances of highway, water, and sewer into sub-divisions of the Finance Department to have dedicated, qualified, and experienced people trained on specific billing needs for each. Moving forward now in a positive direction is what the County needs to ‘rebuild and restructure’ the future of Seneca County.”
Varick Town Supervisor Bob Hayssen provided a statement late-Wednesday:
“I have no comment on the resignation of Ms. Brandi Deeds. Instead it is time for County Manager Sheppard to let bygones be bygones and reach out to [former Emergency Management Director] Melissa Taylor and ask her to return to her former position. Furthermore, have the Board of Supervisors be the body that she reports to. Time to put this drama to sleep.”
Waterloo Supervisor and Board Chairman Bob Shipley said he had ‘no comment’ on the matter given that it was a personnel issue. Lodi Town Supervisor Lee Davidson, who is the majority leader for the Republican caucus also declined to comment on the matter.