2018 was a year of reorganization and transformation for Cayuga County, and 2019 promises to continue that trend, County Administrator J. Justin Woods and Legislature Chairman Tucker Whitman said Thursday at the annual State of the County and City luncheon.
With his first full year as administrator under his belt, Woods told the audience at Auburn’s Holiday Inn about what initiatives the county had completed since his last address — like the creation of a new Department of Public Works or the completion of a countywide Shared Services Plan — and future or ongoing work such as a proposed county sewer system.
Whitman, R-Sterling, following remarks from Auburn Mayor Michael Quill and City Manager Jeff Dygert, said it was an exciting time to be a part of county government as it undergoes some big shifts.
In addition to working alongside Woods as he came into the administrator’s office, Whitman praised the work of the Legislature and county staff to create a combined DPW and overhaul the Emergency Management Office, among other efforts.
“We’re never quite sure everything we try will work, but I definitely feel like if we don’t try we’ll never know,” Whitman said. “Sometimes a new perspective on things is a blessing. ”
Woods highlighted recent addition to leadership positions in the county’s various departments, including Jessica Strassle — the energetic new Veteran’s Service Agency that was “bounding across the county” connecting with veterans — or the new county attorney’s that have turned the office into what Woods described as a modern municipal law office.
Additionally, Woods pointed to the expertise of David Gardner and Carl Martel, the first director and deputy director of the new DPW, as the fuel behind a push to unveil a long-awaited capital improvement plan for the county.