Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 3rd, 2014

Investigators Must Stay With DA

Sullivan County Personnel Director Lynda Levine held a public hearing last week on the reclassification of investigators assigned by the District Attorney’s Office to investigate fraud and abuse at the Department of Family Services.

District Attorney Jim Farrell was the only person who attended and submitted written testimony at the public hearing.

It has been no secret that some Sullivan County officials are on a behind the scenes mission to stop Farrell and Health and Family Services Commissioner Randy Parker from conducting investigations relating to fraud and abuse.

They are doing everything feasible to prevent investigators including Gerard Dietz from doing their jobs and they want Parker out.

Employees from DFS have been interrogated by Levine and County Manager Josh Potosek to get the “Goods” on Parker.

Sources told me that several employees have been called down to the Government Center and asked pointed questions clearly to defame Parker.

Business is NOT as usual in the Sullivan County Personnel Department with EEO complaints and upgrades put on hold for the apparent witch hunt on Parker. Not to mention the intentional disregard for waivers that must be done to keep the retired Police Officers including Gerard Dietz on the payroll because of State retirement regulations.

They are apparently entertaining “false whistleblower” complaints that have no merit leaving the real ones hanging.

Why are they so afraid of Randy Parker?

It could be that Parker has uncovered some of the dirty little DFS secrets that some officials in Sullivan County government are trying to cover up.

Why are certain people trying to annihilate the Special Investigations Unit at DFS?

It could be that investigators are turning to Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s) that have contracts with DFS and investigations are ongoing into the people behind them.

The investigators must remain in the District Attorney’s Office.

Below is District Attorney Jim Farrell’s written testimony from the Public Hearing chaired by Levine. It is important that everyone read it.

Written Testimony by District Attorney Jim Farrell – Public Hearing held September 23, 2014

“Please accept this in support of our request that you authorize the classification of the position of District Attorney Investigator as “Non-Competitive Class” and Policy Influencing/Confidential under Sullivan County Civil Service Rules and the appropriate appendices thereto.

The District Attorney represents the citizens of Sullivan County and the People of the State of New York in all criminal matters, and is the county’s chief law enforcement official. As such, I am responsible nearly 100% of the criminal prosecutions (approximately 4,000 annually) in Sullivan County. In addition to my duties as the chief prosecutor, I also am responsible for conducting and supervising many criminal investigations. Many of these criminal investigations result in indictments and convictions, while others result in no criminal charges being filed or exonerations of the suspects. Therefore, it is critically important that both the prosecutors and investigators in my employ be skillful and diligent, and equally important that they maintain the highest standards of confidentiality and integrity.

I have been a professional and career prosecutor for the last eighteen years, having served the residents of Sullivan County as an Assistant District Attorney from 1995-2009 and now, as the elected District Attorney since 2010. During that time I have learned that the District Attorney’s prosecutorial decisions must be fair and just, as that best guarantees the public’s confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system.

In order to achieve these goals and to ensure fairness in the criminal justice system it is critically important that I have the discretion to hire and employ the most qualified and professional personnel available.

One of my most important responsibilities is to make sure that the right individuals are hired in these sensitive law enforcement positions so that the goals, outlined above, are achieved. Moreover, given the highly sensitive nature of many of our criminal investigations and cases it is critical that the investigators in my employ maintain the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, confidentiality and overall trustworthiness.

I respectfully submit that the qualities such as professionalism, integrity, confidentiality, and overall trustworthiness are normally a reflection of a person’s character and thus cannot be accurately measured by a written examination. These qualities are intangible personal qualities that are required to effectively carry out their duties as a District Attorney Investigator.

Indeed, recruiting and evaluating those best qualified for these positions is a challenging process, especially as I endeavor to ensure that these individuals possess the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, confidentiality, and overall trustworthiness.

Again, I believe that those critical intangible personal qualities cannot be appropriately measured or gauged by a written examination; rather, they are best measured or gauged by gaining first-hand knowledge of how these investigators perform on a day-to-day basis and fairly and critically judging whether they consistently exhibit the qualities required to carry of these positions.

These investigators are vitally important to the successful prosecution of those criminal cases where an investigation has determined a prosecution is justified. They work very closely with me and my designees in determining whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution. There is a constant flow of information both to and from these investigators and the prosecutors in my office, including conferences directly with me.

Those conferences routinely have an impact of the policies of the office and the manner in which the policies will be carried out in the future. It is very important for the district attorney to have complete confidence in the investigatory staff so they may carry out their job responsibilities with the goal of ensuring that justice and fairness are the hallmarks of each and every decision they make. In addition, three of the new positions are going to be assigned to investigate white collar fraud and the theft of public monies from the County of Sullivan, State of New York and related social service programs administered with federal monies. These types of cases are complicated and are unique from an investigatory standpoint and will, by necessity, require a close and confidential relationship with me and my office. These investigators will be expected to collaborate with me and my office in pursuing the appropriate cases for prosecution.

Furthermore, I submit that the unique nature of the duties assigned to a district attorney’s investigator are such, that it is impracticable to ascertain the fitness of the position by means of a written examination. A district attorney’s investigator must possess skill in conducting criminal investigations and this characteristic cannot be measured by a written examination[1]; the investigator must possess an ability to participate in sensitive investigative activities and to maintain an impeccable confidentiality in the discharge of the duties of the position, likewise, a written examination cannot accurately measure these particular and important characteristics; and the investigator must have the ability to retain the trust and confidence of the District Attorney, this is not something that can be properly the subject of a written exam and is critically important.

For all of the aforesaid reasons, therefore, I request that the position of District Attorney Investigator be reclassified in the Non-Competitive Class and further designated as Policy Influencing/Confidential.

1 It should be noted that many police agencies, including many local police departments and the New York State Police, do not have written examinations for detective or investigator positions, because it is impracticable to test for the unique nature of the duties assigned and the intangible personal qualities needed to perform such duties. Those positions are earned as a result of supervisory personnel making a determination that the individual meets the rigorous requirements for the investigatory position.”

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in the Sullivan County Post

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