Press-Republican

August 29, 2013

Hogan shares ideas for improving Franklin County

Hogan outlines ideas for improvements

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Paul Hogan says he will focus on employee empowerment, wise leadership and decisiveness if he is the District 4 Democratic nominee for the Franklin County Legislature.

He is running against Dr. Carl Sherwin in a primary race to be held Tuesday, Sept. 10.

The man selected by a majority of the 1,520 registered Democrats in Malone will run against incumbent Republican Marc “Tim” Lashomb on Nov. 5.

COUNTY CONCERNS

Hogan is vice chair of the County Industrial Development Agency, but this is his first attempt at political office since becoming a U.S. citizen in 2012.

“Originally, I wasn’t going to do it,” he said, “but I got the right to vote, and I saw things that concerned me. I believe I have the skills and experience to help Franklin County. I believe I understand the role of the county.

“What I found with the IDA was that there were no set goals or objectives. I was to required write an assessment of the agency and the director, but how do you do that if there are no goals or objectives? We didn’t have those. Those are invaluable because you focus on what you should be doing. It’s working smarter, not harder.

“It was apparent that the county government and administration was not what it should be. I’m concerned that the (state) comptroller said the county is under significant financial stress.

“There were 24 counties designated that way, and Franklin County scored third. And what have legislators done? I don’t think they’ve even addressed the issue.”

FIVE-YEAR PLAN

He thinks the county needs better financial planning.

“The county employs 600 people and has a $100 million budget. It should have a five-year financial plan that states goals and objectives.

“There should be staff evaluations and formal training of staff. We don’t evaluate employees.”

Hogan said legislators should not be bogged down with some details of government, like an independent auditor’s report.

“It should have been given to the county manager to dissect and sent off to the department heads, where they would address it and either take the required action or make recommendations for action.

“They are the day-to-day operational staff. We employ them to run the county, and we should give them ownership of their jobs.”

Hogan said staff assessments may lead to suggested efficiencies.

“I feel for the staff. You’ve got to respect them and listen to their suggestions on how to improve their jobs.

“Now, it’s just on-the-job training. You assist your staff, and your staff assists you. This stuff has been around for years, but it’s just not applied.”

COUNTY PLANNER

Hogan said the county should have made more headway on some issues.

“We didn’t need six months to decide if we needed a county planner. The money’s there. If the vast majority of counties have one, we should. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

“We can look at the county with the most successful department, talk to them, get their recommendations and build on those.

“It’s a policy area, not a management or administrative issue. The money can come from the wind-farm account. Use $150,000, put it into a county planner and get it rolling.”

He believes shared services should be explored more.

“There is a website with all kinds of information on how to do things. Did anybody here bother to look at these things? We can’t keep living in a vacuum,” Hogan said.

COUNTY JAIL

Instead of expanding the County Jail, he said, it makes sense to talk with the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

“We’ve just lowered the (state prison) population by 15 percent. Why aren’t we talking to DOCS? There must be spare capacity in Malone (prisons). Why not take one dorm and turn it into a county-type dorm? If they can take on county prisoners, let them.”

USE OF BUILDING

Hogan said that once the County Nursing Home is merged with Alice Hyde Medical Center’s facility, the vacant site “could be turned into office space. Or it could be an opportunity to turn it into space for children who need foster care.

“The county could contract with a management company or it could be used as temporary housing for Social Services as an alternative to putting people in hotels,” he said.

Hogan said a committee could look at the best alternate uses and make recommendations to legislators.

APPEARED ON TV SHOW

Hogan was born and educated in Australia and served in the Australian Army from 1970 to 1972. He joined the Australian Diplomatic Service and was stationed at the Australian Embassy in Ottawa.

He also served in Yugoslavia, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Los Angeles and Argentina before moving to Malone in 1982.

He and his former wife owned and operated Kilburn Manor Bed and Breakfast.

Hogan was a celebrity butler on the Fox television shows “Joe Millionaire” and “The Next Joe Millionaire” from 2003 to 2004.

He has two adult children and one grandchild.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com