Press-Republican

Wednesday

April 23, 2014

Franklin County DA ticked at legislators

MALONE — Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said he may stop pursuing grants since legislators criticized his use of their technology expert’s time.

And he may back out of a plan seeking ownership of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center.

Legislators confronted Data Processing Director Rob Green about his work on Operation Stonegarden, a federal grant program that has provided money for crime fighting along international borders since 2006.

Legislator Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake) reminded Green he was hired to work for the county, not the DA’s Office, “and I want to make sure the county is getting its fair share” of his time.

He said Green’s first obligation should be to the county and its computer systems and servers and that if he can’t promise that, he should look for another job.

Don Dabiew (D-Bombay) said he wanted to be sure the county’s work also comes first.

CHAMPAGNE FURIOUS

“Your primary mission ... is Franklin County and county government,” Maroun said. “You do an excellent job for (the DA’s Office), but that’s not why I hired you.”

When asked if he understood what he was being told, Green said, “Yes, sir. I do.”

Champagne was furious to learn of Maroun’s comments and said Green spends about two hours a week on Stonegarden work, which does not adversely impact his regular county duties.

He said Green typically works 40 to 50 hours a week, “not the 35 hours he’d paid for,” adding that the DA’s Office is also a county office that should be able to use Green’s expertise when needed.

“But even if he did spend more time on Stonegarden, if there is a more appropriate way to use that time, I don’t know what it is,” the DA said.

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