Tag Archives: Oswego County Department of Social Services

DSS asbestos abatement project becomes more costly

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services asbestos abatement project will move forward — with a higher price tag.

During the Aug. 9 meeting, the legislature approved hiring Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers and also voted to increase the capital project funding for the abatement project from $30,000 to $100,000.

Asbestos was found in the ceiling tiles of the older part of the DSS complex in Mexico earlier this year after an employee reportedly questioned if the tiles had been tested. The cost of the entire project is estimated to cost up to $1 million, depending on whether the employees will need to be relocated during the removal process.

County Administrator Phil Church said Cayuga Community College in Fulton has offered a location for DSS employees, but added the college needs the space back by Feb. 1.

If it is decided to move the employees to another part of the DSS building, accommodations will be needed, such as constructing temporary walls, Church noted.

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DSS wins another appeal against Family Court decision

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services has won another appeal in an effort to overturn a decision made by Oswego County Family Court Judge Kim Seager.

The county commenced a neglect proceeding against a father and sought emergency removal of the children, Austin M. and Anna M.

Following a hearing, the Family Court granted the application with respect to Austin but not to Anna. The court also granted the father unsupervised visitation with Austin.

“Initially, we note that it appears that the court applied a best interests analysis only and did not first make a determination whether the children were at imminent risk of harm, as required by the statute,” the court decision, dated July 6, states. “The court (Seager) removed Austin from the father’s home upon determining that it was in Austin’s best interests to allow the father time to engage in necessary anger management services.”

The appeals court agreed with DSS that there was a sound and substantial basis in the record for a determination that Austin was at imminent risk of harm.

“The evidence at the hearing was overwhelming that the father slapped Austin in the face with an open hand with such significant force that the child had marks on his face the next morning,” court papers state.

“The court’s finding that it was not clear who caused the injury to Austin is not supported by the record,” it continues.

“The medical testimony established that an adult caused the injury to the child, and thus only the father or his girlfriend could have caused the injury inasmuch as they were the only two adults who were with the child during the relevant time period.”

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Oswego County residents charged with welfare fraud

Oswego County Department of Social Services staff detected 117 cases of attempted fraud last year, saving county taxpayers $566,916 in avoided costs, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley said.

Beardsley said the cases involved attempts by people to collect benefits while living in other states, filing for duplicate benefits, not reporting income, and attempting to collect benefits while incarcerated in a correctional facility.

In addition, eight people were arrested over the past few weeks and charged with welfare fraud and grand larceny. The arrests involve the alleged theft of more than $35,000 in overpayments.

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