JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County supervisors on Monday endorsed a Concept Utilization Plan for the County Annex in Gloversville that may eventually see the county Probation Department and the county Public Defender’s Office move into the building.
County Administrative Officer Jon Stead gave a presentation on the plan to the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee at the County Office Building. He said county officials the last month or so have been “kicking around some ideas.”
“I think it needs a formal decision by the Board of Supervisors,” Stead said.
The board may take up the plan at its November meeting. Stead explained that St. Mary’s Healthcare moved out of the two-story annex building at 57 E. Fulton St. in Gloversville, leaving only three county Community Services Department employees. The county Probation Department across the street, meanwhile, needs more space.
Stead said the Public Defender’s Office at the Johnstown Professional Office Building may eventually need more space, as well.
Probation Director Cynthia Licciardi requested the board consider moving her agency from its 62 E. Fulton St. site, next to the Gloversville Public Library.
Stead said Gloversville county annex is in “very good” shape and may only need about $15,000 to $20,000 in cosmetic renovations.
He said that state mandates enacted two years ago after a lawsuit settlement by the state will be requiring a major expansion of public defender offices in the next two to five years. He said full-time people in such offices may be required, unlike part-time assistants now.
Current Public Defender Gerard McAuliffe may also be taking over as county Family Court judge at the start of the year, so his office is going through change anyway.
Stead said the county hasn’t had any luck selling the annex.
“Does it make sense to reoccupy that building with county departments?” he asked.
Stead said probation may be able to occupy the first floor, while community services and the public defender spaces would be on the second floor. He said there would also be expansion space and conference room space. He said there may be a need for a new “assigned counsel” department the county could put on the second floor.
He said it was “sensible” for the county to fully reoccupy the annex, which used to be the home of the former Fulton County Mental Health Clinic. He said an appraisal from 2014 had the building worth a little over $500,000.
“It’s a good solid asset the county has,” Stead said.
Officials said they weren’t sure yet what would happen to the probation department building, but it could be sold.
Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene, a former probation director, likes the plan.
“I think it makes too much sense,” he said. “For me, it’s a no-brainer.”
McAuliffe called the annex “good office space,” but didn’t give his opinion.
“It’s in the hands of this able Board of Supervisors,” he said.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]