Greene Co. Stop DWI to go under sheriff

The Daily Mail has a story today about the Greene County Stop DWI program, which, in the wake of the retirements of its two staff members, is going to be administered by the Greene County Sheriff's Office:

The county’s STOP-DWI program has a total budget of $180,830 and employed two people full-time: John Massell, Jr., coordinator of the program since its inception in 1990, and senior typist Maxine Luvera, also with the program from the beginning. Masselli retired in December 2010 and Luvera retired last week.

In December, Delaware County fired its Stop DWI coordinator, prompting public outrage. But the Delaware supervisors have been unwilling to give the Delaware County Sheriff's Office control over the program, instead granting interim control to Craig DuMond, the chairman of the county's public safety committee.

Greene County, too, has some reservations about its putting the sheriff in control of a program that disburses funds to local police departments, including the Sheriff's Office:

Legislator Karen Deyo, R-Catskill, said she thought the sheriff was capable of performing the duties as coordinator though there may be a conflict of interest. She cited a state attorney general’s opinion on the issue.

“It is a conflict of interest when the coordinator of the STOP-DWI program also serves as a police officer on a police force or participating agency in the county,” she said, reading from a 1985 state attorney general’s opinion. “That was my number one concern… so I need more information on this.”

STOP-DWI funds are disbursed to the sheriff’s office, as well as police departments in Athens, Cairo, Catskill, Coxsackie, Durham, Hunter and Windham.

“That may generate some problems and some issues, I’m afraid to say,” Deyo said. “My thing is maybe we should have somebody more neutral.”