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St. Lawrence County recycling coordinator’s job safe for now

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CANTON — The job of St. Lawrence County recycling coordinator Scott A. Thornhill, once targeted for elimination by some legislators, appears safe for now.

Legislators discussed eliminating Mr. Thornhill’s $48,000-per-year job in November as a way to cut costs in the Solid Waste Department.

Republicans criticized the move as a personal attack on Mr. Thornhill, and the issue was tabled until Jan. 3. The board did not meet on that date, and no one in subsequent meetings has broached the topic.

“It’s dead now because the date went by and it wasn’t brought up,” said Legislator Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler.

Mr. Thornhill’s job could come up again as a new resolution, but it does not seem likely to happen anytime soon as the position is included in the county’s 2014 budget. Interim county Highway Superintendent William E. Dashnaw said it is needed.

“There’s a lot of work over here,” he said. “It takes a manager to move forward with any kind of efficiencies.”

Mr. Dashnaw, who previously was the highway superintendent, is filling in while the county searches for a replacement for Toby W. Bogart, who resigned. Interviews are scheduled to begin next week, Mr. Dashnaw said.

Solid Waste, which is a part of the Highway Department, is following up on a deal with private haulers to increase use of the county’s transfer stations and is in the middle of ordering about $1 million in equipment to upgrade the stations, Mr. Dashnaw said.

Legislator Stephen M. Putman, D-Canton, who first suggested elimination of the recycling coordinator position, said he is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I don’t plan to bring it up right now,” he said. “That doesn’t mean over the next year it’s a dead issue for me.”

Mr. Putman said he was trying to save money in Solid Waste, which has struggled in recent years with declining revenue and increasing tip fees.

“I’ve never felt, given the financial state of Solid Waste and its number of employees, that it justified a full-time manager,” he said. “That has nothing to do with the person who has the job.”

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