OSWEGO — A county committee started the final steps Wednesday of appointing a new commissioner for the Department of Social Services (DSS) after the previous commissioner left in the late summer of 2015.
The county Human Services Committee passed a resolution appointing Stacy Alvord, LMSW, as the department's new commissioner on Wednesday. The appointment will next have to be approved by the Finance and Personnel Committee before being submitted to the full legislature.
If approved, Alvord's five-year term will commence on April 18 and last until April 18, 2021, with an $88,507 annual salary.
Alvord said she was partly attracted to the position because of the county's "progressive vision" on getting different elements to collaborate on issues like health and poverty, pointing to the Community Health and Poverty Reduction Task Force as an example of the kind of private-public cooperation she hoped to continue.
Another goal Alvord said she hopes to accomplish is further aiding the work of the department's caseworkers that work directly with residents in need of help.
"I want to support the frontline folks who do the most important work of the DSS," Alvord said.
Alvord, who has a master's degree in social work from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree in public justice from SUNY Oswego, previously served as the commissioner of DSS for Lewis County.
While in Lewis County she managed an annual operating budget of $12 million, a staff of 68, and oversaw $36 million in government benefits that affected one out of eight households in the county, according to her resume.
Committee Chairman Daniel LeClair, R-Palermo, who led the search committee for the position, said they looked for someone with not only experience but also flexibility and the capability to think outside the box.
LeClair said Alvord had all of that, plus a deep commitment to the issues related to the position.
"She has a real passion, real heart for what she does," LeClair said.
Legislator John Proud, R-Mexico, said after an "extensive" selection process, Alvord was an excellent choice because of both her previous experience and her interest in working collabora-tively.
"I've been involved with the social services committee for a number of years and this is an excellent candidate who really looks ready to fit in with what we're doing and the direction we're going in," Proud said.
Other positions Alvord has held include administrative director of Transitional Living Services of Northern New York, child protective/foster care caseworker in Madison County and executive director of the Community Action Program for Madison County Inc., which under her tenure received $3.8 million in state and federal grants, according to her resume.