DELHI -- Tom Briggs, retiring head of the Delaware County Office for the Aging, thanked the county Board of Supervisors for its support during the regular monthly meeting.
Briggs, who started with the agency in 1975, was promoted to director in 1982. He has championed the rights of senior citizens during that time, board Chairman James Eisel said. In presenting Briggs with a citation, Eisel said, "On behalf of the board I thank you for your many years of dedicated service."
Roxbury Supervisor Thomas Hynes was one of several who spoke of Briggs' achievements.
"If ever there was person in the right job at the right time it was him," he said. He is well-respected on the state and federal level, as well as locally, he said.
Public Health Director Bonnie Hamilton cited some of Briggs' accomplishments, making life better for seniors, such as establishing a lifeline that includes home delivery of meals and personal care.
Briggs, who noted he doesn't like to call attention to himself, said one of his fondest memories is developing such a talented staff at the agency. He was fortunate to have so many "top-caliber people," in many agencies working with him on the issues confronting seniors.
He noted a "paradigm shift" that he sees coming that will call for smaller government. "We in the rural areas will be the hardest hit," he said.
To meet the challenges, he asked the supervisors to rethink the structure of local government. It calls for each of the 19 towns in the county to have the same structure, with the same services.
More should to done to regionalize services to better serve the county, he said.
Briggs will be replaced by Wayne Shepard, currently county public health director of patient services, starting Aug. 17, at a salary of $58,775. Shepard, who was officially appointed during the meeting, thanked the board of their support.
In other business, the board approved a resolution stating its opposition to the closure of the Allen Residential Center and downsizing of the Youth Leadership Academy, both in Kortright, in an effort by the state to save money. Not only will this mean the loss of 56 jobs, but several supervisors also said both have helped in the rehabilitation of troubled youth.
Department of Watershed Affairs Commissioner Dean Frazier updated the board on his group's activities. These included working with other agencies to improve economic activity while maintaining water quality.