Community services

Cayuga County Hires New Commissioner of Human Services, Director of Community Services | Politics

The citizen staff

Two new leaders from the Cayuga County Departments of Social Services and Mental Health will officially take the reins from a person who is retiring at the end of this week.

The Cayuga County Legislature has completed the final stage of a transition plan to replace Ray Bizzari, director of community services for Cayuga County for the past 10 years. Late last year, the county legislature passed a local law that effectively separated Bizzari’s duties into two positions by establishing the position of commissioner of social services as separate from the director of community services, who oversees community services. county mental health, including his clinic on North Street in Auburn.

At its first regular meeting of 2022, the Legislative Assembly approved two appointments to fill these positions.

Christine Bianco has been named commissioner of social services with a starting annual salary of $106,157. Currently deputy department manager, Bianco will oversee a team of 150 employees who serve approximately 15,000 county residents.

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With 32 years in the Department of Social Services, Bianco has worked in a variety of roles, starting as a social worker and serving in leadership positions including seven years as Director of Services overseeing child and family programs.

“I have had the pleasure of working with dedicated social service employees and community partners who work together to ensure essential services are provided to our most vulnerable Cayuga County residents,” Bianco said in a statement. Press release. “My more than 30-year career with Cayuga County has given me the ability to assess, adapt, and lead in this ever-changing world as we strive to meet the complex needs of individuals and communities. families the department serves.”

The Legislative Assembly also approved the appointment of Lauren Walsh as the next Director of Community Services. The county’s Community Services Board nominated Walsh for the position at its January 10 meeting, and the vote of the Legislative Assembly upheld the nomination. She will start with an annual salary of $97,000.

Walsh worked at the County Mental Health Clinic in leadership roles after starting there more than eight years ago as a therapist. She previously worked as a clinician at the Hillside Children’s Center.

The County Mental Health Clinic on North Street in Auburn has 50 staff who served 3,150 clients last year. In addition to overseeing mental health services, Walsh will work with the Community Services Commission to ensure residents have access to services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. .

“My overarching goal is to build an effective system of care that meets the needs of this county,” Walsh said in the press release. “I am excited to use existing relationships with community members and vendors to collaborate and provide quality services to the people of this county.”