TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.– Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino announced he is leaving his position in the coming weeks to take a job as the Executive Director of the Livingston County Water and Sewer Authority. Livingston County is in western New York.

Molino has served as the county’s appointed leader since the start of 2018. He announced the decision at Tompkins County Legislature’s meeting on Tuesday, April 20. A search for his replacement will begin later in 2021, and his interim replacement will be announced shortly, according to the county. Molino will be involved in the transition.

“These past three years have been incredibly rewarding,” Molino said Tuesday night. “I have been continually amazed by the thoughtfulness, sincerity and empathy that the County staff show the public every single day. The staff’s professionalism and commitment to serve the community is what makes Tompkins County a very special place and has taught me as a leader the value of leading with compassion.”

Hired to replace the outgoing Joe Mareane, Molino most notably guided the county through the COVID-19 pandemic so far, emerging with Public Health Director Frank Kruppa as the two foremost local authorities on the strategy to handle the pandemic, stem any outbreaks and safely handle reopening the county and the subsequent economic recovery. In what many in the area could point to as the beginning of the pandemic response locally, Molino held a press conference with other prominent local officials in March 2020 officially declaring a state of emergency in Tompkins County in anticipation of the pandemic’s arrival locally. The next day, Tompkins County had its first positive test.

Along with Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and a large team of other local officials and advisers, Molino also helped design the Reimagining Public Safety proposal that was recently approved and submitted to New York State, a joint venture between the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County to reform local law enforcement.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision, but it is the right one for me and my family,” Molino wrote in a letter to staff, according to a press release. “This new position will afford me a better balance in my life and opportunities to be closer to our families.”

“Jason has served this county with integrity every single day in this role,” said Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, upon hearing his decision. “He has brought a thoughtful presence as our administrator, showing deep support for our staff and fiduciary tact putting together budgets under ever-more-complicated circumstances. Tompkins County has had a track record of excellence under Jason’s leadership. We’re often first in the state and a community that others look to and admire.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com