ITHACA, N.Y.—Lisa Holmes has officially been named Tompkins County Administrator after serving in the role on an interim basis since the position opened last year.

The announcement was made at Thursday’s night Tompkins County Legislature meeting, held two days later than normal due to legislators attending a conference earlier in the week. Holmes, who used to run the county’s Office for the Aging, ascended to interim County Administrator when previous County Administrator Jason Molino announced he would depart the role in May 2021. Molino defected to Livingston County, where he is now the Executive Director of the Water and Sewer Authority.

“I believe strongly in the work of county government and am proud of the services offered to our residents here in Tompkins County,” Holmes said. “I am excited to take on this role and continue to work with my county colleagues. We have some big initiatives moving forward at the county level, including Reimagining Public Safety, adapting our work coming out of the pandemic, the merger of our Health and Mental Health Departments, and examining space needs and implementing a capital plan that best meets the needs of our staff and residents.”

Holmes has already led the county during the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic and during the ongoing formulation process of the Reimagining Public Safety effort, specifically the parts of that plan that impact the county.

The search process over the last several months has been quiet, though it started only after Tompkins County voted to make its head position one of the highest-paid in upstate New York.

A response to a previous FOIL request seeking applications for the county administrator role showed that county officials had not seen enough from prior applicants to feel confident moving forward with them, though it is unknown who else applied: “As we closed the search without a recommendation, they all are considered unsuccessful applicants and would fall under unwarranted invasion of privacy and could cause embarrassment and/or adversely affect their current or future employment.”

“I’m delighted that Lisa Holmes will be taking on this role, she is a thoughtful and compassionate leader who has proven her commitment to our organization and community during her career here with Tompkins County. Lisa has the full support of the Tompkins County Legislature,” said county legislature chair Shawna Black upon the selection of Holmes. “Looking forward, we have incredible opportunities for the County, and Lisa has the institutional knowledge, respect of our staff, and a clear vision to lead the organization moving forward.”

Matt Butler

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