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The Dansville Online
  • Dougherty poised to take office

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  • GENESEO — After fighting for most of the year to get the job, veteran criminal investigator Thomas J. Dougherty is just a few days away from becoming the 50th sheriff of Livingston County.
    A ceremonial swearing in will take place at 5 p.m., Jan. 3, at the Genesee River Hotel and Reception Center in Mt. Morris. This is not an invitation only event, as the incoming sheriff says the ceremony is open to anyone who would like to attend.
    "To be sworn in as the 50th sheriff of Livingston County is a designation that I humbly wish to share openly with our community members," Dougherty said. "I look forward to accepting my new role as sheriff of Livingston County in front of the very people that I will be serving."
    Judge Richard Wesley and retired Judge Ronald Cicoria will preside over the brief ceremony. Afterward, the new sheriff and sheriff's office Sgt. Matthew Bean, Dougherty's hand-picked choice for undersheriff, will be available to meet and greet guests.
    The Jan. 3 swearing-in is considered "ceremonial" because Dougherty, a Republican who defeated outgoing undersheriff James Szczesniak in the November election, has already taken the oath of office and will officially start his term Jan. 1.
    "When the ball drops at midnight, I will be the sheriff," a relaxed, enthusiastic Dougherty said during a telephone interview with the Tribune on Thursday.
    Dougherty is expected to undertake a fairly major reorganization of the sheriff's office. He said it will be a reorganization "of not only people, but the actual structure" of the department.
    While Dougherty announced his intention to appoint Bean as his undersheriff early in the campaign, he'll have several appointments to make and staff reshuffling to oversee once he is in the job. He is expected to name new leadership over road patrol, the jail and criminal investigation. He said there will movement throughout the sheriff's department, with promotions made and new personnel brought on as deputies.
    Dougherty said he was a more "efficient" sheriff's department and "more boots on the ground."
    "We will be able to get more done with this structure," he said.
    Dougherty praised retiring sheriff John York for his cooperation in ensuring a "smooth" transition to a new administrative team. York had endorsed Szczesniak to be his successor.
    "This transition has been fantastic and I give a lot of credit to Sheriff York," Dougherty said.
    Szczesniak announced retirement plans a few weeks after the November election. He is a 27-year veteran of the sheriff's office.
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