The Putnam Examiner

Sheehy to Retire from County Senior Resources Office

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More transitioning is expected for Putnam County government after the director for the Office for Senior Resources, Patricia Sheehy, announced her intention to retire this week.

Sheehy, who worked for the county for about seven years, plans to retire at the end of October. Expected to fill her shoes is Michael Cunningham, a county employee working for another department. Sheehy is the latest department head to retire after Bureau for Emergency Services commissioner Tony Sutton stepped down earlier this month.

During Sheehy’s seven years as director of the Office for Senior Resources, she said she couldn’t pin down just one moment she’ll remember more than the others. But she will remember the people she worked with and the senior population she worked for.

Sheehy said the seniors she helped serve have always been grateful for the work her office does. It’s made going work enjoyable for Sheehy. During her career, her department went from the Office for the Aging to the Office for Senior Resources to signify a more vibrant name to match the senior citizens in Putnam.

“And the county has always been so generous to the seniors so it’s not just one person who’s done it,” Sheehy said. “It’s a whole team of people, too.”

One of the most controversial and strenuous undertakings Sheehy dealt with was getting a new and improved senior center on the west side of the county. On her first day on the job, Sheehy recalled a senior telling her a state of the art senior center would never happen in Cold Spring. The controversial project for the senior center at the Butterfield campus was voted through despite raucous meetings and passionate opposition.

“It’s going to be nice to know it’s going to be happening,” Sheehy said.

Lawmakers at a personnel committee meeting last week commended Sheehy for the job she’s done. Legislature Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino said Sheehy did a “stellar job” during her tenure and was able to navigate through difficult times.

When discussing the incoming director, Nacerino said Cunningham would be a “perfect match” for the leadership post.

“He’s someone that has the skillset, but also has the demeanor and ability to work with this population in a very cohesive manner,” Nacerino said.

Personnel director Paul Eldridge said Cunningham had a good approach and was a very intelligent man. Sheehy said she’ll help Cunningham with the transition and noted he’s asked her all the right questions so far.

Sheehy said a couple factors motivated her to retire including wanting to have more free time with her husband and more time with her granddaughter who is 15-months-old. Sheehy also wanted to retire when she still had time to be spontaneous and drive cross-country.

Sheehy actually retired once before after she worked for New York State for many years. When County Executive MaryEllen Odell was elected though, she came out of retirement to serve. Instead of calling this farewell a retirement, she joked she was “dismounting” and vowed she wasn’t coming out of retirement anymore.

“This is it,” Sheehy said with an emphasis. “I’m finished.”

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