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Kit Kephart Appointed Commissioner of Social Services

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Kit Kephart Appointed Commissioner of Social Services

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Legislature, by unanimous vote, confirmed County Administrator Joe Mareane’s appointment of Kit Kephart for a five-year term as Tompkins County Commissioner of Social Services.

Commissioner Kephart has been employed by Tompkins County in the Department of Social Services for 17 years, first as the Department’s Staff Development and Quality Coordinator, then as Deputy Commissioner since 2014. She has served as Acting Commissioner of Social Services since the retirement of former Commissioner Patricia Carey at the end of July.

Prior to joining Tompkins County government, her experience includes positions of Education Coordinator and Peer Education Coordinator at the Alcoholism Council of Tompkins County, Site Director for the Special Children’s Center, and Day Treatment Director at Schuyler ARC. Ms. Kephart’s appointment was recommended by a ten-member County search committee following a six-month-long national search.

Administrator Mareane said, Kit Kephart “brings a broad perspective, and plenty of hands-on experience to this position,” and is highly regarded in county government both as a person and as a highly skilled administrator. “She is coming to the job with an enthusiasm and a mandate for strengthening DSS’s engagement with the community, for making our commitment to inclusiveness, to providing services to our clients with empathy and respect, and for being a constructive partner in solving some of our community’s most difficult problems,” Mr. Mareane said.

Speaking in support of the appointment, Health and Human Services Committee Chair Anna Kelles said she is particularly impressed with the new commissioner’s commitment to reaching out to the community. Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, chair of the County’s Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee, noted that helping employees to reach their fullest potential is one of the highest levels of inclusion, and this appointment is an example of that.

Commissioner Kephart said she is honored to accept the appointment and looks forward to strengthening ties with the community and to continuing her long-time work at the Department of Social Services.

Commissioner Kephart holds a B.A. degree from Mansfield University, with a dual major in Personnel Administration and Human Services Management. Her appointment as Commissioner takes effect upon confirmation of the appointment by New York State.