Tina Potter, the current deputy commissioner of the county Department of Social Services, will become its new commissioner, county officials announced Wednesday. Potter will become the first woman to head the department.
Potter, 52, has worked for the department 30 years and been the deputy commissioner since 1995.
She will replace Robert Christopher, who retired in September after 22 years as social services commissioner.
The county’s Law and Finance Committee, meeting Wednesday in Ballston Spa, recommended her appointment, sending the matter to the full Board of Supervisors for a final decision on Tuesday. It has been the past practice to promote the deputy commissioner when there was a vacancy.
“I appreciate your support and I look forward to the opportunity,” Potter told the committee. “There are many challenges ahead, but I look forward to serving the people of Saratoga County.”
Potter will be earning $102,015, according to county Personnel Director Jack Kalinkewicz. Her initial appointment will be for five years.
The social services commissioner oversees one of the county’s largest departments, one that currently has 210 employees and a budget of $56 million, more than one sixth of the county’s annual spending. Its main offices are in Ballston Spa.
The department’s mission is to provide financial assistance to poor families and individuals who are unable to support themselves — but the department also serves families in crisis, children in foster care, food stamp recipients, home energy assistance clients and people who are on Medicaid. The department investigates abuse allegations and works closely with Family Court on family and child welfare issues.
Potter, who lives in Ballston Spa, is a lifelong county resident. She attended Corinth High School and Plattsburgh State College. The department hired her as a social welfare examiner in 1981.