By Patrick O’Grady
Valley News Correspondent
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Newport — A 1991 Stevens High School graduate who served 22 years in the Air Force has
been selected as the new Sullivan County manager, county officials announced on
Derek Ferland, 43, has begun working with county manager Jessie Levine, who is retiring
later this spring due to health reasons. Ferland, who retired from the military earlier this year, was chosen from a nationwide field of more than 35 candidates after the commissioners spent a few months reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.
“It was his vast amount of management experience in the military,” said Jeff Barrette,
chairman of the three-member County Commission, when asked about some of what
made Ferland stand out among the candidates.
Barrette also said all three commissioners were impressed by Ferland during the interview
process.“He was phenomenal. Just blew us away,” Barrette said. Managing projects of $10 million or more and tackling new job responsibilities every couple of years demonstrate his knowledge and experience in the field of finance as well as his ability to adapt to change, Barrette said, adding that Ferland’s local ties also were a factor.
In a news release from the county commissioners on Wednesday, Ferland said he is
looking forward to the challenge and to coming home.
“I am honored to serve as the next county manager and thank the commissioners for the
opportunity,” Ferland said.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Ferland talked about the philosophy he will bring to
the job, giving a nod to the work done by Levine.
“I want to continue the emphasis on being accountable to the taxpayers and the people we
serve,” Ferland said. “Take care of the customer (meaning nursing home residents and
others); take care of the taxpayers and look far enough down the road so there are no
surprises and we can continue to keep Sullivan County running eciently and effectively.”
Ferland said his career in the military efforded him the opportunity to be in charge of a
large number of people in different capacities including as deputy commander and
squadron commander, to name two.
“It was a great opportunity to be in an executive role,” he said. Ferland said he also gained experience in managing tight budgets in the face of federal cuts.
“I am very familiar with having to make hard calls on a budget,” he said.
After graduating from Stevens, Ferland went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado and
though he had a long career in the military, he has always been interested in transitioning
to municipal government.
“It is a pretty good transition from (Air Force jobs) to municipal government in terms of
function,” he said. In the news release, Barrette said having someone with Ferland’s experience who has local ties is an ideal combination.
“His management experience and local knowledge will be a great asset to our county,”
Barrette said. “He will fit very well with our talented management team and will continue
Jessie’s good work.”
Ferland and his wife, Dana, have three school-aged children, the oldest a high school
As county manager he will handle a $31.5 million budget and about 280 employees.
His salary is $100,000.
Patrick O’Grady can be reached at email@example.com.