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Dan Hust | Democrat

Moniquka Diaz-Corley waves to a well-wisher as County Clerk Neil Gilberg signs his name in the oath book, where generations of names are held.

County Clerk Swears In New Deputy

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — May 25, 2007 – In a small gathering Wednesday in the Sullivan County Government Center’s Legislative Hearing Room and then repeated in the county clerk’s office, Moniquka Diaz-Corley was sworn in as the new deputy county clerk.
The 1995 Monticello High School graduate was full of anticipation but had actually already gotten to work by the time she and new County Clerk Neil Gilberg signed the oath book.
“I am honored and pleased that Neil has put his faith in me to run this department,” Diaz-Corley, 30, said from her new office overlooking Monticello’s North Street.
Though having only met Gilberg days after Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his selection as county clerk, Diaz-Corley said she and Gilberg “just clicked.”
“As Neil has said, our managerial styles definitely coincide,” she remarked.
Not that it’s been a completely smooth transition – Diaz-Corley took over the seat long occupied by Nora Manzolillo, who was abruptly fired by Gilberg on Monday.
The day of her termination, Manzolillo expressed her bitterness and anger about what she felt was a politically motivated move by county Democrats, after she forced former County Clerk George Cooke out of office last year amidst allegations of impropriety.
Though the Sullivan County Legislature has yet to determine her new salary, Diaz-Corley will make more than the $37,516 she earned while with the DMV, though it likely will not initially be the $42,733 Manzolillo was earning at the end of her tenure.
Diaz-Corley opted not to get into the controversy about Manzolillo, who’s essentially been running the county clerk’s office since January, but she did praise Cooke.
“George is a great man, a good friend and a huge supporter of mine,” said Diaz-Corley, who was hired by Cooke in 2004 to oversee the county’s office of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
She added that Cooke, a 15-year public servant, inspired her to stay in Sullivan County and make a difference.
“He and his family will always be a part of my life,” she said.
Speaking of family, Diaz-Corley was proud to have mom Sylvia and stepfather Shabulii Kohloa present for her swearing-in. Dad Miguel Diaz lives in Puerto Rico, while husband Jason Corley is a police officer in Monticello. The couple has a set of 14-month-old twins, Bryce and Aja Corley.
The family lives in Monticello, where Diaz-Corley also serves as a Town of Thompson board member. The Democrat was appointed to that position a year ago and then elected to it last November.
(Since the county clerk’s office does not deal with federal funds, the county attorney’s office and Thompson’s town attorney both confirmed that Diaz-Corley’s new job will not violate the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits municipal employees from holding partisan elected office if they handle federal monies.)
Eager to get started, Diaz-Corley hopes to make the 18 people she now oversees feel like part of a family themselves.
“I just would like to make this a positive place to come and work,” she explained. “The ladies of this department have had a lot of ups and downs.”
She’ll be joined by Gilberg’s other new appointment, current Fallsburg Police Department Chief Angel Lamboy, who will assume Diaz-Corley’s old DMV position on June 4.

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