Democrat Toby Shelley declared victory in the sheriff's race versus Republican Esteban Gonzalez on Election Night. Photo by Chris Libonati | Central Current

Onondaga County Sheriff-elect Toby Shelley has picked his undersheriff and chief deputies for when he takes over the office on Jan. 1.

All but one of Shelley’s picks are retired deputies who worked for decades in the sheriff’s office. None served in leadership roles in current Sheriff Eugene Conway’s administration.

Shelley is the first Democrat to be elected sheriff in Onondaga County since Patrick “Packy” Corbett in 1978.

Undersheriff: Jeffrey Passino

Jeffrey Passino served for 22 years in the sheriff’s office as a detective and investigator. He is a former union president. Shelley said he chose Passino for his experience and loyalty.

“You want that person to be there when you’re not there,” Shelley said.

Passino served as Shelley’s de facto campaign manager during Shelley’s run against Esteban Gonzalez.

Chief Police Deputy: Matthew Fischer

Matthew Fischer retired Nov. 28 from the sheriff’s office as a patrol sergeant. He ran the department’s field training program, which is the last step in the training process before a recruit becomes a deputy.

He has also served as the supervisor of emergency management, in the department’s public order unit and as the vice president of the union.

The chief police deputy oversees the department’s patrol officers.

Chief Custody Deputy: John Drapikowski

John Drapikowski has worked for 38 years in law enforcement. He worked at Jamesville Correctional Facility and the Onondaga County jail. His former titles include firearms instructor and evidence technician.

Drapikowski has also worked as a school resource officer and in the the public safety departments at local colleges.

The custody chief serves as the head of the Onondaga County Justice Center.

Chief Corrections Deputy: Rick Miori

Rick Miori has worked as an Onondaga County Park Ranger and owns a martial arts business. He has never worked in corrections, which he’ll be in charge of for the county next year.

Shelley said he intentionally hired an outsider for the corrections position, to lead Jamesville Correctional Facility.

Miori has promised to go through the corrections training program, Shelley said.

Chief Civil Deputy: Melissa Berlinski

Melissa Berlinski worked for 31 years in the sheriff’s office, including as a sergeant. Her roles have included crime lab evidence technician, and head of the department’s fleet of cars.

She has also worked as a Liverpool Central School District school resource officer.

The chief civil deputy oversees grants, administrative and fiscal operations of the department.

Chief of Staff Services: Maureen Murphy

Maureen Murphy worked in Onondaga County human resources roles for 39 years, including 10 years at the sheriff’s office. Shelley highlighted human resources experience as a reason he hired Murphy.

Shelley’s administration intends to move the human resources duties previously overseen by the county’s chief civil deputy to the chief of staff services role. The county’s personnel department still has to approve the change in duties for the title, Murphy said.

Currently, the chief of staff services oversees fleet management, community relations and the pistol licensing unit.


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Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or