Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Owens will deliver opening remarks about job creation and economic development, and then answer direct questions from attendees.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide a forum for Upstate New Yorkers to voice their concerns and discuss what is important to them,” said Owens. “The best way to solve problems is to have an open and civil discussion on the issues facing Upstate New York.”
Sunday, June 26, 2011
“We did file a Taylor Law demand and received a copy of the letter and we are consulting with our attorneys on the next steps,” the county’s CSEA union President Bill Reed said Thursday.
The three-page letter, dated May 28, disclosed the names of several employees listed as “the cast of characters or disgruntle (sic) employees.”
The names of four employees are listed, accusing them and others of being players “in a ploy to have me removed from the office of County Clerk after 31 year (sic),” the letter states.
The letter was discussed during the June 9 meeting of the Oswego County Legislature. Reed was in the audience but did not comment. He said he did not speak because he had only heard about the letter when the issue was raised on the floor.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The letter, reportedly to be written by Williams and sent to “Republican Legislators” states, “Before I start I would like to list the cast of characters or disgruntle (sic) employees in the County Clerks (sic) Registrars Office so that you know them by name.”
The names of four employees are listed, accusing them and others of being players “in a ploy to have me removed from the office of County Clerk after 31 year (sic).”
Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler brought the letter up for discussion during Thursday’s meeting of the full legislature. “I’ve been in this legislature 14 years and I’ve seen some rotten things happen in this legislature from time to time...What’s most disturbing about this letter is that it goes on to degrade some of our county employees and (discloses) names, that I believe, is improper for person in that position to do.”
Kunzwiler said the employees should have the right of freedom at any time to go to the legislature, the chairman or the administrator to bring up safety, ethical or lawfulness concerns.
He added that it is “deplorable” to subject the employees to intimidation and said it is in violation of laws, including the Whistleblowers Protection Act.
The following is the law for public employees.
NYS Public Sector Whistleblower Law, NY Civil Service Law, § 75-B
§ 75-b. Retaliatory action by public employers.
1. For the purposes of this section the term:
(a) "Public employer" or "employer" shall mean (i) the state of New
York, (ii) a county, city, town, village or any other political
subdivision or civil division of the state, (iii) a school district or
any governmental entity operating a public school, college or
university, (iv) a public improvement or special district, (v) a public
authority, commission or public benefit corporation, or (vi) any other
public corporation, agency, instrumentality or unit of government which
exercises governmental power under the laws of the state.
(b) "Public employee" or "employee" shall mean any person holding a
position by appointment or employment in the service of a public
employer except judges or justices of the unified court system and
members of the legislature.
(c) "Governmental body" shall mean (i) an officer, employee, agency,
department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority or
other body of a public employer, (ii) employee, committee, member, or
commission of the legislative branch of government, (iii) a
representative, member or employee of a legislative body of a county,
town, village or any other political subdivision or civil division of
the state, (iv) a law enforcement agency or any member or employee of a
law enforcement agency, or (v) the judiciary or any employee of the
(d) "Personnel action" shall mean an action affecting compensation,
appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, reassignment,
reinstatement or evaluation of performance.
2. (a) A public employer shall not dismiss or take other disciplinary
or other adverse personnel action against a public employee regarding
the employee's employment because the employee discloses to a
governmental body information: (i) regarding a violation of a law, rule
or regulation which violation creates and presents a substantial and
specific danger to the public health or safety; or (ii) which the
employee reasonably believes to be true and reasonably believes
constitutes an improper governmental action. "Improper governmental
action" shall mean any action by a public employer or employee, or an
agent of such employer or employee, which is undertaken in the
performance of such agent's official duties, whether or not such action
is within the scope of his employment, and which is in violation of any
federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.
(b) Prior to disclosing information pursuant to paragraph (a) of this
subdivision, an employee shall have made a good faith effort to provide
the appointing authority or his or her designee the information to be
disclosed and shall provide the appointing authority or designee a
reasonable time to take appropriate action unless there is imminent and
serious danger to public health or safety. For the purposes of this
subdivision, an employee who acts pursuant to this paragraph shall be
deemed to have disclosed information to a governmental body under
paragraph (a) of this subdivision.
3. (a) Where an employee is subject to dismissal or other disciplinary
action under a final and binding arbitration provision, or other
disciplinary procedure contained in a collectively negotiated agreement,
or under section seventy-five of this title or any other provision of
state or local law and the employee reasonably believes dismissal or
other disciplinary action would not have been taken but for the conduct
protected under subdivision two of this section, he or she may assert
such as a defense before the designated arbitrator or hearing officer.
The merits of such defense shall be considered and determined as part of
the arbitration award or hearing officer decision of the matter. If
there is a finding that the dismissal or other disciplinary action is
based solely on a violation by the employer of such subdivision, the
arbitrator or hearing officer shall dismiss or recommend dismissal of
the disciplinary proceeding, as appropriate, and, if appropriate,
reinstate the employee with back pay, and, in the case of an arbitration
procedure, may take other appropriate action as is permitted in the
collectively negotiated agreement.
(b) Where an employee is subject to a collectively negotiated
agreement which contains provisions preventing an employer from taking
adverse personnel actions and which contains a final and binding
arbitration provision to resolve alleged violations of such provisions
of the agreement and the employee reasonably believes that such
personnel action would not have been taken but for the conduct protected
under subdivision two of this section, he or she may assert such as a
claim before the arbitrator. The arbitrator shall consider such claim
and determine its merits and shall, if a determination is made that such
adverse personnel action is based on a violation by the employer of such
subdivision, take such action to remedy the violation as is permitted by
the collectively negotiated agreement.
(c) Where an employee is not subject to any of the provisions of
paragraph (a) or (b) of this subdivision, the employee may commence an
action in a court of competent jurisdiction under the same terms and
conditions as set forth in article twenty-C of the labor law.
4. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to diminish or impair the
rights of a public employee or employer under any law, rule, regulation
or collectively negotiated agreement or to prohibit any personnel action
which otherwise would have been taken regardless of any disclosure of
Recently, several abstractors and an attorney have made their opinions public regarding the recommendation of the Oswego County purchasing director to accept the bid of New Vision to provide the text and imaging service for the Oswego County clerk’s office, a service currently provided by IQS (Info Quick Solutions), of Liverpool.
Sara Pinzer, Ryan Thorpe, Aaron Thorpe and attorney Michael Mowry, of Mexico, sent letters to the legislature in support of IQS, the current contract holder and the company involved in a breach of ethics regarding an employee of Oswego County. Pinzer, of 24-Hour Record Retriever and Abstract, states in her letter that she does not believe the legislators “understand what goes on in the clerk’s office at all.”
Perhaps the issue of what the legislators do and do not understand about the county clerk’s office should be addressed from a minority point of view. Legislators do not understand why the deputy county clerk would work for a company doing business with the county while employed by the county. Legislators do not understand how this detail slipped by the county clerk. Legislators do not understand why anyone would expect the county’s taxpayers to enter into a contract with a company that submitted the highest bid, is an admitted party to a breach of ethics and is owned by a close personal friend of the county clerk. These details do not in any way benefit Oswego County.
Legislators do understand that we represent the interests of the taxpayers of Oswego County and not the interests of a private business that hopes to gain financially while the county loses potential revenue. Legislators listened to the presentations of all the companies submitting proposals. Representatives of the county clerk’s office attended these presentations. Every company had ample time and opportunity to make their case.
It is the responsibility of the legislature to come to informed decisions that best serve the taxpayers at the best possible value. It is not wise to rush into a contract decision worth thousands of taxpayer dollars without integrity and careful consideration of all the available options. To assume that legislators cannot or will not educate themselves on this issue or any other ignores the facts and makes an unsubstantiated assumption. However, not only is it unnecessary for legislators to understand every detail of county operations to make sound fiscal and policy decisions, it is an impractical and inefficient way to govern.
We do understand the importance of the standards we deem necessary to enter into a contract with this county. Legislators answer to the people. We will not be bullied into accepting a contract that does not measure up to the standards of honesty, integrity and value that the taxpayers deserve and that we strive to uphold.
Oswego County Legislature
Saturday, June 11, 2011
The three-page letter, introduced under new business by Legislator Mike Kunzwiler, D-Oswego, and Democratic caucus chairman, details some of the issues that Williams has been facing in the last few months regarding to the investigation by the Oswego County Board of Ethics into his deputy clerk’s failure to disclose her employment with Info Quick Solutions Inc. (IQS).
During that investigation, it was determined that the deputy clerk violated general municipal law by being employed with a company contracted by the county, but Williams, also investigated on similar accusations, was exonerated.
His letter to many members of the Republican caucus paints a scenario of several county employees making accusations against him and reporting those accusations to Kunzwiler.
“I’ve seen some rotten things happen in this Legislature from time to time,” Kunzwiler said, “but I received a copy of a letter addressed to Republican legislators from George Williams. What’s more disturbing about this letter is it goes on to degrade some of our county employees and (names them), which I believe is improper for a person in that position to do.
A collection of e-mails between Sarah and Todd Palin and Alaska public officials during Ms. Palin's first 22 months as governor. The messages were originally requested under state public records laws in 2008. The documents were released on Friday, June 10, at 9 a.m. Alaska time. E-mails are organized by the date of each conversation. The New York Times has redacted some documents to remove offensive language.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
New Jersey's embattled Gov. Christie was branded a bully today after he called a female legislator "a jerk."
What really got under Christie's skin was when Vainieri Huttle pointed out that he left during the fifth inning to meet with Iowa businessmen trying to get him to run for President.
"She should really be embarrassed at what a jerk she is," Christie said shortly after he caved to public pressure and agreed to reimburse the state for the chopper rides.
Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat from Bergen County, said she wasn't surprised by Christie's outburst.
"I'm disappointed that the governor resorted to name-calling, but I'm not surprised given his pattern of abusive language towards those who disagree with him," she said. "The public holds elected officials to a higher standard, and this rhetoric doesn't warrant further response."
"The governor needs to learn some decency," Joseph Cryan, the Assembly majority leader, added.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Legislator Doug Malone made a motion to reduce the legislature with Fruce providing the second, adding that he thought it was time to take a look at it.“If it will save the taxpayers some money, I think we should do it,” he said.Legislator
Amy Tresidder has compiled statistics from around the state and she maintains that there will be savings.There are 57 counties in New York State outside of New York City. Thirty-nine of them have legislatures while 17 of them have boards of supervisors. One county has a board of representatives.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
"It's a serious problem. Dean is too vain to wear a hearing aid, but during negotiations he may just be hearing 80 percent of what's being said, ...
The two most powerful leaders in the state Legislature -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos -- don't trust each other, believe that each lies to the other and rarely speak privately, sources close to both men tell The Post.
On the rare occasion that they do speak, Skelos may not even be able to hear Silver correctly, the sources said, referring to the Senate leader's generally unknown-to-the-public hearing loss.
Some on the inside say Skelos' hush-hush hearing impairment has made it difficult to negotiate with Silver, Cuomo and others because he often doesn't catch all that's being said.
"It's a serious problem. Dean is too vain to wear a hearing aid, but during negotiations he may just be hearing 80 percent of what's being said, and that can cause serious problems," said a prominent Senate GOP insider.
The issue became publicly apparent at a bizarre press conference last week in which the property-tax-cap deal was announced -- when Skelos couldn't understand at least one of the questions being posed.