Friday, January 6, 2012

Ethics charge leads to feud in Oswego County Republican party

An ethics charge filed against one of their own has sparked a feud in the Republican caucus of the Oswego County Legislature.

Outgoing Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann filed an ethics charge against Legislator Shawn Doyle over the use of a small office in the H. Douglas Barclay Court House in Pulaski. 

Doyle serves as the historian for the Town of Richland and the town rents space in the court house from the county.

Under an agreement made between former town supervisor Jim Atkinson and former Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson, the office space in question, on the upper level of the court house, was agreed upon verbally. 

The ethics complaint was leaked to the press prior to Doyle receiving it or having any knowledge of it (see related story) raising another question of ethics. Complaints are confidential until the time the ethics board makes a determination.

Although he filed the complaint, Leemann said he did so based on questions raised by several legislators, none of whom he would name. 

He added that he did not file the complaint personally but as the chairman.

Doyle does not blame Leemann but rather placed the blame on Legislator Fred Beardsley. 

“This action is retaliation because I led the charge to fairly bid the IQS data management contract,” Doyle alleged. “The way that contract was bid was absolutely corrupt.”

Doyle said he is also one of a half dozen legislators who signed an ethics complaint against County Clerk George Williams in regard to his testimony under oath in an unemployment hearing.

The transcripts state that Williams “purposely set up” an employee of his office. 

Doyle said he signed the complaint after reading the court transcripts.

“Workplace harassment should not be a partisan issue,” he said in regard to signing the complaint that is signed by both Republican and Democrat legislators.

Doyle said he uses the court house office to store historical records and to meet with residents and students performing research projects. The town nor Doyle charges for research services, he said.

The ethics complaint has the ire of legislators who are concerned that it will fracture the Republican caucus even more than it has been.


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