Legislator calls for investigation into backdating of county records

by Carol Thompson

The meeting of the Oswego County Legislature turned into an inquisition when some legislators questioned the backdating of legal documents in the office of the County Clerk by Deputy Clerk of Operations Matthew Bacon.

Legislator Shawn Doyle said there had been a discussion at a recent meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee in regard to Bacon instructing employees to backdate legal documents.

Doyle said he was told the timestamp had been tampered to reflect an earlier date to appear on the documents. He asked County Attorney Richard Mitchell if he had given permission to Bacon to backdate the records and what the status is.

“I’d like to know what Mr. Mitchell has found about this,” Doyle said.

Mitchell said he was not aware of any tampering of the timestamp.

He said the mail had become backlogged and it was being stamped for the date it was received.

If the envelopes were not marked received, they were clocked to the closest date of when they may have been received, Mitchell added.

Doyle said he was concerned about the backdating as it pertains to abstractors who may be conducting search.

Mitchell cut him off by stating, “I share that concern.”

He added that if Doyle had questions he could certainly contact him at his office. “I don’t know of tampering,” he noted.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he wanted an extensive investigation to be sure the county would have no liability.

“Do we know for sure that we haven’t put ourselves in liability?” he asked, calling for Mitchell to investigate.

Mitchell said it is not his job to investigate. He added that he would prefer to discuss the question of liability elsewhere.

Kunzwiler said he wanted to be sure the county, the legislature and the public are protected by going back and insuring what was done would pass muster with the law.

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