Florida resident irked as he tries to find historical information

by Carol Thompson

A retired Navy officer, who came from Florida to Oswego County to research the Oswego Children’s Home, formerly known as the Oswego Orphan Asylum, alleged that not only was he denied access to the records, but that County Historian Justin White failed to meet with him at a scheduled time.

In a Sept. 26 letter sent to Oswego County legislators, Frank Fisher said that he had made an appointment with White personally before traveling to Oswego County.

“Mr. White stood me up for our appointment September 8, 2012…” the letter states. ”I had made the appointment by telephone with Mr. White personally before traveling from Florida to Oswego with a brief stop in Poughkeepsie.”

Fisher said that he was a resident of the Oswego Children’s Home from 1951 through 1956 when it closed. He had requested to view the ledgers and visitor records and alleged he was denied access.

White also serves as president of the Oswego County Historical Society, where the records are kept.

Fisher alleged White refused to provide him with the names of the historical society board members and refused to provide a copy of the organizations Constitution and by-laws.

“Mr. White also fills a part-time non-competitive position as county historian working for the Oswego County Clerk of the Court,” he wrote. “I see little evidence of a vibrant program under Mr. White’s direction there either.”

As of press time, there were no Oswego County Historical Society board members available to comment.

When contacted, White said he could not speak to the media per a Sept. 20 memo issued by acting County Clerk Georgiana Mansfield. The county historian falls under the jurisdiction of the county clerk and White also works in the Oswego office as an index clerk.

The legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee held an executive session last week in regard to the content of the memo, however, legislators are being tight-lipped as to the outcome of the closed door meeting and whether the gag order had been lifted.

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