Valley Viewpoints: Fundamental differences

by Phillip Vasho, Fulton

As many of you may know, the Oswego County Clerk’s office has been the center of controversy for the past several years. I decided to run for the office because I believe, like many of you, that enough is enough.

There are some fundamental differences between myself and my opponent. My opponent said he will personally evaluate and decide for himself if an audit of books is needed. I won’t hesitate to have an independent forensic audit conducted. Not only do the problems that plague the office deem one necessary, but it makes sense that after 30 years of one person in charge an audit must be done.

My opponent hasn’t addressed how he will deal with the bullying of certain employees. These employees are harassed and bullied almost daily by management. I have met with these employees and their working conditions are substandard, to say the least. No one should work under those conditions and no one will. The bullies will be gone.

The taxpayers won’t be paying more than $300,000 than necessary for the computerized records of the clerk’s office.  The indexing of records will be brought back in-house. There is no justifiable reason to pay an outside company thousands of dollars to do something that the employees are well trained and qualified to do. There will be no more charging of an exorbitant fee for maps.

I currently serve as the chairman of the City of Fulton Democrat Committee. If elected, I will immediately resign my position. The clerk’s office has been the epicenter of the Republican Party for too long and it is no place for politics. My opponent is the chairman of the Republican Committee. He has not said he will step down. Do we really want more of the same?

My opponent held a fund-raiser that was hosted by Assemblyman Will Barclay, former U.S. Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay, former U.S. Senator and current lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato, Rep. Richard Hanna, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, Senator Patty Ritchie, and former state Republican chairman J. Patrick Barrett, among others.

What interest do these Republican bigwigs have in the Oswego County Clerk’s office? The clerk’s office is where all the public’s personal and confidential information is kept — be it a driving record, divorce, sealed criminal case or pistol permit. There have been enough allegations of release of confidential information and if elected, this will not happen under my reign.

Due to the circumstances that led to the position being on the ballot just weeks ago, there is little time to campaign and it is impossible for me to get out and meet everyone. My opponent has no experience in county government operations and especially in the operation of the clerk’s office.

I served on the oversight committee for the clerk’s office for five years. I have an understanding of how the office operates and the budget. I promise to return the clerk’s office to the people. I would appreciate your support Nov. 6.

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