Valley Viewpoints: Baseless allegations

by Michael Backus, County clerk

Once again, I feel it is my duty to respond to allegations made by Legislator Doug Malone.

Amongst the litany of negative, baseless allegations he makes against me personally, he mixes my role as an elected county official (county clerk) and that of my party-elected position (Oswego County Republican Committee chairman). Neither position have I ever hid from the public and I believe I have been quite forthcoming disclosing my party position with the county’s ethics board.

Legislator Malone once again attempts to besmirch a privately held business entity that employs many Oswego County residents because of allegations of impropriety that he believes exists.

To wear one hat as Republican chairman, I will say that there were many Republican legislators who voted against awarding the imaging contract to the current vendor along with Legislator Malone and his caucus. That’s a fact that he wants you to believe was only specific to his political party, once again showing that he is only interested here in playing politics.

To stay with my Republican chairman hat on, Legislator Malone is correct that many donations are made to the Oswego County Republican Committee and those donations are filed with the NYS Board of Elections in accordance with their regulations.

Last year, both political parties raised thousands of dollars to support their candidates. As I stated in our OCRC monthly newsletter, I am proud of the “hard work, loyal friends and supportive benefactors” that we, the Republican Party have. In politics you have to raise the money necessary to further your goals.

Last year was an expensive election cycle. We had to fight a protracted legal battle for the county clerk race and we’re preparing based on the public comments from Legislator Malone and others for another legal battle for the position of treasurer.

Set aside my party position, I am deeply offended by Legislator Malone’s continued attack on the Oswego County Clerk’s office.

On Valentine’s Day, I hosted an “Open House” and purchased lunch items and bottled water for my staff and any guests that wished to attend. Every legislator, regardless of party, was personally invited out of respect by me. To further show Legislator Malone’s tact, he is incorrect to state that no Democrat legislators attended. Again, he chose to keep up the game and let these malicious allegations fly.  And let me state that I personally paid for the luncheon; I notified my oversight committee a month prior; and this “Open House” was asked for by legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as members of my staff.

Finally, I want to clearly state my frustration with Legislator Malone and his apparent goal of further tarnishing my personal, professional and political reputation. Further, and more important to me, is his constant attack upon the employees of the Clerk’s office.

These folks are hard-working dedicated public servants who do not deserve the public vendetta that Legislator Malone apparently has against this office. His attempt to cast doubt upon our abilities to securely process information is shameful and below that of a person elected to protect the public interest.

As I stated in my initial response to him if he would like to come in and personally witness the hard work that these county employees do every day he is my guest.

I would love for him to speak with our current vendor to evaluate the system that many users have spoke very highly of to me and has many confidentiality controls to assure proper security protocols.

This office has nothing to hide. We will have an audit and I look forward to any questions or concerns that any legislator, employee or member of the public may have. As stated, my door is open.

Lastly, this is my second response to a letter signed by Legislator Malone and it was my honest hope that he would heed my invitation and come speak with me about his concerns.

He apparently is unwilling to do so and just wants to continue to play politics. This is why young people are leaving this county in droves.

This is why young people don’t get involved in politics.  And this is why I feel it is my duty to stand up to this public bullying and protect the hard work that so many have put into this county.

We have great opportunities here in Oswego County, but this good-old-boy politic, back-biting, public shaming must end if we are to attract and keep the next generation of Oswego County leaders.

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