Political back and forth

by Michael Backus, County clerk

While I am glad to read that Legislator Malone is apparently ending this back and forth, I notice that he cannot help himself but continue his pointless attack in his letter.

I learned a long time ago that people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. I believe many of the “facts” that Legislator Malone continues to portray as his own are actually rumor, innuendo and long held grudges.

Whether he choses to continue to publish them via these letters for political gain or notoriety remains to be seen.

The larger point is he could, and still can, stop by at anytime and help me understand the issues he has with the clerk’s office.  I recognize the situation that I was elected to and this public shaming that he has attempted to engage me in certainly does not help me administer my official duties as county clerk.

He also keeps up this discrimination against me based on my age. This is why I stated in my last response that this is why young people don’t get involved in politics.

In Legislator Malone’s era, this public shaming, back biting and good old boy politic was the “political arena” that he referenced. He could get away with “calling it as he sees it” regardless of the veracity of his statements.

Today these negative attacks benumb and further alienate the public from their government — its time it stopped and that’s why I continue to respond.

Additionally, Legislator Malone can’t seem to grasp the fact that the open house, which he continues to malign, was indeed called for by members of his own caucus. He should also speak with any member of the Government, Courts and Consumer Affairs committee to understand that in the letter I submitted I clearly outlined my intentions.

As stated I was elected to a challenging office with many issues, chief among them was collegiality. Having a working relationship with co-workers is critically important to an office such as the clerk’s and so is that relationship with the legislature and the general public.

This open house, in my opinion, was a good first step toward building a constructive, positive culture in my office and not one person besides Legislator Malone has had a negative comment about it.

Once again, I do take some offense to his claims of “intimidation” and his portrayal that department heads should be relegated to the back of the room.

On the legislative day in question there were a great many guests on hand as the legislature was debating a resolution in opposition to the NYSAFE Act. I stood where I could hear the debate, which consisted mostly of public comment.

Legislator Malone’s allegations of “intimidation” are laughable as that resolution passed with bipartisan, unanimous support. Quite honestly, if Legislator Malone had felt intimidated by me standing there he could have taken me aside after or even during the meeting and asked that I not stand there in the future.  I probably would have heeded his words and appreciated his tact in politely asking for consideration.

Finally, I am choosing here to not bite at his accusations regarding the treasurer’s race and my role as Oswego County Republican Committee chairman. I have stated publicly what I have been advised by legal counsel, the board of elections and many others with knowledge of the situation as to how this process should play out.

Should a court of law or the governor come in and tell us differently then we’ll adjust.  All I can do is work with the information that I have and seek as open a process politically as I can.

At the end of the day, the people of this county will elect their next treasurer this November regardless of any appointment or political back and forth.

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