Legislature chairman won’t investigate questionable bid

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said Thursday that he will not launch an investigation into a possible conflict-of-interest between a legislator and a county vendor.

During the conclusion of Thursday’s legislature meeting, Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked Gardner for the status of a complaint he made under the county’s Rule 14 procedure.

The procedure allows a legislator to request the chairman investigate any allegations of wrongdoing within the legislature.

“I have found no issues,” Gardner said.

Kunzwiler disagreed. “There was enough information provided.”

He added that he believed it was wrong for the same legislator who is alleged to have participated in a questionable bid be placed on the search committee assigned to find a new purchasing director.

Fred Maxon, who held the position, retired recently, and Gardner appointed Legislator John (Jay) Martino to the committee.

Kunzwiler said Gardner is wrong to be dismissive in regard to the allegations.

“We need to do our diligence and we need to investigate this and we need to put the public trust back in the bidding system of this county,” he said. “It’s lacking, it’s grossly inefficient right now and we’re disrespecting taxpayers by not following through on this.”

Kunzwiler also noted that vendors have been complaining about the county’s unfair bidding practices. Five vendors are known to have complained in less than one year. Two vendors threatened to bring action against the county and one vendor has taken his complaint to the state.

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