Category Archives: Featured Stories

Legislators irked over ‘gag order’

by Carol Thompson

Some Oswego County Legislators are angered over an e-mail message they received from County Administrator Phil Church in regard to the pending award of a contract for data imaging services for the office of the County Clerk.

During the July 25 meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, legislators voted to award the contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool — despite the company being one of the most costly and having the lowest score given by a panel appointed to review the five bidding vendors.

The committee first received the vendor information blindly with letters replacing company names. Prior to the names being revealed to legislators, County Clerk George Williams said he wanted IQS to receive the contract. He praised the service of IQS and referred to them as “our company.”

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Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

Loggins ignites Harborfest crowd

Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

by Carol Thompson

Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

The opening act for Loggins was his own band, Blue Sky Riders featuring Georgia Middleman, Gary Burr and Loggins. The crowd was not as large for the opening act, however, began to fill in as the time approached for Loggins to take the stage under his own billing.

Loggins continually engaged the audience as he alternated between rock music and softer ballads such as “Return to Pooh Corner.”  His hit song “Footloose” from the movie of the same name, had concert goers on their feet, dancing and clapping. The performance of “Whenever I call you friend” mellowed the audience, many of whom sang along.

Loggins engaged the audience with his hit song “Celebrate Me Home,” having everyone sing the chorus to mimic the sound of his original cut that included gospel singers.

Loggins was popular in the 1970s as he teamed with Jim Messina. As Loggins and Messina, the duo recorded songs such as “Danny’s Song” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”

Loggins and Messina split in 1976 and Loggins launched a solo career, winning a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal in 1980 for the song “This is it.”

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Cayuga Community College tuition to increase two percent

by Andrew Henderson

The Cayuga County Legislature recently approved Cayuga Community College’s 2012-2013 budget, which includes a 3.4 percent, or approximately $130 a year, increase in tuition.

The 2012-13 annual tuition will be $3,950 for full-time students and the part-time rate will be $160 per credit. The student fees remain unchanged.

The $32.36 million college budget represents a 5.19-percent increase over last year, which is the result of the new Fulton campus in Oswego County and the fact that 80 percent of the operating expenditures are fixed costs. These expenditures include such items as heating, electrical, water, insurance, rent, and employee salary and benefit contractual obligations.

“We have done our best to propose a fiscally sound budget that keeps the college moving forward while acknowledging the investment made by Cayuga County taxpayers,” said CCC President Daniel Larson. “We are pleased to see that the county has approved the budget, including an increase in its direct allocation to us. We know from economic impact studies that for every dollar invested in the college, taxpayers will see a return with a cumulative added value of $3.30 in the form of higher tax revenues and avoided social savings costs.”

The Cayuga County Legislature approved the college’s operating budget for 2012-13 with a two-percent increase — or approximately $56,830 — in its local sponsor contribution.  This is the first increase in three years. The total direct contribution by Cayuga County now will be $2,898,345 for 2012-13.

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FOIL policy yet to be ironed out

by Carol Thompson

How Oswego County legislators will be treated when they need public information continues to be ironed out as members of the Strategic Planning and Government Committee once again postponed the passage of a policy.

At issue is whether legislators should be required to file a Freedom of Information request form and pay for copies of records as the public must.

A draft policy was considered during Monday’s meeting, however, the committee had not concluded how many copies of records would be available before a charge kicks in.

The draft document left blank the number of copies that can be obtained for free and a new clause was added to address the election season.

County Administrator Phil Church said he had spoken with County Attorney Richard Mitchell that morning in regard to payment during the election season.

The legislators would pay for FOIL requests during the season so that there is no advantage over an opponent.

“I have no problem, I think that’s a good change,” Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said.

There has been much discussion this year as to whether legislators should pay for records that are needed in their official capacity and whether they should be required to make a request under FOIL and wait for the records as the public must.

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Democrat legislator kicked off panel to review data imaging services

by Carol Thompson

A Democrat legislator selected to serve on a panel to review proposals received for data imaging services for the Oswego County Clerk’s office had been kicked off the committee for allegedly violating the communication clause of the request for proposal.

Legislator Dan Farfaglia said he was notified July 12 that he was removed from the committee because he was quoted in the newspaper in regard to Info Quick Solutions, Inc., the current contract holder.

Farfaglia commented in regard to a system crash in the clerk’s office that left some computers down for two days.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he requested Farfaglia be replaced with another Democrat, however, that did not occur.

“I accepted the decision of the Chairman (Fred Beardsley) to remove me from the panel even though I completely disagreed with it,” said Farfaglia. “I did not violate the terms of the contract that the members signed when it was formed. It stated that the we were not to speak to the media about the process. And I didn’t, all I did was publicly state my opinion regarding a serious problem with the current vendor for the County Clerk’s office.

“It would not have impaired my ability to review the proposals objectively because these were blind bids, we didn’t know which RFP’s belonged to who,” Farfaglia added. “When their computer systems crashed, I was told that it was not a major crisis and that most systems were restored. I went to the clerk’s office myself and saw that it was not the case.

“Again, IQS was supposedly brought in so that these problems wouldn’t occur,” he continued. “Now I’m extremely disgusted that IQS was selected to keep the contract despite having the lowest rating and being the most costly of the proposals. So the work of this bipartisan panel over the last few months was all for nothing. All of us wasted our time with this because the decision was made beforehand.”

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, County Clerk George Williams noted that both Judge Norman Seiter and Judge James McCarthy receive the services of IQS free of charge. The two judges have reportedly had the service for approximately two years.

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Committee recommends IQS to serve clerk’s office

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended a contract for data imaging services be awarded to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the Republican members of the committee voted to recommended the company receive the contract, based on a recommendation from County Clerk George Williams.

The county, in a third attempt to award a contract to service the county clerk’s office with data imaging services, went through a stringent process to select a company without controversy.

A panel was named to perform a blind review of the proposals and rate each one using a scoring system.

IQS was given the lowest score of the five companies vying for the contract. IQS was given an overall score of 457.25 while Property Info Corp. had the highest score at 649 followed by ACS Systems with a score of 618.25. IMR received a score of 561.25 and New Vision was scored at 516.25.

Each vendor was given four pricing options. Option four, which would require county-owned hardware, had IQS with the second highest pricing. IQS submitted a proposal for $13,543.

The lowest proposal came from ACS at $5,338 with conditions. Property Info Corp. submitted a cost of $8,087.25 and New Vision submitted a price of $10,440.

The highest bidder, IMR, submitted a price of $13,995.

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Committee chair discusses vote on clerk contract

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislator Terry Wilbur, who serves as the chairman of the Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, said Thursday that he didn’t feel legislators had enough time to review the proposals for a data imaging contract to service the office of the County Clerk.

County Administrator Phil Church handed out the proposals during Wednesday’s meeting. The legislators were first given “blind” copies with the names of the bidding companies substituted with letters.

A discussion ensued in regard to the proposals and prior to voting, Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked for a 15-minute recess so that those who needed to make a decision could review the 23-page document Church had given to them.

Following the recess, Church provided a key to the letter coding, naming each of the vendors.

It was decided by a majority of the committee to take the recommendation of County Clerk George Williams, who recommended Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool.

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County DA discusses bath salts

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes spoke to members of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee about bath salts, the synthetic drug that’s been making headlines as arrests related to use increase.

During Monday’s meeting, Oakes said he had met with the county administrator, county attorney, legislature chairman and the sheriff to talk about local legislation to prohibit sales and possession of bath salts.

“It’s becoming ever more present,” he said.

Oakes said that from the consumer standpoint, it is not known what is in the product, which can be smoked and snorted. Oakes said testing the components of the bath salts can cost between $100-$200.

The effects of the bath salts on the human body can cause a plethora of bizarre behavior.  The salts can cause the body temperature to rise to 105-106 degrees, Oakes noted. That is the reason why so many users are found naked.

Oakes said one police officer told him that it once took six officers to restrain an average size man high on bath salts.  It’s a problem for hospital staff as well as they attempt to treat someone who is paranoid, hallucinating and have super strength.

“We are fortunate that there aren’t any deaths attributed to it at this point,” Oakes said.

County Attorney Richard Mitchell said Family Court has begun to see bath salts and synthetic marijuana use in 15 and 16 year olds. He added that they are stealing it and using it.

“The ban once enacted, it will take a while for this stuff to disappear, I’m sure,” Mitchell said.

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