Category Archives: Featured Stories

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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Two New York State Troopers exit the 420 Emporium on Broadway in Fulton Wednesday afternoon. The Fulton Police Department, the Oswego Police Department, the State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the “head shop.”

Fulton ‘head shop’ raided by local and federal agents

Two New York State Troopers exit the 420 Emporium on Broadway in Fulton Wednesday afternoon. The Fulton Police Department, the Oswego Police Department, the State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the “head shop.”

by Carol Thompson

Just days after President Barack Obama signed a bill making bath salts and synthetic marijuana illegal, authorities across Central New York raided shops suspected of selling the now illegal substances.

The 420 Emporium in the City of Fulton was one of the many shops targeted. The raids were conduced by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local officials.

In Fulton, residents were cheering the raid from across the street as it took place.

The nationally coordinated raids took place in New York, Minnesota, California, Ohio, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and other states.

Over the past two years, the country has seen a surge in the use of synthetic drugs.

Earlier this week, Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes gave members of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee an update on the drug use locally. (see related story).

The bath salts have led to a surge in arrests that are caused by the hallucinate effects of the drugs.

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Backdated documents could cause legal problems for county

by Carol Thompson

The allegation of backdating legal documents in the Oswego County Clerk’s office surfaced during a committee meeting earlier this week.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey raised the issue during Wednesday’s meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee. He said he had received three telephone calls from people with concerns of the impropriety of backdating documents. Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he had also received a call from an abstractor who was concerned with the alleged backdating.

The clerk’s office had three index clerks working in the court records department. One of those employees, Claudia Gamble, was promoted to senior index clerk at the first of the year and moved to the land records department. The vacancy left in court records was never filled, although Mulcahey said that when he spoke with County Clerk George Williams six to eight weeks ago, he was told the process was underway to hire another person.

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GOP legislators block property tax break

by Carol Thompson

Republican lawmakers blocked an effort by the Democrat caucus that would allow homeowners who make improvements to their property to receive a tax break.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature’s Consumer and Community Affairs Committee, a resolution was presented to schedule a public hearing on the issue.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey, a Democrat, made the motion to set the hearing date. Legislators Dan Chalifoux, Mary Flett, Kevin Gardner, Terry Wilbur, John Martino and Robert Hayes, all Republicans, sat in silence.

With the lack of a second to the motion, the resolution cannot be brought to the floor. “I guess it dies then,” said Wilbur, who chairs the committee.

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County to participate in ‘yellow dot’ program

by Carol Thompson

A new program being promoted by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association could help emergency responders provide better medical care immediately after a car crash or any other emergency.

The goal of the “Yellow Dot” program is “to help first responders provide life-saving medical attention” by having drivers store basic medical information in the glove compartments of their cars.

Started in Connecticut in 2002, the program has begun to spread nationally. Approximately 30 counties in New York State participate in the program that is free to both residents and the county.

Free kits are available that contain a medical information card and a Yellow Dot decal. Participants complete the card, attach a recent photo and place it in the glove compartment of their vehicle. Participants then place the Yellow Dot decal on the rear driver’s side window to let first responders know to look for the information.

The service is also available to those placing the sticker near the front door of their home and the medical information is placed in the freezer.

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