Tag Archives: County Attorney Richard Mitchell

Legislators: County employee not responsible for backdating

by Carol Thompson

An employee of the Oswego County Clerk’s office will not be responsible for backdated legal documents, according to legislators who have been working on the matter.

As reported in the Oct. 17 issue of The Valley News, an employee was asked to index judgments and liens that had been backdated. By doing so, the employee was concerned that it would appear she did the actual backdating.

The employee noted that she did not want to do anything illegal nor be charged with insubordination for failing to perform the work.

The employee went to County Attorney Richard Mitchell to seek advise. That advise was not solid so the employee explained the dilemma to Legislator Jake Mulcahey.

Deputy Clerk of Operations Matthew Bacon admitted he had authorized the backdating when questioned at a meeting in July.  He provided legislators the dates used to backdate the documents.

The question of the legalities surfaced and Legislator Shawn Doyle called for an investigation. Several legislators agreed with him.

In the meantime, it was recommended that the employee put the CSEA union on notice.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

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.

 To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Legislators review ethics policy

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee reviewed a draft ethics policy that will eventually be the subject of a public hearing.

Legislator Milferd Potter said he had some concerns with the policy when it came up for discussion during Monday’s meeting.

“I think we are being a little bit tough on elected officials,” he said.

A part of the draft law prohibits legislators from taking a county job for two years.

“I don’t think we need to be more strict on this than what the state law requires,” Potter said. “I don’t think we should have a two year wait.”

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked what the state law provides. The county must follow the state’s ethics code and can add more but cannot subtract from.

“I don’t think it needs to be in there,” Potter said.

County Attorney Richard Mitchell said the clause applies more to vendors.

A discussion ensued as to vendor relationships and whether anyone covered under the policy cannot do personal business with the vendor.

Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley used Legislator Doug Malone as an example. Malone owns an automotive repair shop and if a county vendor needed a tire repaired and they were down the street from Malone’s shop,  Malone would not be able to fix the tire, Beardsley said.

Malone said he cannot tow vehicles or work for the county and spoke about work he performed more than a decade ago that he was not allowed to receive payment for because of the conflict-of-interest.

The county had also been sued in the past by a group of taxpayers who objected to the county doing business with employees who own businesses.

There was uncertainty as to how the county’s policy addressed the issue.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397