by Doug Malone, Legislator
I am not going to keep going back and forth in the newspaper with County Clerk Mike Backus. It’s apparent he believes what goes on in his fantasy world.
Backus cannot see what’s wrong with his purchase of lunch for legislators? A department head should not give the appearance that he or she is trying to gain favoritism or preferential treatment from those who are in the position to vote on his salary or anything to do with his office. I’ve been a legislator for 16 years and I don’t recall any other department head doing such a thing.
Backus claims that he was asked to hold his feel good open house luncheon by legislators on both sides of the aisle. He must be referring to the legislature seating in chambers because he sure didn’t get a request from any of the Democrat legislators. He might have had a Democrat say an open house would be a good idea but no one recommended a luncheon.
There is nothing in the minutes of his committee to say he got permission for the luncheon and he wasn’t at his first meeting. It is in the minutes that he was absent. Was there some secret meeting to approve this luncheon?
Backus claims in his response that there were many Republicans who voted against the IQS contract for the clerk’s office. I don’t know his definition of many, but the minutes show only three Republican’s voted against it. Two Republican legislators were absent from the meeting, three voted against , leaving 15 Republicans to vote in favor. Perhaps Backus meant to say that many voted in favor. I’m not sure how he qualifies it that I’m playing politics by stating the truth.
Backus wasn’t around for all the controversy but he does have access to the other proposals that were received. If he’s look, he’d find there were good, responsible companies that were a lot cheaper. If he really had concern for the taxpayer’s best interests, he would reconsider these proposals.
Backus said that last year was an expensive election cycle. The Republicans has to fight a “protracted legal battle” for the clerk’s race and that there could be a legal battle for the treasurer’s race. Of course he doesn’t want the governor to appoint any of these vacancies because that would take the power and control away from him and low and behold, the governor might appoint a Democrat.
Isn’t it funny that at least three counties have had vacancies in the treasurer’s office and the governor filled each vacancy? Just last year, Governor Cuomo appointed a person to fill a vacancy in the treasurer’s office in Jefferson County. Of course, we all know Backus wanted to be the clerk and I’m sure he had his hand-picked Republican candidate for treasurer.
Anyone watching the Feb. 14 legislature meeting on television can see Backus standing in the doorway by the press table, arms folded, as if he was the king. No one ever stands in that doorway when the legislature is in session and he should have been back with the other department heads. He sure gave the appearance that he was trying to intimidate everyone from the press to his Republican cronies. What’s he trying to prove? That he controls Oswego County?
My constituents know I don’t mince words. I call it as I see it. Backus can spin things all he wants, make excuses for taking political contributions from IQS, and stand in doorways during the meeting with his arms folded like he’s the king, smirking, but facts are facts.
I didn’t attack the clerk employees. In fact, the opposite is true. The Democrat legislators listened to the employees when no one else would. They had gone to the county administrator, the legislature chairman and other Republican’s to no avail. They came to us and we did our best to help them. The employees know we are always here to listen. There’s not much we can do because the Republicans control county government, but we can make sure the public knows what’s going on.
I’m inclined to think that Backus doesn’t want me to publicize the facts because it might “further” tarnish his personal, professional and political reputation. I’ve got news for him. He can only ride on John McHugh’s coattails for so long. One of these days he’s got to grow up and face the fact that he threw himself into the political arena and there’s more to it than a cushy paycheck.