Tag Archives: Fred Beardsley

Quo warrento proceeding requested to remove Beardsley as county treasurer

by Carol Thompson

An appeal has been made to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requesting a quo warrento proceeding to remove Fred Beardsley from the position of county treasurer.

Beardsley was appointed to the position by the county legislature April 11.

For 90 minutes, legislators debated the appointment, questioning Beardsley’s qualifications and education.

Last week, as the legislature was in session, residents were outside protesting the appointment.

Democrats proposed allowing the county’s chief accountant, Mark See, carry out the duties of the treasurer until the end of the year.

See said he would only request an additional five hours of pay per week, saving the county approximately $70,000 in salary and benefits.

The Republicans, with the exception of legislators Shawn Doyle and Margaret Kastler, rejected the idea.

The quo warrento is requested based on the claim that County Clerk Michael Backus failed to file the appropriate notice of vacancy upon the Feb. 27 retirement of John Kruk.

State law mandates that “within ten days after any vacancy occurs as prescribed by section thirty of the public officers law, the county clerk shall give notice thereof to the governor when the power of appointment is vested in the governor and to the board of supervisors when the power of appointment is vested in said board.”

According to the complaint, filed by Legislator Dan Farfaglia, the governor’s office did not receive the notice of vacancy, nor was one filed with the legislature clerk.

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Legislature chairman delivers state of the county address

by Carol Thompson

Fiscal challenges lie ahead for the Oswego County Legislature in part because of the state’s unfunded mandates.

That’s the message Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley delivered in his State of the County address last Thursday.

“Dealing with this dilemma will require many difficult decisions and bipartisan support, and recognition that the state must stop this practice,” Beardsley said.

“It is now my fear that the ongoing practice by the state of creating mandated programs and services with no funding stream attached is going to drive us to the point where we have to consider cutting services that our constituents have come to enjoy so we can operate mandated programs that may not necessarily be among our most needed or desired.

Beardsley encouraged the legislature to work together.

“To my colleagues here in the legislature, I continue to have faith that we can set our political differences aside and that together, we can accomplish our task of providing the people of Oswego County with an efficient, effective, and friendly government,” he said.

Both Republicans and the Democrats worked in harmony to pass an acceptable 2013 budget, however, the Democrats now allege that promises were broken.

One of those promises was to begin making cuts at the first of the year. Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said that it has yet to happen.

Kunzwiler said that he respects the olive branch that he agrees everyone must work together.

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County Republicans select leadership positions

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Republican Committee selected leadership positions for 2013 at a meeting held at Canale’s Restaurant in Oswego Thursday night.

Fred Beardsley won the nod for legislature chairman. His name will be presented on the floor of the Jan. 3 organizational meeting.

Beardsley ran against Legislator Linda Lockwood. It was unknown as of press time whether she will attempt to run on the floor. In order to win, she would need the support of the Democrats.

Legislator Kevin Gardner was nominated to serve as vice chairman. He won against Legislator Ron Sakonyi.

The vice chairman serves in the absence of the chairman. Gardner’s nomination will be brought to the floor at the organizational meeting.

Legislator Jim Oldenburg won the race for majority leader against Legislator Terry Wilbur. Oldenburg will take the position effective Jan. 3.

Legislator Milferd Potter was elected majority whip.  The duty of the whip is to notify absent members of caucus as to what occurred.

“As chairman of the Oswego County Republican Committee, I look forward to working with all members of the legislature in 2013 and especially the caucus elected leadership team,” said Michael Backus, who is also the Oswego County clerk.

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Legislator seek chairman seat

by Carol Thompson

Who will lead the Oswego County Legislature next year will be decided in the upcoming weeks. The leadership will deal with one of the most difficult budget years in almost a decade.

Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley faces a challenge from Legislator Linda Lockwood for the top position. Each candidate was asked a series of questions.

When asked what the first priority will be, Beardsley said the office of chairman does not allow time for a single priority.

“There tends to be a number of issues at any given time,” said Beardsley. “The issues at the forefront right now are the asbestos abatement at DSS, the negotiations with Entergy, contract negotiations with our unions, reapportionment and a day-to-day assessment of our financial situation.”

Lockwood responded, “First priority, pick committees, work with department heads and start working on strategies for next years budget.”

There has been discussion in regard to closing the county’s transfer stations. When asked if this measure would be supported, Lockwood said, “The solid waste department was to be self sustaining. The way the economy is, it is difficult to maintain these transfer stations. The subject will be given much thought and I am hoping an equitable solution can be made.”

Beardsley responded, “Due to continuing mandate increases our county, like many others, faces financial difficulties in 2014 and beyond. We must asses our business model in its entirety on a regular basis. All aspects, including but not limited to solid waste, must be reviewed to insure they operate in the best interest of the taxpayer.”

The minority legislators have long complained that they have been left out of important decision making and Beardsley has been working with the Democrats to ensure they are apprised of all issues.

He said if re-elected, he will continue to work with the Democrats.

“In the first paragraph of my State of the County Address I stated ‘a chairman must preside fairly over the discussions on this floor, and who treats all elected representatives equitably, listening to your concerns and ideas, and fostering cooperation to reach goals that are in the best interest of our residents, taxpayers, and businesses. I pledge to you that is the type of Chairman I will be’,” he said. “I believe I have kept that pledge in 2012 and intend to keep it if re-elected as chairman.”

Lockwood said she has no problem working with the minority. “I have worked on committees with many of the minority members. I have always respected their opinions. I am sure there will be many opportunities for us to work together.”

The chairman is elected by the legislature, however, Beardsley and Lockwood were asked what they would say to the taxpayers if they had a vote.

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

Linda Lockwood seeks legislature chairman seat

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislator Linda Lockwood has sent a letter to her colleagues, expressing her interest in becoming the legislature chairman next year.

In a letter dated Nov. 20, Lockwood wrote, “I have served as a legislator for the past five years. Prior to joining you on the  legislature, I served as a town councilor for 12 years. I have seen the ups and downs of government and experienced many different leadership techniques. It is these experiences that have led me to write to you today. With this letter I respectfully express to you my intent to run for Chair of the Oswego County Legislature.”

Current chairman Fred Beardsley said he is running as well. He said Lockwood’s challenge is a part of the system that takes place to select leadership.

The 20-member Republican majority selects the chairman, generally at a GOP meeting held in mid-December. In past years, the five member minority caucus has had little influence over the chairmanship.  This year, however, could be different.

The Republican caucus has been said to be divided this year, with not all legislators rank and file with Beardsley, although it appears he holds a slim majority. That could result in the Democrat legislators choosing the next chairman.

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

Legislators continue to whittle county budget

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley made it clear during Thursday’s meeting of the legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee that the county’s budget woes are due to the burdensome unfunded mandates that the state continues to pass down to local governments.

Department heads offered small cuts that brought the budget under the mandated property tax cap by approximately $58,000, however, without more cuts there will be a property tax increase.

“None of us are having a real good time with this,” Beardsley said, adding that the county has been strapped with $4.8 million in additional costs passed down from the state. “Additional is the key word.”

In the last four years, the state has passed down from $12 to $15 million in additional costs, Beardsley noted. The chairman added that the fiscal position the county is in is not self-inflicted.

Beardsley said it is not the fault of the department heads and that no one should think they are not doing the best they can. It is the unfunded state mandates that have created the financial problems for the county, he stressed.

Legislators have passed a number of resolutions requesting state representatives ease the burden of the unfunded mandates. The resolutions were delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Patty Ritchie and the four assembly representatives.

The county received no response or assistance, legislators claim, leaving them to cope with the additional costs.

A public hearing will be scheduled during tomorrow’s meeting of the full legislature and special committee meetings will be held later this month so that legislators can further work on the budget.

Currently, property owners will see a tax increase under two percent, however, the goal is to have no tax increase.

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

Backus denies a deal was made with union organization

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Clerk candidate Michael C. Backus denied that he made a deal to help get apprentice language into contracts through the Oswego County Legislature in exchange for the endorsement of the Central and Northern New York Building Trades Council.

“I have said since the beginning, very clearly, that I have made no deals with anyone for anything in this campaign,” Backus said Tuesday when asked about the alleged deal with the trades council.

The Central and and Northern New York Building Trades Council endorsed Backus, bypassing 40-year union member Phillip Vasho, who is opposing Backus in the clerk’s race.

It is unusual for a labor organization to bypass a union member in support of a non-union member. It has been alleged that Backus promised the trades council the apprentice language in exchange for the endorsement, which traditionally comes with a campaign check.

Vasho acknowledged that he was told about the alleged deal, but refused to comment further.“I would rather not speak about it until after the election,” Vasho said Wednesday.

The apprenticeship language has been considered by the county legislature in the past, however, was found to be too restrictive for all prospective contractors.

The language would require all bidders to have a New York State recognized apprenticeship program to be allowed to bid on a contract for the county.

Legislators would not agree to the addition of the language fearing it would eliminate many companies from competitive bidding. Small construction companies without apprenticeship programs would be excluded from bidding on county construction contracts unless they subcontracted to a company participating in a state certified program.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley said Tuesday he recalled the past attempts to add the language. Beardsley, who is expected to be re-elected as the chairman next year, said he had no part in any agreements that were made and questioned how Backus could make a promise to deliver any county legislation when he is not a legislator, if indeed a promise was made.

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

Reapportionment may be costly for taxpayers

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee was warned that the current reapportionment map could cost taxpayers an additional $20,000 to $30,000.

County Board of Elections Commissioner Donald Wart said during Wednesday’s meeting that the reapportionment, as it now stands, will require the addition of election districts.

“Based on the fact that our budget has been submitted and what I saw on the map, I would just like to call to the committee’s attention, based on the new lines that we probably will be looking at more election districts,” he said, adding that the budget will be left $20,000 to $30,000 short.

Wart said it was his understanding that the maps are still being looked at and that the elections budget will be short of funds.

Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley said he didn’t understand. If there are the same number of legislators and the same districts in each town, why the need for more districts, he asked.

Wart said it’s because there are two legislators on the same ballot in a town. If you carve out a corner, that creates additional election districts, he noted.

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