Tag Archives: Legislator Shawn Doyle

Legislator calls for investigation into backdating of county records

by Carol Thompson

The meeting of the Oswego County Legislature turned into an inquisition when some legislators questioned the backdating of legal documents in the office of the County Clerk by Deputy Clerk of Operations Matthew Bacon.

Legislator Shawn Doyle said there had been a discussion at a recent meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee in regard to Bacon instructing employees to backdate legal documents.

Doyle said he was told the timestamp had been tampered to reflect an earlier date to appear on the documents. He asked County Attorney Richard Mitchell if he had given permission to Bacon to backdate the records and what the status is.

“I’d like to know what Mr. Mitchell has found about this,” Doyle said.

Mitchell said he was not aware of any tampering of the timestamp.

He said the mail had become backlogged and it was being stamped for the date it was received.

If the envelopes were not marked received, they were clocked to the closest date of when they may have been received, Mitchell added.

Doyle said he was concerned about the backdating as it pertains to abstractors who may be conducting search.

Mitchell cut him off by stating, “I share that concern.”

He added that if Doyle had questions he could certainly contact him at his office. “I don’t know of tampering,” he noted.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he wanted an extensive investigation to be sure the county would have no liability.

“Do we know for sure that we haven’t put ourselves in liability?” he asked, calling for Mitchell to investigate.

Mitchell said it is not his job to investigate. He added that he would prefer to discuss the question of liability elsewhere.

Kunzwiler said he wanted to be sure the county, the legislature and the public are protected by going back and insuring what was done would pass muster with the law.

 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

AG’s office: Doyle has no conflict of interest

by Carol Thompson

Legislator Shawn Doyle has no conflict-of-interest in his role as an Oswego County Legislator and the Town of Richland historian.

The New York State Office of the Attorney General issued an informal opinion in response to a request made by County Attorney Richard Mitchell.

In a letter dated Aug. 8, Kathryn Sheingold, assistant solicitor general in charge of operations, wrote that the position of town historian is not subordinate to the county historian or, by extension, the county legislature.

“We thus are of the opinion that the positions of town historian and member of the county legislature are compatible,” Sheingold wrote.

Mitchell requested the informal opinion following an ethics board complaint filed last year by then-legislature chairman Barry Leemann.

The complaint alleged Doyle was improperly using a small office the town provides to the historian.

The town rents space from the county.

The ethics board cleared Doyle of the charges, however, questioned whether he had a conflict-of-interest with county historian Justin White.

In a four-page opinion, Sheingold wrote that the positions are not incompatible because the county historian provides guidance and assistance to the towns but does not exercise the kind of authority or control that would implicate the principle of incompatible offices.

The opinion further states that a county historian may be, but need not be, appointed by the county legislature.

As with a town historian, the county historian is not compensated unless the governing board provides otherwise.

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

Legislators express urgency with state’s Article X proposal

by Carol Thompson

A special meeting of the Oswego County Legislature’s Strategic Planning Committee will be held later this month for the purpose of finalizing a resolution in opposition of Article X.

During Thursday’s committe meeting, the committee agreed to draft both a letter and a resolution to send to state officials and the Public Service Commission urging reconsideration of the law that threaten home rule.

Home rule allows a local municipality to legislate itself. Article X provides for a committee to determine where wind turbines will be cited in a community.

Oswego County is in a unique situation because of the nuclear power plants located in Scriba.  Article X could take away the county’s ability to negotiate tax agreements with the utilities.

The public comment period has ended, however, Legislator Shawn Doyle worked to negotiate an extension for municipalities to comment. The comment period expires June 15, giving the legislature only one day to submit a passed resolution. The meeting of the full floor is scheduled for June 14.

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

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County legislator asks that second ethics leak be probed

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County district attorney has been asked to investigate how an ethics complaint filed against a legislator was leaked to the press. Now,  the district attorney will be asked to investigate a second leak in the same matter.

Legislator Shawn Doyle said he was taken by surprise when a news reporter telephoned him to request an interview in regard to the dismissal of the charges.

At the time of the call, few people were in possession of the dismissal and Doyle had yet to review the ethics board decision with his attorney.

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