Tag Archives: Mike Kunzwiler

Broadwell reportedly tapped to fill legislature vacancy

by Carol Thompson

Oswego businessman Shane Broadwell has been tapped to fill the vacancy in the District 17 seat of the Oswego County Legislature that occurred upon the death of Legislator Mary Flett, according to sources close to the Republican Party.

Broadwell’s name has circulated for several days, however, Oswego County Republican Chairman Michael Backus would only state, “We are working with the local committees to put forward a candidate who is invested in the city and county of Oswego. I look forward to welcoming this person to our legislative caucus and the entire legislature as soon as possible.”

The Democrat caucus intents to submit a name as well. “Why wouldn’t we?” Oswego County Democrat Chairman Mike Kunzwiler asked. “They (Republicans) changed the rules.”

Kunzwiler was referring to the appointment of Flett, a Republican, who replaced her brother in the legislature several years ago. Flett’s brother, Len Ponzi, was a longtime Democrat legislator.

Controversy erupted over Flett’s appointment as legislators broke away from the tradition of appointing a person of the same party when a seat becomes vacated.

The Republicans claimed it was Ponzi’s dying wish to have his sister appointed. The appointment resulted in a shouting match between Legislator Doug Malone and Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd.

Kunzwiler said while he does not expect the Republican majority will vote for a Democrat to fill the vacancy, he did state the Republican leadership should take into account any potential conflicts prior to nominating Broadwell.

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

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Legislators to hash out FOIL policy

by Carol Thompson

For several months, the Oswego County Legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee has been discussing how legislators will access public records.

When the committee meets Monday, legislators will review a draft policy that spells out how legislators can access records.

Currently, legislators must make a request under the Freedom of Information Law. They are not required to pay for records, however, some legislators have reported considerable wait times for information that they needed for consideration of the business before them.

The draft policy will allow the legislature clerk to charge the requestor a fee equal to that which would be charged under the Freedom of Information Act for any request exceeding $5 in total cost, unless such charge is waived in writing by the legislature chair or the jurisdictional committee chair.

The draft also states that if specific records are otherwise protected or confidential by law, rule or regulation, the agency shall advise the clerk and the requestor and the legislature chairman shall make the determination.

During last month’s meeting, Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler objected to the legislature chairman making the determination as to the confidentiality of records. He said he will continue to raise objections.

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

Info Quick Solutions receives county clerk contract

by Carol Thompson

Following a lengthy and sometimes heated debate, Info Quick Solutions, Inc. was awarded a contract to provide data imaging services to the office of the county clerk.

Despite being the highest priced and receiving the lowest overall rating from a proposal review panel, a majority of Republican legislators supported the company.

For 45 minutes, legislators debated Thursday in the chambers of the Pulaski Court House.

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.

It was an issue that was referenced several times by legislators who spoke in opposition.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey was the first to speak when the resolution was presented.

He questioned the request for proposal process, followed by the reading of a cost comparison between IQS and the four other bidding companies. He noted that the cost of one map from IQS will cost taxpayers $7 while the top rated vendor would charge 60 cents.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said the vote came down to the dollars, cents and the facts.

“This process was put in place to protect our taxpayers from exactly what’s happening today,” he said. “Today you put up a company that cost up to $300,000 or more (over the other bidders),” Kunzwiler said. “These are facts that taxpayers should know.”

Kunzwiler said that the IQS was receiving the contract “for pure political reasons.”

He added, “This is not for the taxpayers. There’s no other way you can spin it.”

He urged legislators to do the right thing for the taxpayers.

Republican Majority Leader Jack Proud explained the protocol of the legislature and the role of the seven oversight committees. He noted that the legislature has been 18 months without being able to award a contract.

“What we’re here to decide is which company provides the best processing and the best service,” he said, adding that IQS was more cost effective. “In other words, we want more bang for our buck.”

Legislator Dan Chalifoux said that the contract award has been discussed many times and that the time had come to make a decision. He called the question to end debate and force a vote.

With legislators Kevin Gardner and Morris Sorbello absent, there were not enough Republicans present to secure the two-thirds majority needed and the call to question failed.

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

Minority leader: ‘Taxpayers lose’ with clerk contract

by Carol Thompson

When the Oswego County Legislature meets Aug. 9, the Republican majority is expected to pass a contract for data imaging services that will be more costly to taxpayers.

“It’s a joke,” Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said.

He and the other four members of the Democrat caucus will not support the recommended vendor, Kunzwiler noted.

In what some legislators said is expected to be a controversial meeting, it is expected the contract will be approved despite opposition.

Last week, Republican members of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee voted to recommend Info Quick Solutions, Inc. (IQS) of Liverpool receive the contract, based on a recommendation from County Clerk George Williams.

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.

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

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County legislators review new code of ethics

by Carol Thompson

Members of the Oswego County Legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee got a first look at a new draft code of ethics for county employees and elected officials.

During Monday’s meeting, the draft policy was handed out and legislators were asked to review it for later discussion.

The state recently made major changes to the law and local municipalities may add to, but cannot subtract from, the state laws.

The draft policy addresses disclosure of interests in legislation and other matters, the prohibition on use of a municipal position for personal or private gain, recusal and abstention, private employment in conflict with official duties, future employment, use of municipal resources, interests in contracts, nepotism, political solicitations and activity, confidential information and gifts.

The draft policy keeps the number of ethics board members at three, something some legislators oppose. Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler, as well as other committee members, have suggested that the number of board members be increased to five or seven. Many counties in the state have more than three board members.

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

Legislators oppose International Joint Commission’s BV7 plan

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature passed a memorializing resolution to oppose the International Joint Commission’s BV7 plan to control water levels on Lake Ontario, however, the vote was not unanimous.

During Thursday’ meeting, the resolution was debated at length before legislators approved it with a party line vote.

The Democrat caucus opposed the resolution, claiming that a lack of information prevented the legislature from making an informed decision.

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Legislator seeks answers to disclosure statements

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislator Mike Kunzwiler wants an answer as to why members of the Democrat caucus did not receive the financial disclosure form  required to be filled out by elected officials and appointed personnel.

Kunzwiler and the other Democrats said they received a letter from the county ethics board stating that the legislators disclosure forms had not been received and are due.

When Legislator Doug Malone attempted to address the absence of the form during Monday’s meeting of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee, he was not allowed to speak to the issue because it was not on the agenda (see related story).

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Oswego County legislators want ‘farming’ employee to reimburse taxpayers

by Carol Thompson

As Oswego County legislators wait for a new computer use policy to be drafted, some lawmakers are calling for an employee who allegedly played a computer game while on county time to reimburse the taxpayers.

“No county employee should be spending that much time playing games on the computer and should be held accountable for it,” Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said, adding that the taxpayers are entitled to reimbursement of the salary collected while playing the game on county time.

As reported in the Feb. 22 issue of The Valley News, the personal Facebook page of a highly paid employee working in administration, indicated the application game Farmville was played on county time.

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