Tag Archives: Phil Church

Legislators to discuss computer pornography behind closed doors

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said Wednesday that the matter of pornography found in a county highway department employee’s computer will be discussed during a closed-door executive session some time in the near future.

There has been no updates on the issue since the April 11 meeting when County Administrator Phil Church stated that one employee had been disciplined and two other computers were being checked.

he allegation that a highway employee spent time at work viewing pornographic pictures and videos was brought to the attention of Legislator Doug Malone by several highway employees, who claimed their complaints to management went unaddressed.

Malone went to District Attorney Gregory Oakes and requested the allegations be looked into. That resulted in a finding of pornography in the employee’s computer.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News


Committee approves transfer

by Carol Thompson

With no guarantee that it would last through the end of the year, the Oswego County Legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee approved a budget transfer of $900,000 to cover the cost of housing inmates at facilities in other counties.

Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd has been grappling with jail overcrowding for more than a year and has gone to the committee several times in the past to request more funds

The legislature originally budgeted $100,00 to cover costs incurred this year, however, those funds were exhausted in the first few months. Todd made a request in February for $600,000 to cover the remainder of the year.

The legislature suggested Todd request the money in increments so that the more frequent requests would generate more publicity, hence, resulting in more public awareness of the problems Todd is facing at the correctional facility.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Todd requested $400,000.

County Administrator Phil Church said that the jail population does not appear to be decreasing and he suggested the legislators increase the amount to $900,000 so that Todd doesn’t have to make the requests in piece meal.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked if any unused portion would be returned to the appropriated fund balance account. Church said that it would.

The committee passed the budget transfer unanimously.

Inmates are housed in other county facilities when the jail meets the maximum capacity.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Valley News at our office or at one of several locations throughout the City. For Subscriptions call 598-6397.

Valley Viewpoints: Clean house

by Steven D. Burdick of Fulton

Even after the little girl in Scriba went to Heaven after contracting EEE last year, Phil Church and his legislature gang still told us “sheeple” here there would be no mosquito spraying.

Anytime a mosquito lands on a person in Oswego County, that person feels like they’re playing Russian Roulette if they get bit.

Patty Ritchie has been campaigning this year on “Fight the Bite,” and even though mosquitoes are rampant with EEE in our area, not enough has been done.

Everything our Oswego County government needs: parts, equipment, office supplies, should be put out to bid. This would save millions of dollars.

Keeping the “pencil sharp” by getting the best deals. And then they should not state there is not enough money for mosquito spraying. Jobs should be given to the fairest bidder, not just a person or corporation who “scratches” our Oswego County politicians backs. (And I’m not talking about mosquito bites.)

Bid requests should be advertised in the local newspapers and kept track of who the county is doing business with, how much the county paid and give other local businesses a good shot to supply fair bids and have fair opportunities to keep the money and jobs in this area. This plan would save local taxpayers money. This is the free enterprise system!

Local businesses, like mine, should be encouraged and patronized by our county. My business has been bypassed often in favor of their cronies. They have a monopoly on their towing services list. It’s like organized crime.

The political forces send their own “officer unfriendly.” The biggest crime in this area may be the police force.

There are some really good officers around, and my hat goes off to them. But some political bosses around send their charges off to do their dirty work for them.

Was it wrong to protest Hitler?

One of my employees was incarcerated for nine years, a young family man who graduated from Central Square High School. The law went after him like a pack of wolves, only to have his conviction proven false by New York State’s highest court.

Governor Cuomo has the right idea by tightening the reigns on our law enforcement groups.

Our area needs jobs to keep our good young people in our area, an also work for our local businesses. Everybody in Oswego County must get behind this idea, not just a select few but our true leaders, businessmen, school teachers, bankers, who are not afraid to stick their necks out in the middle of a battle.

Our youth and businesses need to come first for this area to prosper again. It’s like the old saying. “Where’s the beef?
Where’s the jobs?

Above the door of the Cherry Street School in Phoenix is engraved “Opportunity Awaits Youth” and it can happen again as soon as they “clean house” of our Oswego County so-called leaders.

Oswego county administrator may change the way vacancies are filled

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church said he is looking into a change in the manner in which employment vacancies are filled.

Church told members of the legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee that he is reviewing the vacancy review process.

The change would result in vacancies remaining unfilled for a certain period of time to allow for review.

Currently, the department heads make requests to fill vacancies at the time an employee leaves or prior to notice given, Church said.

Under the new policy, an employee would not be hired immediately in the exiting employee’s place, but rather down the road once it has been determined that the position is needed.

“There are certain positions that would be exempt,” Church said.

Legislator Art Ospelt said he would not refer to it as a hiring freeze, but rather a hiring delay.

“I think there are some things you can’t hold up…but this way here they have a little bit more time to see if they actually need that person.” he said. “I think it’s worth trying.”

Legislator Milferd Potter said he believed it would be a good idea to try it.

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

Legislators irked over ‘gag order’

by Carol Thompson

Some Oswego County Legislators are angered over an e-mail message they received from County Administrator Phil Church in regard to the pending award of a contract for data imaging services for the office of the County Clerk.

During the July 25 meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, legislators voted to award the contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool — despite the company being one of the most costly and having the lowest score given by a panel appointed to review the five bidding vendors.

The committee first received the vendor information blindly with letters replacing company names. Prior to the names being revealed to legislators, County Clerk George Williams said he wanted IQS to receive the contract. He praised the service of IQS and referred to them as “our company.”

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Committee chair discusses vote on clerk contract

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Legislator Terry Wilbur, who serves as the chairman of the Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, said Thursday that he didn’t feel legislators had enough time to review the proposals for a data imaging contract to service the office of the County Clerk.

County Administrator Phil Church handed out the proposals during Wednesday’s meeting. The legislators were first given “blind” copies with the names of the bidding companies substituted with letters.

A discussion ensued in regard to the proposals and prior to voting, Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked for a 15-minute recess so that those who needed to make a decision could review the 23-page document Church had given to them.

Following the recess, Church provided a key to the letter coding, naming each of the vendors.

It was decided by a majority of the committee to take the recommendation of County Clerk George Williams, who recommended Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool.

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Welfare fraud program leads to 25 arrests

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes gave the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee an update on the new welfare prosecution program Monday morning.

County Administrator Phil Church and Barry Leemann, who was the legislature chairman at the time, approached Oakes with concerns in regard to welfare fraud cases.

“Since we’ve began this program we’ve had 25 arrests,” Oakes said.

Between October and December, there have been 11 felony arrests. As of the first of the year, there have been 14 arrests. The total number of arrests in four years is 29.

“So essentially in the last three months, we’ve got what we had four years prior,” Oakes said.

He added that the staff is building great cases. “I thank this body,” Oakes said to the committee for allowing his department the resources to do the work.

The county has recovered $57,861 since the first of the year. The amount of $48,924 has been paid to the county Department of Social Services. Approximately $5,700 is being recouped through diminished benefits and $3,182 is being paid through probation.

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County encourages state to provide more significant mandate relief

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church presented members of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee a draft resolution asking the state to finish the job it began in April and provide more significant and sustainable mandate relief to counties.

During Monday’s meeting, Church said the resolution addresses Medicaid and state retirement.

“Using the letter that they sent to us, the state health department is only taking over the state portion of Medicaid,” Church said.

Mandates consume 82 percent of the county’s annual budget and the Medicaid mandate alone is 58 percent of the entire property tax levy.

The three-year phase out of county-paid Medicaid growth will cost the county taxpayers an additional $500,000 in 2013 and an additional $250,000 in 2014.

“Taxpayers will send one-half million dollars to Albany every week,” Church said.

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