Tag Archives: Phillip E. Vasho

Candidates look at IQS contract

by Carol Thompson

The fate of a recently awarded contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool that some legislators claim will cost taxpayers $300,000 more than necessary will be determined by the next county clerk.

Republican candidate Michael C. Backus and Democrat candidate Phillip E. Vasho each have a different approach to the controversial contract.

The contract award to IQS was not unanimous with all Democrat and some Republican legislators voting against it. The contract award was shrouded in controversy and it took legislators more than 18 months to award a proposal.

Backus said he will give the company until next year to determine how to proceed.

“At the end of the year, October of next year, if that contract is not serving in the best interest of the taxpayers and at the end of the day if it’s not working out in the best possible regard for the clerk’s office, we will seek another way to do it,” he said.

Backus did not want to comment on the Essex County Ethics Board investigation that resulted in the County Clerk admitting to allowing company officials to evaluate the other bidders and sharing that information with the Board of Supervisors to sway their decision.

“I have not reviewed that and I would want to review everything that came through that report and I would want to do that both so I am up to speed on what their county did.. just so I understand what they did,” Backus said.

Vasho said if elected, IQS will be gone. “I believe there’s something not quite right (with the contract),” Vasho said.

He added that the indexing must be returned to the clerk’s office and not done by IQS, who charges a fee for each indexing.

“The mapping, the shipping fees are too much,” Vasho said. “We need to be more efficient and give the taxpayers the best bang for the buck.”

As for the added positions in the office, Backus and Vasho had differing opinions.

In the mid-2000s, the deputy clerk was given a large raise and at the time the salary increase was justified by stating that the deputy would do all of the accounting.

Shortly after the raise was approved, the position of senior account clerk was added. A senior index clerk was eliminated and the position of deputy clerk of operations was added. The deputy clerk of operations was said to be a senior index clerk with only the title changed. Shortly after the deputy position was approved, the senior index clerk position was added as of the first of the year.

The senior index clerk position was said to be needed so the indexing could be returned from the office rather than paying IQS employees to do the work.

The indexing has yet to be returned to the county employees.

“That’s what started all the dissension in that office,” Vasho said. “It was the juggling of those positions.”

Vasho said he would streamline the office to make it more efficient and determine what positions are duplicated and not needed.

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
Oswego County clerk candidates Michael C. Backus  (left) and Phillip E. Vasho visited The Valley News last week to discuss their platforms and goals for the office. Backus is a Republican while Vasho is a Democrat. The election will be held next Tuesday, Nov. 6.

County clerk candidates offer differing perspectives

Oswego County clerk candidates Michael C. Backus (left) and Phillip E. Vasho visited The Valley News last week to discuss their platforms and goals for the office. Backus is a Republican while Vasho is a Democrat. The election will be held next Tuesday, Nov. 6.

by Carol Thompson

The next Oswego County Clerk faces many challenges as the office has been shrouded in controversy.

Two candidates are vying for the position.

Republican candidate Michael C. Backus said he will do a “personal evaluation” to determine what needs to be done. Democrat Phillip E. Vasho said he will take immediate steps to correct the problems that he said have gone on far too long.

The candidates sat together Friday and answered questions as to their plans for the office.

Vasho said he chose to run because he saw the need for change. “I looked at the situation and saw that we could definitely use some change in the county clerk’s office,” he said.

Backus said he chose to run because it’s an office he feels he can be very beneficial.

“I’m 28 years old, I’m a young person growing up here…as a young person I hope to be a part of the next generation of leaders that are growing up here in the county,” he said.

Both candidates hold political leadership positions. Vasho serves as the chairman of the City of Fulton Democrat Committee. He said if elected county clerk, he will step down from his committee seat immediately.

Backus serves as the chairman of the Oswego County Republican Committee. He said he will separate the two positions and make a clear distinction between his two roles.

A special election is being held for the position of county clerk due to the death of longtime clerk George Williams.

If elected, Backus said he has many connections in state government to assist with the transition as well as an association with other clerks throughout the state.

Backus currently works in the office of Assemblyman Brian Kolb. Backus’ campaign efforts have the support of State Senator Patty Ritchie, Assemblyman Will Barclay, former state Senator and U.S. Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay, Assemblyman Bob Oakes and former U.S. Senator and current lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato.

Vasho said he is running a grass-roots campaign with little financial assistance and added that his experience as a legislator is what he can bring to the office. He said he served five years on the legislature committee that oversees the clerk’s office and learned much about the operations of the office through that experience.

Backus said he will take the time to personally evaluate each aspect of the clerk’s office.  Vasho said he will take immediate action on some issues, including an independent audit of the entire department.

“The clerk would never allow the county treasurer to see his books,” Vasho said. “I think that’s wrong and the books will be opened to the county treasurer.”

Vasho said he will open the doors to any investigators. It has been reported that the clerk’s office was served with a subpoena by the U.S. Attorney’s office seeking 10 years of books and records.

Backus said he has no proof that investigators have been looking into the clerk’s office.

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