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Legislature Chairman Clarifies DSS Issue

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Legislature Barry Leemann said that he wanted to clear up a misunderstanding.

At the July Health Committee meeting there was a debate about the Department of Social Services and the county “spending millions of dollars more on legal assistance than we needed to,” he said at the August meeting of the same committee.

Legislator Art Gearsbeck made the accusation in July, according to the chairman.

“I guess this is another case of ‘unfunded allegation’ because we have proof here that this was a bid and we accepted the low bid; and the only individual to vote against accepting the low bid was Legislator Gearsbeck,” Leemann said.

He asked the county administrator to explain the situation.

County Administrator Phil Church provided the committee with a copy of the Request For Proposals (RFP) and the legislature’s vote on the resolution from August 2005. Also included in the paperwork was the selection criteria, how it was reviewed and also the advertising notice.

“The contract began in 2006,” he noted. “The low bid was from the Caraccioli firm, and wasn’t $100,000 more (than the other bid), as Legislator Gearsbeck alleged.”

“These are the facts and this is the record,” Leemann added.

The contract, on schedule, will go out for competitive bid again in 2010, Church said.

“If you’re going to make assertions, you have to have the information to back those assertions up. All too frequently, we have assertions that are unfounded and fall into the area of somebody’s own opinion and not that of actual fact,” said Legislator jack Proud, committee chair. “Let’s hope that this clears up that circumstance.”

Gearsbeck will get a copy of the same paperwork that was presented to the committee, the county officials said.