SCRIBA, NY – The town board for the town of Scriba established a public hearing for comments on a proposed local law that will abolish the position of elected town highway superintendent, and replace it with an appointed position.
The board’s action comes after it was revealed that the newly elected highway superintendent, Michael Barry, concealed his DWI arrest from voters this past summer and fall.
Barry was arrested on July 26 for DWI in the town of Brutus, Cayuga County.
He registered a blood alcohol content of .14%, nearly twice the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. The current charge is his second arrest in less than three years. Barry was convicted of DWAI in 2013, and has a DWI conviction from 1990.
If convicted of his current charges, Barry will receive a lifetime revocation of his commercial driver’s license, and will likely be unable to obtain a Class B license for a period in excess of five years under Department of Motor Vehicle regulations.
Under New York State law, a town can abolish the elected position of highway superintendent and establish an appointed position in its place.
The local law is subject to a mandatory referendum which is allowed to occur at a special election, but not less than 60 days after the local law is adopted.
“Our hands are tied,” said Town Supervisor Ken Burdick. “No one wants their right to vote taken away but we cannot tolerate a highway superintendent that cannot operate a motor vehicle due to revocation on account of drunk driving.”
Barry’s license to drive was suspended by the Town of Brutus Justice Court this past Tuesday pending prosecution by the Cayuga County District Attorney’s office.
“The voters of the town of Scriba put him in office, and the voters can decide whether to remove him by abolishing the position,” according to Kevin Caraccioli, Town Attorney. “The town board is being completely transparent in its actions, there is nothing to hide here,’ added Caraccioli.
A public hearing is set for December 2, at 5 p.m. at the Scriba Municipal Building located at 42 Creamery Road.
A date for the special election has not been established yet but is expected to be held in early February.