Vote Yes to Scriba Referendum

To The Editor:
There are people in our town who’d like you to believe with their signs and rhetoric that voting to make the Highway Superintendent position an appointed position will take away your right to vote on town issues.

I’d like to counter that with some points regarding that claim.

This is not an issue of “taking away our right to vote.”

This is an issue of repairing an immoral and unethical situation.

It is the only legal way we can correct the moral and ethical wrong that prevented the right of Scriba citizens to know all the pertinent facts about a candidate before voting for them.

Many people have stated privately and publicly that if they’d known Mr. Barry had an outstanding DWI issue that would prohibit him from engaging in the full capacity of his job, they would not have voted for him.

Voting yes to this referendum speaks directly to us and affects us all as taxpayers and as residents.

Mr. Barry and whoever bailed him and drove him home after his DWI kept it a secret.

Mr. Barry didn’t even advise his employer of his arrest, or it would have come to light long before the election as I am sure he’d have been fired again and sued the town AGAIN to get his job back.

Did it get kept secret because they knew knowledge of a THIRD DWI would impact the number of votes he’d get from people he isn’t friends and family with?

In keeping his secret, Mr. Barry and any supporters who had prior knowledge of his third DWI arrest did not allow the citizens of Scriba the opportunity to engage in an honest and open vote.

Mr. Barry claimed in one of his newspaper interviews that he’s “doing as good a job, or better than past Superintendents.”

With this statement, he is implying that he has the knowledge and experience of past supers.

Not only is that statement offensive and misleading, but it’s disrespectful to his deceased father-in-law as well as some of the other superintendents who had vast amounts of knowledge, education and more years of experience when they took over that position.

Just for the record, he only worked one year with Clyde Upcraft before Clyde passed away.

I KNOW that at least one of his other previous supers would not agree with that statement and if he was alive to do so, he’d probably be the one writing this letter instead of me.

The only argument I’ve heard for keeping the superintendent’s job an elected one, is that it “would be taking away our right to vote.”

Ordinarily, I would agree with this claim, but hopefully people other than myself see that the people encouraging you to vote no are more about keeping Mr. Barry in the position than you “keeping your vote.”

There has been absolutely no comment from Mr. Barry regarding the situation (like remorse or an apology?), nor has anyone stepped forward to counter the information that currently says he does not have the integrity and honesty to continue in his current position.

I ask you when you are trying to decide on whether to vote yes or no on this referendum, consider some of these points (all of which are verifiable through news articles, criminal records and town meeting minutes):

– Mr. Barry currently does not have a license. It is my understanding that he will never get a CDL again. At some point, he may have an opportunity to get a conditional driver’s license, however, those conditions could include having to have an ignition interlock device on ALL vehicles he has access to, which would likely include all town equipment. This includes a fee from DMV for each vehicle, PLUS a cost of approximately 100 dollars for each install, PLUS a yearly recalibration and testing fee of 60-100 for each vehicle, AND a $5 a month insurance fee for each.

– Mr. Barry cost Scriba taxpayers thousands in his fight to be returned to his job after his SECOND DWI. Then, he filed an unwarranted lawsuit against the town after his THIRD DWI. The Supreme Court Judge threw the case out, but the town attorney had to deal with this lawsuit, which cost the taxpayers even more money. When will Mr. Barry just take responsibility for his behavior and accept the consequences?

– Within two weeks of returning to his job in July, Mr. Barry went out and got his third DWI. What a slap in the face to the town after costing us thousands to be reinstated to his job.

– After taking office, Mr. Barry allowed a level 2 sex offender to work on the town crew and drive a town pickup, PRIOR to the man ever being hired by the town. We still had to pay the man for the work he did, and he has also filed a complaint against the town of Scriba. Can you imagine what might have happened if he’d gotten injured on the job somehow?

– Check with the town to see how much overtime we’ve already had to pay another employee because Mr. Barry cannot go out and check the roads himself as all past superintendents have done as a PART OF THEIR JOB.

– A person who is elected to a position will receive their full pay should they go to jail, as well as other benefits. Just think, Mr. Barry could get a 4th DWI, go to jail, and then retire from the town with full benefits. With his record, how likely is he to not get caught again? I’m not willing to chance it. An appointed person has to be reappointed yearly. If Mr. Barry got another DWI this week, he could possibly draw his full pay for the next 4 years or so, then retire with a better pension than most people will ever see.

– Who is going to watch over Mr. Barry to make sure he doesn’t just “have a couple” then get behind the wheel again? In the past, that was the job of the supervisors.

– Mr. Barry sent out a letter looking for votes AFTER receiving that third DWI and in that letter, he included words such as: integrity, values, honesty, knowledge, productivity and efficiency. Do any of the incidents I’ve outlined above sound even close to those types of traits? Mr. Barry stated in that letter that he learned all of these values from his deceased father-in-law. I am not sure that Mr. Barry learned the traits he exhibits from Clyde Upcraft when he only worked for him for about a year before his passing. In fact, I am quite certain that the traits Mr. Barry currently exhibits along with his poor judgement and lack of ethics are quite opposite the Clyde Upcraft I knew.

Let me leave you with this thought, back many years ago, a snowplow driver south of us had been drinking during off-time, got called into work, went in, drove a snowplow and killed someone in oncoming traffic. He had only had a couple of beers beforehand, definitely not a 0.14 BAC as Mr. Barry had with his last DWI, and yet it happened and cost that town and its citizens immensely both emotionally and economically.


Kelly Rhinehart-Harris


  1. Kelly, imagine that if after Watergate congress moved to have the POTUS moved from a elected office to one appointed by Congress ? Their rationale being Richard Nixon was in engaged in illegal activity prior to the 1972 election if it came known would result in his impeachment. People running for office withhold and engage in illegal activity all the time. Because of these unethical few we should scrap the right to vote ? A right not only guaranteed by our Constitution but paid for in blood by people fighting for that right ? I’m sorry that is wrong. If Mr Barry is ineligible to do the job fire him,don’t ask us to give up a right as important as voting.

  2. Jay, they cannot fire him. This is the only legal way to oust him from an office he is unfit for. I get your analogy, but not quite sure it’s a similar thing. If we could “impeach” or fire Mr. Barry I would agree completely with you not to give up this vote to anyone else. I just want people to know exactly what they are voting for in terms of what he will be able to do and not be able to do. I trust the people I voted for in our small town to what they’ve said they’d do. This is the very problem with this entire election…nobody wants to really look at the corruption and say…if they do it now, they will do it again.

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