GOP chairman in Orleans is hypocritical in preaching smaller government

Posted 25 July 2016 at 2:35 pm


In January I wrote of the 15.5% Murray Town Tax Rate increase we experienced. At the 2016 budget hearing Supervisor John Morriss stated “it’s the best we could do”. Highway Superintendent Ed Morgan added “It’s really not that bad” and Councilman Paul Hendel commented “we are going to either raise taxes or cut services in 2017 because we spent all our savings.”

The most recent New York State Comptroller’s Audit Report is clear. “The Supervisor did not adequately oversee and monitor the book keeper’s work, which resulted in significant problems with accounting for and reporting of capital project activity, as well as the use of certain debt proceeds.” A representative of the Attorney General’s Office described our situation as the result of “fiscal mismanagement and or irresponsibility.”

Town Governments are beginning to think about budgeting and I’d like to suggest a simple way to save the taxpayers a few bucks. STOP FRIVOLOUS SPENDING. For example:

Our Highway & Water Superintendent earns a salary of $89,307.00 including a stipend of $1,200.00 a year for his private cell phone and collects his pension of $37,370.00. He has been absent at four Town Board Meetings this year perhaps as he is a member of multiple boards including Soil and Water and Regional OTB Board of Directors. OTB Board of Directors receive a nice five figure salary to boot.

Our Superintendent receives a payment in Lieu of health insurance stipend of $5,000.00 per year for not taking the Town of Murray’s health insurance. The Town of Murray enacted a local law providing the payment. In documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Orleans County pays a maximum of $2,500/year for their stipend. Here in the Town of Murray we pay double that to our Highway Superintendent. It’s worth noting he is the only highway person to receive such a generous benefit by our Town while his highway workers are now required to contribute to their insurance policies, essentially taking a pay cut.

The $5,000/year payment wouldn’t be under such scrutiny if his spouse wasn’t an appointed official at the County eligible to cover his health insurance needs. Well there’s your taxpayer funded double dip. Our Town tax dollars pay him not to take health care while our County tax dollars can cover him. But let’s not stop there.

There’s a triple dip on the menu. Both are covered by the third taxpayer owned entity Off Track Betting. Our Superintendent is entitled to lifetime health care on the taxpayer as a member of the OTB Board of Directors. It appears that our elected highway superintendent has multiple opportunities to obtain taxpayer funded health care. Why then does the Town of Murray pay him $5,000 not to take our health plan? Simple: fiscal mismanagement and or incompetence.

To think the Murray Town Board rewards so generously its Highway Superintendent who’s water department has budgeted for a $66,000 loss this year is unfathomable. Furthermore, the Town has been overtaxing water district residents for years as acknowledged by Supervisor John Morriss in April. The Town owes its water district residents a refund for over taxation since the Town didn’t use the money for its intended purpose.

Our Highway Superintendent is also Chairman of the Orleans County Republican Party. It seems hypocritical to represent Orleans County Republicans at the Republican National Convention in Ohio carrying the flag for less government, low taxes and free enterprise while using our cell phone and knowing back home the taxpayers of Murray and Orleans County are paying handsomely for the triple dip on health care.

To add insult to injury our Highway Superintendent refuses to have Town of Murray decals on his new 2016 pickup truck. Since he is authorized to use it for personal use at our expense you would think he’d at least acknowledge the Town of Murray taxpayers who bought it for him while cruising around in his political circles.

Status Quo….Where your Taxes Go!!

Joe Sidonio
Town of Murray