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Murray GOP chairman and code officer says Sidonio has stirred baseless controversies, disrupting local government

Posted 11 September 2017 at 10:54 pm

Editor:

Apparently while the challenger for Murray Town Supervisor noticed unfair enforcement during his 12 years on the Planning Board, he never mentioned it to anyone or did anything about it. In fact, during his years on the Planning Board he complained about property maintenance violations on many properties. He called me numerous times to report what he perceived to be violations on other properties, but he objected whenever the violations were to his family.

His issues with me start with the parking along Ridge Road in a 55 mph zone where the required parking was not being provided. Safety is a responsibility of the Town no matter what your name is. He brags about mowing the roadside, but doesn’t mow the abandoned houses on the road his family owns, because they were “too wet”, the only properties on the road “too wet” to mow.

I am a Code Enforcement Officer, simply I enforce Codes. That doesn’t make me popular. As code enforcement officer I am not the final decision maker in any enforcement action. I first send violation notices, then if there is no compliance I write an appearance ticket. The judge decides guilt or innocence. The District Attorney reviews my prosecutions. I have never had a case overturned or had any court rebukes for misconduct.

I make a convenient target because I have to enforce codes, that doesn’t make everyone happy. Codes are enacted by the state of New York and the Town of Murray. The job includes plan review and building inspection as well as Fire Marshall. I am trained in building codes which are there to protect the homeowner. The property maintenance codes are there to protect the resident’s quality of life.

I am a Civil Service Employee, I can’t be removed without cause and a hearing. The Town Board has reviewed complaints about enforcement, the process is not done in public. When I was hired, there was a concern that there had been little enforcement and there were numerous complaints about property conditions. I was asked by the board to take a measured approach, but to follow the law.

Every violation notice that is sent has a picture of the violation in the file. Every violation comes with the text of the code section being violated, a time to correct and the consequences of continued violation. The last line of every violation notice says that if you believe you have received the violation in error or need more time to call.

I am also the Chairman of the Republican Party for the Town of Murray. I was elected by my fellow committee members. Joe was a member at the time but never nominated anyone else. I have never used my job as code officer to influence an election.

The Republican Committee takes its responsibility to endorse seriously and we investigate our candidates. Their past, their knowledge of the issues in the Town, their record of public and community service. On all these issues we are satisfied that our endorsed candidates meet the high standards for our endorsement.

I have a felony conviction. It was 30 years ago, but the answer when asked is yes, I have one and it has always been yes.

He says I am misrepresenting an episode in his past. When he asked the Republican Committee for an endorsement for the seat now held by Bob Miller, I asked Joe if he had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. After some delay he said no. Explaining the delay he said he was thinking back to bar fights. The episode he was involved in was no bar fight. He was in fact convicted of or plead guilty to both misdemeanors and a felony. The Committee, in endorsing candidates, checks their backgrounds prior to endorsement. The voters can decide for themselves whether this episode is a factor in his qualifications for office. The Committee felt that his honesty and integrity was an issue.

He has lied repeatedly to the committee and to the public. He said he wasn’t convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, a lie. He said he wasn’t carrying a petition to force a primary, a lie. He said there was no allegation of violence in his past, a lie. He said he doesn’t steal political signs, a lie. There has been a steady stream of violations since he announced his candidacy, a lie there was one violation to his mother in law regarding the early placement of political signs, and a ticket for not mowing, the violation was sent before his announcement.

On his signs he says working together. With who? He has demeaned every board member, employee or elected official in the Town.

I’ve worked for municipalities for 21 years now. I’ve seen what happens when a disruptive person gets elected, everything stops and nothing gets accomplished. There were no controversies in Murray before Joe. It’s him, the controversies, the financial problems are his creations, and yet another series of lies. Take a look at his supporters and ask why they support him. Is he trying to fight the status quo or reestablish it so those who are his friends and family are exempt from the rules?

I know Mr. Lofthouse will want the last word but just a quick observation. He calls out a Gaines Council Candidate for not attending many Board meetings, but supports a Murray Candidate who is only listed on one sign in sheet. Apparently his standards are different from ours. He refers to our Town Republican Committee as a “goon squad” and accuses us of defacing signs. I personally don’t know of one committee member who would even consider doing that.

I take responsibility as chairman for any actions undertaken by the committee. While the committee was not responsible for the mailers, I fully support the disclosure of the lies that Joe has told. He was convicted of violating orders of protection, and after years of terrorizing a woman he was convicted of stalking.  His plea agreement allowed for the felony to be removed after he completed his jail time.

While I personally find his actions offensive, the issue has always been his integrity.  After stealing the sign it is reported that he says he was only trying to return it and he going to sue.  Stand up and be a man. You did wrong in the past, you stole a sign this week. Own up to it.

Ron Vendetti

Holley