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Call for ethics probe in Geddes

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Call for ethics probe in Geddes
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A Geddes Town Councilor says he wants a full scale ethics investigation of some of the business dealings by town officials. YNN's Bill Carey says councilor Robert Krupa believes there are a lot of unanswered questions.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- The letter is on its way to the Geddes Town Clerk. A freshman town councilor asking for the ethics committee to convene to review problems he says exist in adherence to the town procurement policy by the town's Highway Department. Robert Krupa says he hadn't been on the town board long before red flags began to fly.

“Well, the amount of money being spent for particular services, such as tree services, that really caught the eye,” Krupa said.

Krupa says the town business went to TreeLanders, a landscaping service. He says there is no evidence that the usual procedure for bidding on the business was followed. He questions whether preferential treatment was given to the company because of personal relationships.

“How many bids have come in for this work?” Krupa asked.

“You needed three. How many were actually taken?” our reporter asked.

Krupa replied, “One.”

Krupa's letter raises questions about TreeLanders connections to town government. In particular, he questions whether the town's former Highway Superintendent worked for Tree Landers and also points to a potential conflict involving Town Supervisor Manny Falcone, whose brother works for the company.

The Town Supervisor declined an on-camera interview until he has further time to study the letter, but says it smacks of politics. That none of the charges contained in the document have been substantiated.

Falcone says there is no evidence of anything improper being done. He says contracts were decided by the highway department and, in cases where he would need to vote on authorizing payment to TreeLanders, he would recuse himself because of his brother's employment at the firm.

Krupa says steps have been taken to eliminate similar issues in the future.

“We've implemented a new policy where it would be a sealed envelope bid from now on,” Krupa said. “That way, it's fairness for all as far as the new businesses that come in and actually do work for our town.”

But the councilor says the town deserves answers about what's happened in the past.

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