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Scriba rejects referendum to fire town official

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
A Scriba resident speaks out against a referendum to replace a town official who was convicted of drunk driving.

Scriba's residents have resoundingly defeated a referendum that would have allowed the town's officials to replace the highway superintendent. The proposed law would have changed the job from an elected position to an appointed one.

The campaign was an effort by some town officials to fire highway superintendent Michael Barry, who was elected in 2015 after being arrested for drunk driving. Scriba Supervisor Ken Burdick had argued that the town's voters were duped because they did not find out about the arrest until after Barry won, so they organized the referendum to give town officials the authority to replace him. 

But voters rejected the plan 1,688 to 889 Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Oswego County Board of Elections.

“The people of Scriba have spoken,” Burdick said in a statement. “This was always about giving everyone a fair opportunity to have a say in who will run the highway department. I am satisfied we did just that and I have no regrets in taking this action. I wish Mr. Barry nothing but the best."

Scriba attorney Kevin Caraccioli said in an email that Barry will continue in his post and the town board will not pursue any further action on the matter.

Barry could not be reached for comment. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.