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Politics and Government

Scriba referendum to replace official charged with DWI delayed

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Payne Horning
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WRVO News File Photo
Volney resident Robin Davis implores the Scriba town board to rescind a motion for a referendum intended to help them replace an elected official charged with a DWI.

Scriba town officials are delaying a February referendum intended to help them fire a recently elected official. The referendum, which would ask residents to switch the highway superintendent job from an elected position to an appointed one, will now be on the November ballot. It's intended for officials to replace Highway Superintendent Michael Barry, who was arrested last July and charged with a DWI. Scriba town attorney Kevin Caraccioli said the logistics of arranging a special election would have been too much for the town to handle in the short time it had.

"As strongly as our opinions about holding a special election, I think there's a stronger notion that everybody who has the opportunity and will to vote is given that opportunity," Caraccioli said. "And the best way to do that is through a general election in November."

Scriba Supervisor Ken Burdick said he intends on adding another referendum to switch the position back to an elected job in 2017, but Volney resident Robin Davis said she is doubtful. She said she doesn't want to surrender her right to elect the highway superintendent, even temporarily.

"Who's to say he's going to do that? Who's say to say he's going to be here? What if he retires," Davis asked. "That's a promise that he cannot 100 percent say 'I'm going to give this back to you.' He can't do that."

Davis presented the board with a petition asking the Scriba town board to rescind the motion for the referendum that she said included 175 signatures. A petition asking for the referendum in December, when the board voted in favor of the move, had 85 signatures, according to Burdick. Davis claimed many of those signatures were forged by spouses and that some were from people who did not live in the town.

Meanwhile, Barry has delayed his court case. His hearing is scheduled for March 8.