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Trial scheduled in DWI case for newly elected Scriba official

Payne Horning
The Scriba town board, seen here in February, is trying to remove the newly elected highway superintendent, who has been charged with a DWI, through a referedum in November.

Scriba town's highway superintendent appeared in court this week for the first time since he was arrested and charged with a DWI last year. Mike Barry, who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .14 when he was arrested in July 2015, had delayed the court hearing several times -- after his election in November and past a planned February referendum intended to replace him, which has since been delayed.

The hearing took place in the town of Brutus because Barry was arrested in Cayuga County. Cayuga County Assistant District Attorney Brian Leeds said Barry did not plead guilty, so a trial has been scheduled for May 19. Leeds said the sentences with DWI cases can vary -- from as little as a fine to as much as a year in a local jail.

Scriba town Supervisor Ken Burdick and the town's board are working with Oswego County officials to add a referendum question to the November ballot as a means to fire Barry. Voters would be asked to make the highway superintendent job an appointed position.

Several residents have since spoken against the referendum, some charging that it is being done for personal reasons and others say they are unwilling to give up their right to elect a highway superintendent. Burdick has promised to add another referendum to the 2017 ballot that would make the position an elected one again.

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.