The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

March 7, 2014

In Your Opinion: Dog warden article had several errors

The Daily Star

---- — By failing to interview the subject of its story, The Daily Star published several errors in its recent article, “Butternuts hires new dog warden after conflict claim.”

In the article, Supervisor Eckelmann states that town board member Scot Lueck withdrew his interest in the dog warden job at the special meeting. In fact, Lueck had withdrawn his name at a meeting two weeks earlier.

The article states board members Lueck, Covington and myself had previously voted to appoint Lueck dog warden, without noting that the motion was for Mr. Lueck to serve voluntarily and without pay for one month so that the issue could be resolved.

Mr. Eckelmann is quoted as saying that the conflict ended after Attorney Merzig provided guidance at the meeting. In fact, Attorney Merzig did not provide any guidance on the motion in question. Scot Lueck had already informed the board that the motion to appoint him was not valid, and he seconded the motion to hire Liz Fish.

Supervisor Eckelmann expresses concern that Mr. Lueck’s desire to serve as both dog warden and town board member poses a conflict of interest.

The town board examined this question carefully and sought advice from the state Department of State, the Association of Towns, and its own ethics board. The law clearly says that a town board can use its home rule authority to allow this if it’s in the best interest of the town.

Mr. Lueck won the election with strong support from both Republicans and Democrats in our town. Like many, I appreciate Mr. Lueck’s integrity and generosity. He came to both positions in good faith with a desire to help the community. I regret that the article did not do justice to this story.

Michele Farwell


Farwell is a member of the Butternuts Town Board.