Most of us have probably opened our door to a stranger - we needed the meter read, the cable fixed or the phone connection checked.

And most of us probably willingly allowed these uniformed workers in without giving it a second thought.

Unfortunately, a few of these employees aren't as trustworthy as we may think.

Last month, a registered sex offender entered a 23-year-old woman's house while working as a subcontractor for Time Warner Cable and allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Joseph J. Devine, 36, of Endicott, is an employee of Sure Connect in Kirkwood, not an employee of Time Warner, said David Whalen, vice president of public and government affairs at Time Warner Cable of Central New York.

Whalen said Time Warner performs background checks on all employees and requires the companies it contracts with to do the same.

However, Devine was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 2001 in Broome County, according to the state Department of Correctional Services records. Shouldn't this red flag have come up in a background check and be reason enough not to allow him to obtain a job where he's often alone with people in their homes?

Whalen said it would be "improper" for him to comment on whether Time Warner or Sure Connect knew of Devine's conviction because he isn't an employee of Time Warner. But in our minds, he's close enough. He was representing Time Warner, and the company should take responsibility and admit somewhere along the line, their system of background checks failed.

We think it's time for Time Warner to review its policies and relationships with subcontractors. Area residents trust Time Warner's employees and allow them into their homes every day.

These workers are strangers to us, but they shouldn't be to Time Warner.

{"Headline24"/}New ideas

for downtown

are a must

{"Body Text Edit"/}It's difficult to imagine what Oneonta's Main Street will look like a year from now, five years from now, a decade from now. Will it be a ghost town? A thriving shopping district? Or something in between?

With the Bresee's block project poised to begin and the downtown developer position in question, this is, as First Ward Alderman Maureen Hennessy said, "a critical period for the city." To face these questions about the future, Mayor John Nader is soliciting input from aldermen and downtown business owners.

We're excited to see the city considering new ideas for the downtown developer position, including making the downtown developer a city employee, contracting the position to an outside firm, and creating a city commission to oversee development.

Whatever is decided, what's important is that the city is looking toward the future and keeping an open mind.

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