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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
J. RYAN McMAHON, II
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

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STATE OF NEW YORK : COUNTY LEGISLATURE

COUNTY OF ONONDAGA

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In the Matter of Resolution Regarding New York State SAFE Act

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JOINT MEETING OF PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE AND WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE

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PUBLIC HEARING in the above matter, conducted at the County Legislative Chambers, 401 Montgomery Street, 4th Floor, Syracuse, New York before, JOHN F. DRURY, CSR, RPR, Notary Public in and for the State of New York, on March 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

MEMBERS OF ONONDAGA COUNTY LEGISLATURE PRESENT:

DISTRICT    NAME
  1st              Brian F. May
  2nd             John C. Dougherty
  3rd              Chester A. Dudzinski, Jr.
  4th              Judith A. Tassone
  5th              Kathleen A. Rapp

  6th              Michael E. Plochocki
  8th              Christopher J. Ryan
  9th              Robert J. Andrews
10th              Kevin A. Holmquist, Chair Public Safety
11th              Patrick M. Kilmartin

12th              David H. Knapp, Chair Ways & Means
13th              Derek T. Shepard, Jr.
14th              Casey E. Jordan
15th              J. RYAN McMAHON, Chairman
16th              Monica Williams
17th              Linda R. Ervin


Clerk Debbie Maturo

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Reported By:
John F. Drury, CSR, RPR
Court Reporter 471-7397

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INDEX TO SPEAKERS

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SPEAKERS                                                          PAGES

SANDY SCHEPP Onondaga County Clerk              5

JOHN BALLONI Chief Sheriff's Assoc                     11

SCOTT ARMSTRONG Firearms Instructor             37
DAVID GAY                                                               44
MIKE MASTROGIOVANNI Shooter's Committee     46
STEPHEN WOWELKO Sportsmen's Clubs           50
KAY KEELEY                                                            54

JOHN BUTLER Onondaga Sheriff                           55
RACHEL NEUPERT                                                 57

WALTER DIXON                                                      60
GEORGE BUSCO, JR.                                            64
DAVID SIMMONS Federation of Sportsmen            65

ALLEN OAKES Disabled Vietnam Vet                     66
GEORGE RATERMAN                                            68
SCOTT CHATFIELD CNY Conservatives, Inc        70
LEE SCHAPLEY                                                      74
MICHAEL GOSSON                                                75

GARY SCHOONMAKER                                         78
BILL ADAMS                                                            81
RICK NASH                                                             83
LUKE GERMAIN T/Salina GOP                              87
ADRIENNE LeBLANQ                                             89

FRED NEFF Federation Sportsmen                      92
BILL ANDREWS                                                    101
LON KEELEY                                                        109
DAVID STEVENSON                                             110
JOHN STEELE NYSEPA                                       117

DANIEL IRWIN                                                       118
KEITH DEWITT                                                     120
KEN HOWE                                                           123
GUY CHAPMAN                                                     124

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Chairman McMahon

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Let's call the meeting to order, please. Legislator Knapp, please lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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(Pledge of Allegiance recited).

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Thank you everyone for waiting tonight. We want to get this meeting going and give everybody an opportunity to give their opinion. So I would ask just a couple ground rules from the beginning. This is a joint Ways and Means/Public Safety Committee meeting. There is not an actual resolution that's being considered tonight that has specific language to the SAFE Act. What we're doing tonight is we're going to hear the impact from the local outfits, how this legislation from the State of New York, the impact it has on local governments, from counties, to clerks offices to the sheriff's office.   We will then debate some of the merits of the SAFE Act as passed by the

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Chairman McMahon

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New York State Legislature. We then want to hear from you on how this impacts your lives as citizens. So there will be a public comment period. The public comment period will be two to three minutes per individual. Please respect that. There are a lot of people that want to speak.  Once you do speak we would ask that you potentially circle through and come back in so that other speakers in the back or on the hallways can come in and speak. And just to touch on this before we get started, part of, some of the flaws with this law is the process in which it was enacted.  And part of the reason why we're here tonight is even though whatever resolution this body votes on tomorrow, it's a memorializing resolution, no matter what it says. It doesn't mean anything. The State of New York doesn't have to do anything, but it's important to us as Legislators that you know how it impacts us and us doing


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our jobs. It's important for us to know how you feel. And I think we'll get through that tonight. So saying that I want to go to and call up Sandy Schepp our County Clerk, to give us some points of view from the County Clerks Association, and Sandy if you could just let us know what your association has done and what some of the bullets are and how this law impacts your ability to do your job.

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SANDY SCHEPP: Thank you, Chairman McMahon, Chairman Holmquist and Chairman Knapp and fellow Legislators. As you know the New York State Association of County Clerks has represented all 62 elected or appointed County Clerks Associations -- has represented all 62 elected or appointed clerks within the state for over 75 years. Many county clerks are responsible for filing pistol revolver licenses. The recent New York gun legislation and proposed change in Amendment has


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potential impact to the county clerks role when administrating the filing of the pistol licenses. With this, the County Clerks Association has issued a position statement to the Governor. And just a few of those bullet statements are that the New York State Clerks Association opposes any unfunded mandates be put down on county taxpayers. They oppose any new fees on New York State gun owners to finance these new provisions in the SAFE Act. Any costs associated by the SAFE Act be borne by the state and the state alone. Additionally, in a rush to push this legislation through, was referred to the three men in the room, there was no accounting for the varying of duties in the chain of command and the licensing throughout New York State. It was not taken into effect, and we have a chart here that the New York State Clerks Association did up, is that when it comes to pistol permits throughout New

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Schepp

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York State the licensing officer is not always the county clerk. It can be the local judge or it can be the sheriff's department. So in the language of the law when they refer to the licensing officer or the county clerk, in some areas they refer specifically to the county clerk, it's not the county clerk. So in the rush to put this law through there is language that definitely needs to be cleaned up and addressed. Because of this the County Clerks Association also believes the pistol permit application certification as it stands needs to be withdrawn. All of this, there is definite, definite problems with this law. It appears that and I say appears, because once again in a paragraph it says that the recertification done by the New York State Police. In a quick check of the Onondaga County Clerks Association with 39 of 62


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reporting, there are roughly 508,000 pistol permits, and that's just the ones that reported. Several clerks are investing time, money. And the time that they spend they have to hire people, they have to get new software programs, and yet the duties of who is going to be responsible ultimately are not yet clear. The state troopers are saying that it's still not their responsibility to handle this, and yet in the law it's written the state police will take this over in approximately 2018.

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With all these considerations and everything else at stake, we urge the County Legislature to repeal this and seriously take the comments of those here before them and please take to heart comments that will be here before you tonight. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: I do agree we have a wonderful County Clerk, but if we could keep the applause to a minimum and


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at the end of the night we can all give a strong applause for each other. So is there any questions for the clerk from any members of the Committee? Any Legislators have any questions for the clerk? Legislator Knapp?

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QUESTIONS BY LEGISLATOR KNAPP:

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Q. I'm not sure a question for you or Chief Balloni. But currently how many permits are there of various counties and Onondaga County out right now?

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A. There was a survey done several years ago and then we took the totals from those and edited to what has been additional to that and there is roughly what we counted about 45,000 in Onondaga County. Of that is an approximate figure and maybe Chief Balloni has a more close figure. It's hard to tell. Because that figure, in fact when we were down in Albany a few weeks ago harassing the state troopers, which was real fun. Some of the pistol permits out there listed, some of them included I know Eleanor Roosevelt is still listed as a pistol permit holder.


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Q. Currently these are, correct me if I'm wrong, all on 3x5 cards basically in a file, very manual?

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A. Ours are filed with a fold sheet and I know the sheriff has a more computerized program. But every office has, ever county has a different system of doing a filing system. That was another aspect of this, is not taken into consideration of a uniform code of how to do this going forward, no time to allow uniform code to be implemented.

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LEGISLATOR KNAPP: Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other questions for the clerk? Legislator Ryan?

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QUESTIONS BY LEGISLATOR RYAN:

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Q. You said there was possibly an unfunded mandate could come in, is there any way you could possibly put a dollar amount on that, any expectation?

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A. One of the counties, minimally $4,000, that included man hours. I've got a picture here from Rome County, she to date has approximately, she calls 24 inches of Opt Outs. Those have to be inputted into a program and, you know, kept track


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of. So we're talking about man hours of the Opt Out program. We're talking about in addition to that now we have people who suddenly want their pistol permit which is their absolute right to have one. So you're dealing with the additional influx of traffic that's coming in in addition to the Opt Out program. On top of that down the road the recertification program which to date we still have no clarification on who's going to be handling that program.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other questions? Thank you, Sandy. Chief Balloni. Chief could you come up and give the position of the New York State Sheriff's Association, please.

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CHIEF JOHN BALLONI: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Legislature and ladies and gentlemen. My name is John Balloni, I'm a Chief Deputy in the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office and I thank you for allowing my to speak this evening. I would like to encourage the Legislature to consider the position of the State Sheriff's Association when


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formulating your resolution to this state. It was developed by independently elected law enforcement officers, many of them responsible for provisions of the pistol permit law as it currently exists, and we think we have a certain degree of expertise to share.

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I would like to cover some of, I've given all of the Legislators a copy of the New York State Sheriff's Association list of concerns, and I'd appreciate you going through them. I will not read them all here tonight but I would like to briefly highlight some of the concerns we have as long as -- as well as some of the helpful provisions. And I'm going to start with the helpful provisions because quite frankly it's a shorter list. Restricting pistol permit information to be released in FOIL is good. But we would rather that provision allowed people to Opt In rather than Opt Out. We don't feel it's


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in the best interests of the citizens, to disclose to potential criminals all the residences in which a gun may be for their ability to steal it, and all the residences which a gun may not be for their ability to perhaps target those individuals.

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Enhancing the penalty for the killing of first responders is even more appropriate, given the recent killing of two firefighters in Webster, New York. Safe storage requirements of weapons are reasonable. Increased penalties for illegal use of weapons is also a good provision.

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On to our concerns. First, the assault weapon definition. We believe that the assault weapon definition is too broad and we believe only law-abiding gun owners will be affected by these new provisions while criminals will still be able to have and use whatever they want.

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Inspection of schools by state


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agencies. Something better left to the sheriff's and local police authorities that work in the schools every day. (Applause) I feel like I'm really getting an inflated ego, this is just my opinion.

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Reduction of magazine capacity will not reduce gun violence and will unfairly limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms in New York State.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: If we could save the applause for after please, thank you.

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CHIEF JOHN BALLONI: Much as I enjoy it. Five year recertification of pistol permits by the state. Any work should be done locally by the sheriff's office responsible, not the state. Sales of ammunition need clarification. Law enforcement exceptions must be clarified. Currently I could only protect the first seven of you they attack.

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Finally, this method, the method of


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this law's passage without public debate should be a concern to everyone. Especially a law that limits the constitutional right should only be passed, and I quote, "with caution and great respect for those constitutional boundaries." Further it should only be done when the benefit to be gained is so great and certain that it far outweighs the damage done by the constriction of individual liberty. It is far from certain that all or even many of the provisions of the SAFE Act will have any significant effect in reducing gun violence. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Chief we have some questions from members. Legislator Holmquist.

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BY LEGISLATOR HOLMQUIST:

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Q. Thank you, Chief. There is somewhere over 40,000 legally registered pistols in Onondaga County. You've been in law enforcement many many years, to your knowledge how many of those legally held pistols have been used, commissioned in the


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use of a crime, to your knowledge?

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A. I'm sure some have, but I in my career I have never arrested a person with a legal pistol permit for any gun related crime.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Jordan.

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BY LEGISLATOR JORDAN:

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Q. That was basically the question I was going to ask. Can you give us, I guess a time horizon, I mean you indicated to the best of your knowledge you're not aware of any violent crimes that have been committed by individuals with gun permits. Over what period of time are you talking about?

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A. I just am speaking from my individual background, Mr. Jordan. But I'm sure that as I talk to most of my colleagues in law enforcement we remember and we discuss very few gun, again legal gun owners that were arrested for gun related crimes. That's not to say it does not happen, but it's extremely rare. The people that apply for and get gun permits are those individuals that are very concerned with abiding by the law to begin with. So you could expect, I think reasonably, that this


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is a group you least have to control.

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Q. In discussions with other law enforcement personnel has any other officers that you've spoken to indicated that they're aware of anybody who committed a violent crime who possessed a gun permit?

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A. Again, no, I have not had anybody come to me with that information.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Thank you. Any other questions for the Chief?

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BY LEGISLATOR KNAPP:

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Q. Again, roughly 40, 45,000 registered pistol permits, have you gotten any guidance from the state yet as far as with the five year renewals what that process is going to be, what should be taken into consideration, time commitment? Obviously that's another unfunded mandate for the county because we're going to have to mandate the people to do that. What guidance are you getting on that?

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A. The state police, who don't have all the answers on this by a long shot at this particular point, have been handling some public meetings, frequently with this kind of a turnout. And they


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don't have all the answers yet. And the guidance is, to say the least, the law is unclear. That's one of the things we would like is some more clarification in a number of provisions in the law. Again, I didn't get into reading our entire position but I would encourage the Legislature to look at that, it's a reasonable thing, and I think that we've pointed out a number of reasonable parts of this legislation that quite frankly should be carried forward. But we are concerned, we don't have the manpower to do the computer entries on the Opt Out forms. We do not have the personnel to keep up with the increase in the demand for pistol permits or those legal gun owners that are going out and buying additional guns. It is, you know, as I mentioned earlier in discussing this, it's a law with many many unintended consequences. We're having people that come to see us and ask for a pistol permit that quite frankly never thought about getting one, but now they're concerned with exercising their constitutional right; they're not hunters and fisherman and sportsmen, they are just citizens concerned with their Second Amendment


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rights. You know, I would be very concerned and I would think the turnout would be equally horrendous if we were talking about limiting and constricting First Amendment rights to emergency legislation, which is not even debated.

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BY CHAIRMAN McMAHON:

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Q. Chief, in your opinion, I'm a kid from the south side of the city of Syracuse, so one of my frustrations in reviewing this bill, and I'm asking your opinion on this, is the impact it has on urban gun violence and the ability to get illegal guns off the streets and/or funding programs that we now help get illegal guns off the street: Operation impact, Operation Snub, Cash For Gun Programs. Is there anything in this bill that promotes a big five urban agenda to get illegal guns off the street?

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A. No, sir, I do not believe there is anything in that legislation that goes to that kind of an issue.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Jordan.

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BY LEGISLATOR JORDAN:

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Q. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. Chief, you touched upon I guess the current number of gun


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permits or applications that your department has been receiving. At present how long a delay is there from application to actually getting a gun permit now and what do you anticipate will be the effect of the current law, which now requires re-registration every five years?

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A. Currently it takes us, we're out 14 months waiting for meetings with individuals to get their permits. And this has been largely brought on over the last number of years actually. But we are desperately behind in that currently and we're taking steps to improve that with the assistance of the Legislature. So I want to commend the Legislature for funding the software we need to improve our processes.  But that said, part of this is just increased demand. And when we talk about 45,000 legal permit holders, you have to recognize that there are many many more guns than that held by these individuals. So this is just, people are going out and buying additional weapons out of concern that they won't be able to get them later.

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Q. I mean at present is there any requirement that you reapply or renew your gun permit?

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A. No, there is no renewal, unless you move you have to renew in the county that you move to, you have to move your permit.

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Q. So now if there is a requirement that every gun owner reapply and renew their permit every five years, what impact is that going to have on you?

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A. The state has indicated they're going to do this, though they really haven't described how they're going to do this. If we're required to do that, I have no idea. I will be back before this Legislature asking for lots more money.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Knapp and then Legislature Ryan.

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BY LEGISLATOR KNAPP:

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Q. Chief, the opinion you were just discussing in your presentation which was basically the report from the New York State Sheriff's Association, all 62 counties represented there?

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A. That's correct.

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Q. What was the vote in the Sheriff's Association to send this opinion to the state and to the rest of us?


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A. I do not know, I have to say.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 58 to 4.

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A. There you go. I know Sheriff Walsh himself went to Albany on this and spoke and expressed our concern with this law. And I know that he voted for it.

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Q. He was not one of the four?

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A. No.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Ryan.

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BY LEGISLATOR RYAN:

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Q. Chief, you kind of touched on the FOIL and also the first responders, but also provisions with respect to mental hygiene law and the mental health provision. Are you for those, against those, do you feel they go far enough? What do you think about those?

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A. The Sheriff's Association opinion is for those. I will caution that I think we need input from the mental health community. They're very concerned with their ability to do that. And I think that quite frankly we talk about a mental health system, it's not really a system, okay. It's out there, and people are individually


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practicing but it's not a unified working together type thing where it's going to be easy to get the information that we need. So we are generally for, particularly the mental health provisions that restrict individuals that are dangerous to themselves or others. We've always been in support of that, we should not give weapons to people with those kind of issues.

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Q. But in the text of the bill it does speak to also sharing of information across agencies. Do you think that's a good thing too?

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A. Sharing information is also a good thing, yes, sir.

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Q. Your opinion, you think that extended Kendra's Law for 2017 is a good one?

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A. I'm sorry, I don't know the -- I know Kendra's Law but I don't know the provisions of it, whether or not I'm in favor of all of it or not.

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Q. This extends that bill through this, this legislation extends that, that law.

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A. Yes, and again I'm not familiar with Kendra's Law enough to discuss the provisions of that.


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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Williams and Legislature Dougherty.

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BY LEGISLATOR WILLIAMS:

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Q. Good evening, Chief. The Chairman touched a little bit on this, I represent the south side and southwest side of the city where there is a lot of gun violence. One of the things, and that's why I'm asking your opinion on this, does this law do anything for folks that purchase a gun legally but sell it illegally for a substance, maybe they're on drugs or something. Because I see a lot of that, hear a lot of that happening in my community. So that this law will touch on that?

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A. It's always been illegal to, particularly if we're talking about handguns, that's always been illegal to do exactly what you just described, to sell it illegally. And it does, in that now between private owners, the NCIC checks are required, in other words you have to have that check to make sure the person you're not selling it to is a felon, even private sales. So the Sheriff's Association is in favor of that restriction.


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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: And Legislator Dougherty.

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BY LEGISLATOR DOUGHERTY:

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Q. Have you been on the street as a patrolman in any part of your career?

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A. Yes, I was a patrolman for about 15 years, having shot through the ranks to patrolman and stayed there for a long time. And then I was a sergeant for another several after that.

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Q. So lately I've been led to believe that these assault weapons are used in crimes as a common occurrence. And I see in the State Sheriff's Association opinion on this about it that they feel the assault weapon ban as stated in New York SAFE Act as too broad. In your opinion, with many years of patrolman experience that you have, how often would you expect one of the weapons that are covered in here to be used in a crime?

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A. Extremely rarely. Most of the time it's not what we would classify as an assault weapon; though they are used, there is those instances, but it's extremely rare.

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Q. What are the guns most commonly used?


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A. Handguns and -- handguns are probably the most common. To be honest there is a move back towards what we in law enforcement call wheel guns by criminals. The old revolvers. And the reason for that is they know that when they go to a scene and they fire a lot of shots, we're able to trace those casings. So the criminals actually are going back to what you would probably call the six shooter. So there is some movement back towards that, because it provides less evidence for the police.

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Q. And those guns aren't mentioned in this bill at all?

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A. No, they're not.

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Q. So it's fair to say that everything that they're outlawing in this New York SAFE Act law is illegal, except for the things they're adding which according to you are rare in the crime anyway?

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A. I'm sorry, you need to restate that. The basic thing is yes, most of the provisions where they make things illegal are going to have little or no effect on crime. That's our biggest concern. If the provisions of the law were going to significantly impact the safety of our citizenry


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then certainly they should be considered carefully in light of the Second Amendment. But we don't believe that most, if any of these provisions in terms of restricting the guns that we're talking about here are going to have any impact or any significant impact on gun violence. We wish it would. We wish it was more carefully considered.

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LEGISLATOR DOUGHERTY: That's what I suspected but I didn't have the experience to back that up so, thank you for clarifying that.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Further questions for Chief Balloni. Legislator Jordan?

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BY LEGISLATOR JORDAN:

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Q. Chief, you indicated that in your opinion the new law will not really have any positive impact I guess in terms of reducing gun violence. Is it in your opinion possible that this new law could actually increase the risk of gun violence because now people, criminals who don't have gun permits, who have guns, they feel emboldened because they may have the opinion that fewer people have guns in their possession so they would feel, I guess safer in committing certain violent crimes?


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A. I think they should think very closely about that. Because in fact the laws have the opposite effect and there are many more legal guns possessed by individuals today than the day it was passed. Just judging from our business.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other questions? Legislator Knapp?

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BY LEGISLATOR KNAPP:

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Q. Chief, a lot of this was precipitated by the horrific acts in Webster and Newtown. Again, in your opinion does this really do anything that would have changed what happened, the SAFE Act?

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A. I agree that this legislation is a reaction to those horrific things and we should be doing everything in our power to legitimately stop those things. But we don't, the Sheriff's Association as a group obviously does not feel that this would have a significant impact. People with mental issues are not necessarily getting the treatment that they need, which is one reason that I will be before this Legislature asking on behalf of the Sheriff for money to build a mental health unit in our jail.


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We have a lot of problems, and unfortunately, and I've said this in an editorial, a letter to the editor that I wrote, unfortunately we want to pass a law and solve some very serious complicated societal problems. And that's not going to happen. We need to spend some serious money taking care of mentally ill individuals. We have to be better at controlling illegal weapons and we have to spend some money in a number of areas that are very complicated and can't be oh well, we passed a law, that problem is off our plate. Because it's not. And this will do little or nothing to change that, my opinion, sir.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Shepard.

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BY LEGISLATOR SHEPARD:

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Q. Thank you, Chief, you had mentioned that straw purchases are a problem that came up through other Legislators. Your Internet, it's already illegal. I'm curious how NCIC checks for private transactions is going to resolve anything if already that activity is illegal. They're just going to skip the NCIC checks, the only people going to comply with it are people that don't commit crimes anyway?


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A. I guess it's one more thing to charge them with. Failure to do the NCIC checks as required by law enforcement. And again most legal gun owners, their right to keep and to bear arms is extremely important to them and they're among our least likely people to offend in any way.

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Q. So that Chief, that additional person on the person breaking the law, a stiffer purchase for the straw purchase, rather than burning everybody with the need for the NCIC check?

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A. Let me put it this way, if I was selling one of my guns to a private individual, other than a family member that I knew, I have no objection to getting, having that person get a NCIC check, because I don't want to accidently sell it to somebody that has a felony record or somebody that might use that gun improperly. So I think the State Sheriff's, you know, requesting this area for support is appropriate. I don't think that's a serious problem with this law. There are enough serious problems with this law, that's probably not one of them.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other questions? Legislature Ryan.


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BY LEGISLATOR RYAN:

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Q. You talked about with the inspection of schools by state agencies. The text of the bill state section 2801-B for the Education Law to establish New York State School Safety Improvement Teams to review, assess and make recommendations on school safety plans submitted by school districts on a voluntary basis. Section 3602 of the Education Law, as amended by Section 1 part A-2 purchase various security devices including municipal safety plan, at a rate 10 percent higher than the current building aid ratio. Is that a problem or are you against the state getting involved in that?

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A. We have no problem with -- the school safety plans have been a requirement for a long time. We have been in the schools with school resource officers, which by the way the state no longer has any of those. So we're concerned that we're better qualified, local police and the sheriff's offices is far better qualified to go into these schools that we work in every day and assist them with their safety plans, etc. than state agencies. That's our concern, not that


32  Knapp

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their safety plans or that those provisions are not a bad thing at all.

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Q. What is it you're against with the state agencies, just them telling us?

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A. We're not against anything except that we think we are better qualified to provide that assistance than state agencies, correct.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other questions for the Chief? Thanks Chief.

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CHIEF BALLONI: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Legislator Knapp do you want to take over this portion of the meeting, please?

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LEGISLATOR KNAPP: Mr. Chairman, we do have a resolution that's been provided, it's a copy of the New York State Association of Counties resolution that was passed by our organization, sent to the state, we are not going to vote on that resolution tonight. It's just a guideline for discussion purposes. Chairman did you want to?

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Yes, thank you


33  Chairman

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Legislator Knapp. Just for the crowd I've never seen so many people in the chambers, so this is great but when you hear the word unfunded mandate, just to give everybody an idea what that is. That's essentially what it sounds like, it's the State of New York telling local governments they have to implement programming and then not giving us the money to pay for it. Just to give you an idea on what unfunded mandates do to county governments, our tax levy, every property tax level we collect is about $141 million. The unfunded mandates passed out by the State of New York are 125 percent of our property tax levy. So every tax dollar that you pay in property taxes doesn't even cover the bills we have to pay back to the State. So that's part of what you're hearing from the sheriff's and the clerks and the New York State Association of Counties. These aren't


34  Chairman

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radical positions, we're talking about how it impacts local government, these are facts.

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And I'll just read the NYSEC position that the County Executives and County Legislators from throughout the state came together and just memorializing to the Governor and the New York State Legislature to amend Chapter 1 of the laws of 2013, New York SAFE Act, to address issues related to county costs and implementation of provisions related to mental health, record keeping and public safety. Just to go over a couple points on this resolution then Chairman Knapp I'll turn it back to you. But whereas this new law require the local Director of Community Service, the county commissioner of mental health, DCS or his or her designee to receive reports from mental health professional who believe their patient is likely to engage in conduct that would result in


35  Chairman

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serious harm to themselves or to others. Whereas the DCS must investigate each report to confirm the identity and professional status of such mental health practitioner, and to determine whether they agree with the practitioner's assessment of the patient, and in the event that the DCS agrees with the assessment made by a reporting mental health practitioner, the DCS shall be required to file a report with the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

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So Chairman Knapp, I just wanted this to be a discussion point. Not because of what the mental health piece of this legislation says or if it's good or if it's bad. I think many would argue that it's good. But what it doesn't do is it creates a lot of work for our local professionals. And what it doesn't do, like what Albany typically does to us day in and day out, doesn't give us a check to come home and


36  May

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pay for it. And I think that's part of the problem with this aspect of it. That's why NYSAC is taking the position is that it's creating more work for all of us yet it's not paying for the work. So it is a mandate. Chairman Knapp.

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LEGISLATOR KNAPP: Do any Legislators have any questions or comments concerning the association of County Resolution? Legislator May.

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LEGISLATOR MAY: Mr. Chairman, I just wasn't to point out that certainly in addition to the unfunded mandates for our agencies in the county, this law really has impact on private mental health professionals as well. And that's a number that we can't quantify either. So it's actually drifting out into the private sector and how people are doing business and creating burdens on them as well. I think that should be pointed out as well.

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LEGISLATOR KNAPP: Other questions or comments from the Legislators? Being


37  Armstrong

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none, I'll close the discussion of the New York State Association of Counties Resolution and we'll move on to the public comment period.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Thank you. Just a reminder, please when you hear your name give us your name, your address where you live, the organization you're with, and please try to keep your comments to two to three minutes so we can get through everybody tonight. Our first speaker will be Scott Armstrong, a certified firearms inspector, he lives in East Syracuse. David Gay, you're on deck.

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SCOTT ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Chairman Knapp and Holmquist, and I will be submitting more expansive testimony and will try to contain my comments here for three minutes in respect for your rules. I'm encouraging you to vote in favor of the resolution demanding repeal of the New York SAFE Act because it is based on a fundamentally flawed premise,


38  Armstrong

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certainly the democratic process it is a it's procedure violated if not the State Constitution, certainly the democratic process, and that it is a direct infringement on civil rights and common sense. Let's first look at some of the technical premises of the new law. Semi-automatic rifle uses technology that is over a hundred years old and is found in 75 percent of handguns and 50 percent of long guns. Features used to define it as an assault weapon, such as an adjustable stock, pistol grip or barrel shroud are in fact safety devices. They are used to fit the rifle safely to the shooter's size, they provide stability while shooting and prevent a shooter from burning their hands. Despite the claims of politicians, they are widely used for hunting, target shooting, competition and defense.

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To those lacking firearm knowledge


39  Armstrong

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they are a very poor indicator of criminal potential. According to the New York State Statistics in 2011, New York State had 759 homicides by firearm, only 5 committed by a rifle of any type. There is much talk about the State assuming pistol license management as directed under the legislation, yet the0 state police have not been shy in indicating since passage that it will remain with counties, and yes, chairman, an unfunded mandate. A pistol license is slated to go from lifetime license to a five year renewable. This will increase administrative traffic with the average sheriff's department by an estimated 400 percent. Currently Onondaga County is taking 14 or 15 months just to handle new license applications, never mind the review and renewal of over 45,000 existing licenses. There is nothing in the state budget that assist these counties in their additional burden.


40  Armstrong

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The last person with a pistol license that committed a crime in Onondaga County with a legal gun that I'm aware of, and I do follow these things closely, was an adult in the Town of Clay who shot through a sliding glass back door when a drunken college student pounded on the door, thinking he was at a house that there was a party where he was scheduled to be at, which was two doors down. This is a crime, certainly and not safe or proper gun usage I would ever recommend as an instructor. But it's also the very home defense advice, no less than the vice-president of the United States gave the nation just last week.

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Perhaps the most egregious provision is the limit on magazine capacity to 7 rounds. New York already has the most strict limit in the country of 10 rounds. Let me be clear, over 98 percent of semi-automatic pistols made today do not have 7 round magazine. No


41  Armstrong

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manufacturer plans on making a 7 round magazine. They do not exist. We have mandated something that does not exist. Right now the Governor allows you to load 7 rounds in a 10 round magazine. After April 15th of this year it must be a 7 round magazine. At that point law abiding gun owners, such as myself, will be in the company of rapists, inciters of anarchy, possessors of child pornography and arsonists, all of which New York now views as equivalent or lesser than loading 8 rounds in a magazine designed to hold 10. So what happens to Ra-Lins or Dick's Sporting Goods or Gander Mountain, or any number of smaller shops that we enjoy and frequent when much of their inventory as of April 15th is rendered illegal a little more than a month from today?

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I'll spare you the lessons on Constitutional law and the infringement of your rights, but it's enough to say


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this bill was passed in a procedural rush job, Message of Necessity. And yet many provisions take 15 minutes to take effect. So why the necessity? Why the hurry? Simple. When you are trying to force a bill of dubious legality and fear political opposition, you must ram it through in the middle of the night with no debate, no apologies and any threat of the legislators it takes to get the job done. You cannot convince me that we would have been ill served to have a whopping three days of public debate as the law calls for. There was no debate in the Senate Rules Committee or the Senate floor, not one word. There was no expert testimony given. We are left with a bill that makes criminals of the law abiding, mandates an object that doesn't exist and requires the medical and mental health professionals now violate state and federal patient privacy laws and exposes


43  Armstrong

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them to new levels of medical malpractice liability. Let me wrap up on some issues of common sense. Does it make sense, as we all are in favor of trying to curb gun crime, to further regulate law abiding citizens in the attempt to fight that crime? If you're trying to prevent gun crime why are the majority of the fixes aimed squarely at the people in this room, the law abiding gun owners?

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In conclusion, as I attended the funeral of six year old Sandy Hook Cub Scout Benjamin Wheeler, and led an honor guard of nearly 200 scouts and scout leaders, barely holding ourselves together, I could only see my own children in the eyes of the poster of Ben looming behind us. I get it. Gun violence is a significant problem. No law abiding gun owner supports using a gun in the commission of a crime. Something must be done, but you guys are elected to


44  Gay

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make smart choices. Your state colleagues forgot that and placed political expediency in front of competence. The end result is a legislative travesty borne of human tragedy. Law abiding gun owners are not the problem, and we are not the enemy. That is until the government unfairly and callously declares us criminals, having done nothing wrong, and done nothing different. I never thought we'd see the day and yet we are here. Please vote in favor of a resolution demanding repeal to the New York SAFE Act. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: David Gay, followed by Mike Mastrogiovanni. Please keep the applause to a minimum, please.

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DAVID GAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman for allowing the public to kind of speak here tonight, thank you Legislators and the public for being here on this very important Constitutional issue. You know, Thomas Jefferson taught us


45  Gay

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two really important things. One, that an unjust law is no law at all. And its rightful remedy to tyranny is nullification. You know, we can sit here and debate repeal of this law and we can pass a non-binding resolution to the state and we can say, hey, state, you better repeal this law. But that doesn't happen if the state doesn't repeal the law or they don't take out these provisions through the Amendment process, these provisions that violate the rights of law abiding citizens. What are we prepared to do about it in Onondaga County?

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You know, in September 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. I'm pretty sure everybody in this room would free a slave if they could. In October 1851, a jury in Syracuse, New York, bravely and rightly nullified the Fugitive Slave Act, freeing slave Jerry. A former US Senator, and the Governor of New York State were arrested in that act


46  Mastrogiovanni

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of nullification. And what I just want to say to this body, if this isn't repealed we still have a problem on our hands, we still have this law on the books. And I would love if this body would consider nullification of that act on a county level, advising the sheriff and the district attorney and the county executive not to do any orders to prosecute or arrest or try anybody who is caught violating this unjust and unconstitutional law. I think almost all the people should become advocates for nullification of our unjust laws. And I appreciate the opportunity to speak. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Mike Mastrogiovanni. Steve, you're on deck.

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MIKE MASTROGIOVANNI: Unfortunately Scott took most of my points, but on one of the things that we are a representative form of government. And in New York State to pass the SAFE Gun


47  Mastrogiovanni

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Act which bypassed everybody in this room, no comment, nothing. What happened to we the people?

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Brought up by the sheriff's tonight about the amount of people they asked them a question about the assault weapons being used in a crime. .007 percent of the crimes ever committed with an assault weapon. But yet we blame an object for murder, we blame an object for the killing of children, we keep blaming the object. We never ever look at the problem. We call it gun violence. It's violence. It doesn't matter if I punch somebody in violence or if I shoot somebody, it's violence. But it's a buzz word to get everybody fired up and say this is gun violence we've got to do something about it. Every one of our zones except one is a gun free zone. What makes a gun free zone? You can't have any guns there. Why are you going to do your crimes? You go to a gun free zone. Every one of


48  Mastrogiovanni

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these crimes, except one again, the people that committed these crimes were on heavy hard psychotic drugs. What did we do about that? We want to change the mental health system. We want to pierce your confidentiality with the patient/client privilege. If you feel bad one day because you're dog died, and a month later you can't get over it, you're afraid to go to the doctor. He may say, oh you can't have guns anymore, you can't enjoy shooting trap, skeet, target. You can't do any of that anymore. So this law has only made one person, one group of people safe, that is the criminals. The criminals are much safer today than when this gun law was enacted and they're going to be much more safe because less people be able to defend themselves. The state police told me in a conversation with Steve Hogan's office, the state police and the police need to have more than 7 rounds


49  Mastrogiovanni

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in their magazines. And I asked, why? Because, well, it's their job to defend and protect. I said, so let me get this right, they're outgunned on the street when they break through my door I'm less gunned than they are, but they're more important people. These people, there is nothing wrong with a law abiding citizen, lot of you that are in here. If you like guns or don't like guns, everything that's done can happen to you overnight. This is why it's a bad law. Ammunition background checks. Told it's going to stop the criminals from getting guns or ammunition. If they steal the guns aren't they going to steal the ammunition? Is that going to stop it? Like I said, 34 counties have already passed this resolution. They have done it because their people and their sheriff's have stood behind them. The law abiding aren't the problem. We're being harnessed, we're being chipped away at, we're being beat. It's


50  Wowelko

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got to stop. We have to stand up and fight for liberty, justice for all. Thank you.

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STEPHEN WOWELKO: Steve Wowelko from Onondaga County. Dear members of the Onondaga County Legislature, fellow residents of Onondaga County. Today I'm here to address you as a parent, a child of immigrant parents, a sportsman and a resident of Onondaga County. First and foremost I'm concerned about the safety of my family, as I'm sure you and the rest of the residents in this county are, especially those in the city of Syracuse where I grew up. The New York State SAFE Act contains some very important pieces of legislation, namely, Kendra's Law. Legislation that provides for court ordered assisted outpatient treatment for certain people with mental illness who view their treatment history and present circumstances are unlikely to survive safely in the community without


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the supervision.

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Then we have Mark's Law, to make the killing of emergency first responders first degree murder punishable by the stiffest penalty allowed by law, life without parole. With lawsuits pending against the state and the possibility of injunction against the whole SAFE Act, these important provisions of the law can be in jeopardy of not being enacted for years. A full repeal of the act and reintroduction of these important portions of the law, which will stand alone, are the only way to guarantee their enactment and a degree of safety for us.

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My parents came to this country with just a suitcase full a clothes, and more importantly a hope of living in freedom. They escaped living in a dictatorship and communism, they sought democracy, a government of the people and by the people, one that listened to its


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citizens and acted in their best interests. The way that this New York SAFE Act was passed in the middle of the night, in secrecy, with no time to ask the people their input was not an example of the democracy my parents yearned for when they came to this country.

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I am also here today representing the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs. The New York SAFE Act has a definite impact on sportsmen. With the reclassification of an assault weapon, common hunting rifles used by sportsmen are now considered an assault weapon. Even the gun I used to hunt squirrels with can now be classified as an assault weapon. A thumbhole in the stock of a rifle to help a person with disabilities to stabilize a gun when hunting is now considered an assault weapon. This reclassification of a firearm for just its cosmetic features does not improve


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the safety for New York. Our County Federation has passed a resolution asking for the full repeal of the law. I have supplied a copy of it to each of you.

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As a resident of Onondaga County I am upset with this new legislation for the unfunded mandates it will impose on our county taxpayers. At a time when we should be looking at ways to decrease crime, we do not need another level of bureaucracy that I feel will not accomplish the goal, the goal that it was set out to do. I urge you to vote for a resolution for the full repeal of the New York SAFE Act and encourage our state Legislature in Albany to work toward legislation that will truly have a positive impact on the safety of the residents of New York, Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: John Butler, you're on deck.


54  Keeley

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KAY KEELEY: Hi, Bonnie Ferguson giving me time tonight, I'm Kay Keeley for the public comment. First of all this law was passed under the guise of protecting our children. I have a three year old daughter at home tonight, and I talked to Sheriff Walsh a few weeks about whether or not this law protected her. I asked him is my daughter safer today because of this law than she was two weeks ago before it was passed? He looked me right in the eye and said absolutely not.

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This law is, according to our clerks and according to the sheriff's association as well, is pretty hard to enforce. And it's hard to fund as well. We don't really have the money for it. So I wonder why we should support this law since, since it's practically unenforceable. And since according to our own sheriff it does nothing to protect our children. The sheriff did comment to me about


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how the gun control law doesn't really do anything to protect my daughter sitting at home tonight as borne out by some members that I looked up, according to -- according to the Family Bureau of Criminology, actually after they passed that sweeping gun law in Australia, violent crime went up by over 42 percent. I don't think we should support a law that bans guns and could cause violent crime to go up. You know, this is borne off where violent crime there has risen as well. I would strongly urge this body to consider passing a resolution to fully repeal this law. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: John Butler, Skaneateles, New York. Russell Kiggins, you're on deck.

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JOHN BUTLER: My name is John G. Butler, I live at 3826 State Street Road, Skaneateles, New York. I've been there since 1971. I was a 30 year veteran of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department


56  Butler

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Custody Division. I came here to address you on having the -- I'll read from this piece of paper -- records exemption. And quite frankly it's not being addressed here tonight. However, historically I've been threatened over a dozen times, documented, sent to the District Attorney's office in my 30 years in the sheriff's department. The folks said that they would either kill me or maim me, rape and kill my family. And the only response I would give them is, pack a lunch and make it light. However, it could very well happen, it hasn't happened yet, thank God. But to restrict me from possessing a firearm that I work with for 30 years, it's unconscionable, and doesn't allow me to protect my family. So with that I would vote that you would repeal that law. And I thank you very much for the short time that I have here.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Russell Kiggins. Are you here Russell? Go to the next


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one then, Rachel Neupert, North Syracuse. Walter Dixon is on deck.

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RACHEL NEUPERT: I stand before you today to implore you to adopt the resolution for the repeal of the New York State SAFE Act in Onondaga County. To stand in unity against an unjust and unconstitutional law against its own constituents. Just as many of the other counties and states are doing. The list is growing day by day and will continue to do so as well as a growing number of lawsuits continuing to be filed. We are all deeply saddened by the Sandy Hook massacre, but Governor Cuomo however, took it upon himself to propagate a message of necessity clearly based on emotion. I read the 78 page bill in its entirety, whereas the majority of our Senate leaders they had not before voting and passing on this bill. Through false Message of Necessity the people were not given the right to a standard three day cooling


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off period to supply their own comments and concerns, and we have many. Governor Cuomo, the Senate and all state and public employees are smart to uphold their oath of office to protect our Constitutional rights. They let us down. Our Second Amendment adopted December 15, 1791 clearly states, a well regulated malitia being necessary for security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The SAFE Act has a direct impact on our law abiding citizens, our police, our law enforcement, our veterans. The very people already obeying one of the strictest gun laws in the country are law abiding, and are being turned into criminals. Although I would hope and pray I would never have to use my firearm against someone who is trying to inflict harm on myself or my children, it is my Constitutional right to defend my family to preserve their life. And


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yes, I may need more than 7 bullets to do so.

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But let me ask you, will this law help to reduce the violent crime rate in the city of Syracuse? I'm a health care professional, I see this every day. And I don't think so. Will the criminals give up their weapons or care about assault bans? Or would they adhere to a maximum 7 round rule? No. They don't register them anyway. We have gun control, enforce the laws that are on the books, we do not need more gun control, we do need crime control. We do need more help for the mentally unstable I agree, but we cannot do that if we are shutting down our group homes and facilities for the mentally ill and releasing them upon the population and into our city streets.

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This is an Unsafe Act giving criminals the upper hand and the rest of us defenseless against them. You need not look any farther than

 
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Chicago to see the bill of disarmament, which Governor Cuomo admitted proposing confiscation, leads to higher crime rate.

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In closing, I ask you again, please repeal. The good citizens are many and should not be punished by the few that have all obtained weapons illegally. We have done nothing wrong, we are the law abiding citizens, we are the people and we will be heard. We will not weaken our resolve, it is strong, and we will not forget come election day when it is time to vote for those who stand up for the Constitution. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Thank you Rachel. Walter Dixon, followed by George Busco, junior.

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WALTER DIXON: My name is Walt Dixon. Most of the good stuff has really been said, very prepared speakers, very very well, most of the things I thought of. I think I was just like anyone else in this room that's a law abiding gun owner, I was just


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appalled, and it's taken up the majority of my waking hours ever since this bill was passed, either on the Internet or writing letters or making phone calls or attending meetings. And it seemed to me in a state that has taken two, three or four years I guess it's been said, to take comments from its residents on hydrofracking to engage in midnight politics, you know, passing this bill, passing this law, when our state constitution says that we're supposed to wait or the Legislators are supposed to have three days to have this bill on their desk before they vote on it, seems to be just appalling. And I attended two town hall meetings where my Assemblyman Al Stirpe was graciously -- I was hoping for applause but -- Al Stirpe was graciously attending down in Tully and down in Fabius. When he was pushed to say well why was this passed so quickly, why was it passed so fast without any input from


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constituents? And he kind of hung his head and said, well, you know, it was kind of felt in the legislative chambers that if it was given too much time it wouldn't pass. Plain and simple. The two things that dawned on me, and these are just, you know, a dad and a granddad at this point, I asked the Assemblyman at that meeting about the web supervision, one of the provisions of the SAFE Act. And I think the whole thing is ill thought. And I guess it's admirable that we would pass a law that would imprison for life someone who kills a first responder or a policeman. But I said to him, why, as admirable as that is, why is their life any more important than my wife, my daughter or my granddaughter?

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If we want to pass a well thought out law why not imprison anyone who kills another human being for life. Then I said to the Assemblyman, Sunday February 3rd in the Post Standard,


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here's an example of the Albany District Attorney accepting a plea for First Degree Manslaughter and a plea bargain on a gentleman who killed another gentleman in a drug deal gone bad, and they're putting him away for 15 years, and he'll be out. What sense does that make?

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And the last thing I just want to say is this, and again this is kind of from the heart. I listened to, I think his name is Tully school supervisor Craig Pritz, he said something to the Assemblyman at that meeting, that they apparently, the school supervisors had reviewed some studies in schools where there was a killer or shooter that came in and tried to kill kids. And he said he was stunned to learn that an overwhelmingly, most every case when there was an armed resource officer there to return fire, the killer shot themselves and ended the spree. And he said, but there is no money for resource


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officers in the state in this tight budget. And yet here Governor Cuomo is asking for $35.9 million to fund this illegitimate SAFE Act. I hope you would oppose this act.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: David Simmons you're on deck.

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GEORGE BUSCO, JR.: My name is George Busco, junior, I live in Tully, New York. When I entered the military I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. As this government's office holders the Amendment, the Second Amendment gives the right of the people to keep and bear arms and shall not be infringed.

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The government has gotten away with limiting this right, but it doesn't make it legal. I have heard the district attorney say it was about a single shot musket. Well at the time that was a state-of-the-art military firearm. Our forefather's give us the ability to overthrow an out of control government


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as they did with England. Nowhere in the Constitution is hunting mentioned. Our Governor allowed a grandmother killer to shoot firemen. And a crazy kid shoots his way into a school. Both use guns illegally acquired. For this you want to remove more freedom from legal gun owners. Most mass shootings are in gun free zones. Do away with this law. History shows over and over again more legal gun people in an area there is less crime. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: David, you're up. Allen Oakes, your next.

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DAVID SIMMONS: My name is David Simmons, I'm the president of the Baldwinsville Rod and Gun Club and I'm board of director's member of the Onondaga County Federation Sportsmen Club. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. Unfortunately everybody has covered most of my points already. So I guess I have two questions that


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the Onondaga County Legislature should consider while they're thinking about this resolution. If gun control laws work shouldn't Chicago be the safest place in the world? So instead of being the safest place in the world, in the first six months of 2012 Chicago experienced 250 murders. Chicago is a city one-third the size of New York City and New York City only experienced 193 murders in the first six months of 2012.

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And my other point is this. COPAS, (phonetic) which the Governor abandoned last year because over the course of more than 10 years it cost the taxpayers of this state more than $40 million never resulted in a single convicted criminal. The New York SAFE Act is reported to cost $36 million just to enact this year. For that same price of $36 million we could keep 720 violent criminals in jail for one more year. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: George Raterman, you're on deck.


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ALLEN OAKES: Good evening, my name is Allen Oakes, I'm a disabled Vietnam veteran, silver star winner, two purple hearts. (Applause). I didn't do that get to rise out of anybody. I really didn't.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we did it.

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ALLEN OAKES: On March 1st there was an organization called We The People. And We The People and several of us New Yorkers, and exactly 1,256 I believe, filed suit in the State of New York to repeal the New York SAFE Gun Act. On March 11th there was a hearing in Albany to determine whether it's going to be law or not law. The Governor and Mr. Silver and I think the majority leader and minority leader have all been served as to why they should keep this in the law rather than repeal. So I urge all of you to read it. Again, I'm not here to bump up


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We The People, but it's on their site if one wants the read the complaint. And what we're trying to do about it. Most everything has been talked about here is what I also had to say, so I'm glad there are so many people of the same mind. The only last thing I want to say is let common sense prevail instead of emotion, that's the only way one lives. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Scott Chatfield, you're on deck.

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GEORGE RATERMAN: Good evening. Allen was right, most everything has been already touched on. He kind of stole our thunder. But anyway we're all against this so called law, and which was illegally put in place. My name is George Raterman, I live in Kirkville, New York, have lived there for 30 years and before that we were residents of East Syracuse and then Syracuse itself. I came to this country in 1950. I was a displaced person, having lived in


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Germany for ten years after the war. I was born in Latvia, one of the Balkan countries. Anyway, that's my background. I went to school here in Syracuse, attended high school, North High School, now it's torn down, not where it used to be, on the windy hill. And I also served in the 174th Fighter Wing. For six years went to France, but that's another story. I just wanted to ask you not to forget why our Founding Fathers put that Second Amendment in place. There is not one country in the world that has a Second Amendment except the United States. Maybe Switzerland, I'm not sure whether they have, because they keep their weapons at home. They're part of the army, and they each have their weapon for the time that it's needed in emergency. And you know, this is what I want you to remember, the citizens of this great country, that this Second Amendment


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is for us to keep tyrants out of control in the White House. And I feel that every one of these laws, whether it's on a county level, a state level or a federal level, has a purpose of trying to take away our representative republic. You might disagree with me, but I think it's a step by step intentional program by the progressives to do that.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Lee Schapley, your next.

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SCOTT CHATFIELD: Good evening Mr. Chairman, Chairman Knapp, Chairman Holmquist, members of the Legislature. My name is Scott Chatfield, I'm here speaking this evening not only on my own behalf but on behalf of an organization known as Central New York Conservatives, Inc. We're a not-for-profit organization dedicated to spreading the word about the Founding Fathers principles and moral values. And they have authorized me to make some remarks this evening.

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First I want to start by saying many


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Chatfield

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of the words you hear me say this evening will sound familiar to you. But they bear close scrutiny and frequent repetition and somber reflection. Because they really are the essence of what is the United States of America. So as to make certain I say them right I will read.

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Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

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Now, this principle so elegantly stated in the Declaration of Independence is the bedrock upon which this Republic stands. And it, in turn,


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is dependent upon the ability of the governed to alter or abolish any government that becomes destruction of those ends.

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At the same time that the Founding Fathers established this principle, this fundamental and novel idea I might add, of the new relationship between the people and their government, they also recognized that for this relationship to endure the people must have the means to enforce their collective will when and if it ever becomes necessary. And I quote. "Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer that which is sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object


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evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for the future security." To ensure that the people would always have those means to throw off such government, the Second Amendment was written in absolute terms, with no room for compromise or equivocation. And I quote, "A well regulated malitia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

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All, all of the rights and liberties that we enjoy, as enumerated in the Bill of Rights, are ultimately dependent upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is so because it is the only way when the people collectively have the means to enforce their will that tyrannical powers are kept in check. Each of you, along with many others


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in this room, have sworn an oath to support and defend the principles I've just repeated. That oath and your obligation as representatives of the people obligate you to join with your fellow representatives to oppose this unconstitutional law and its blatant usurpation of the people's right to remain the ultimate guardian of their own liberty. Thank you.

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LEE SCHAPLEY: My name is Lee Schapley. Believe me when I say it's hard to beat a lot of the things you heard tonight. I don't know a whole lot about politics but I do know a whole lot about guns. I served five years in the Marine Corps infantry, and I've been an NRA instructor for one year. But one thing I really know and I really love is history. Back in 1776 a smart, a lot smarter than I, wrote this paper called the Crisis. He was talking about the Revolution. But I believe we ourselves, we have a crisis now. And I


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would like to cite some of what he had to say.

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"These are the times that try men's souls for the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service with their country. But he stands there now deserves the love and praise of men and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, but we have the consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph."

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My question for you is, are you sunshine patriots? Sorry, nervous, like I say. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Michael Gosson, followed by Gary Schoonmaker.

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MICHAEL GOSSON: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, my name is Michael Gosson of Syracuse, New York. Thank you for allowing me to address this committee, appreciate it very much. According to New York State Governor Cuomo, this law has become one of the most restrictive


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gun wide gun control laws in the United States. And unlike the past this time he's really telling the truth. My issue really address the ammunition aspect. As a competitive clay target shooter, skeet namely, for on and off for the last 14 years, in my years I typically would shoot anywhere from as little as 2,000 to 14,000 rounds per year. And you would think anyone that shoots that much would be better than I am.

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I speak for myself and approximately 15,000 other competitive shooters in New York State and across the country. From a competitive aspect often times I am with the shooters ranging from as little 15 to 350 participants at skeet shoot. Any participant would purchase anywhere from a hundred to as many as 500 rounds of ammunition to shoot over a three day period. It's not uncommon for the gun club hosting the skeet shoot to sell for between 25,000 to 40,000 rounds of


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ammunition over a three day period. This is not the exception, it often is the rule. According to the new law all dealers that deal in ammunition must be registered with the state police, and each sale will require both a state background check in transmission of the record to the state police of New York. Even if a gun club could comply with this new law that the New York State requires, can you just imagine for a moment one person in line selling ammunition to 350 shooters how long that would take. The staff, the monetary amount that a club would absorb would be astronomical. People would no longer shoot.

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And imagine someone from out of state, because it's very common that out of state shooters would come to New York State, New York State has a very large shoot of its own shoot, we'll draw people from all over New England. So


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how is someone from the state of Massachusetts going to handle buying ammunition at a skeet shoot when they are not required by their law to purchase ammunition? In light of the new ammunition law, puts undue burden and hardship on small to medium to large size gun clubs. And I ask for reconsideration of this law commencing April 1 or April 15, 2013. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Bill Adams, you're up next.

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GARY SCHOONMAKER: Hi, my name is Gary Schoonmaker, I've been living in this county for 60 years. And I've always tried to be a law abiding citizen and that's what I intend to be, but with the advent of this law it certainly is possible that come this time next year I won't be. I live in Marcellus, and I have heard a lot of the things that people said, and I really appreciate it, and I won't double up on the things other


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people have said. Suffice it to say I would like to see this gun law repealed. I would also like to see some of the previous provisions of the laws passed previously done away with as well. And as much as I dislike this Governor I have to thank him for bringing all these people together. The one issue I would like to address is school safety. When we came in tonight there was a line out the door for security screening. We have armed security in the room. I venture to say that some of the Legislators may be carrying as well. Because they value their security. I've been to the Justice Center, same thing. You try to get in there with a pocket knife and you have to check it and get it back on the way out. You have to empty your pockets, you have to go through a magnetometer, you have armed guards. Trying to get in the federal building with a cell phone, you can't do it.


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Why do elected officials think their security is so much more important than our children's security? I think the ideas that have been promoted about bringing armed security guards into the schools are probably a good idea. But one concern I have is if that's the only person in the school that's armed, that person is a target for anybody that wants to go into that school. I think it's important and incumbent upon this country to provide protection for our children that allows legitimate -- people who are rational and who have been trained to be able to carry the features as administrators in the schools.

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If that was allowed, if schools were not gun free zones, even if nobody carries in the school, anybody wouldn't go in because they wouldn't know. Right now we're advertising that these are gun free zones. That makes no sense. And the provisions in the New York SAFE law


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which say, well we're going to give the schools more money for security and magnetometers and stuff like that. I know people that work in city schools. And periodically even in an elementary building they're bringing in a magnetometer setting it up at the front door and the kids have to go through it. Do you know what happens? The kids who carry whatever, contraband, get a phone call or a text from their friends who's already gone through security and they just don't show up at school that day. That doesn't help us. We need to have the security in the schools. I think at that point I'm going to let somebody else talk, hopefully somebody has something else new to say.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Rick Nash, you're up next after Bill Adams.

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BILL ADAMS: My name is Bill Adams, I'm from East Syracuse, New York, I'm a veteran, and you'll have to pardon me, I'm not used to speak to so many people


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like this but I'll try. I've got a picture here of an object, some of you might know what it is, some people might not know what it is. It's a 10 round magazine for a 10/22 rifle.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.

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BILL ADAMS: I figured you would. I own one, my son back there owns one, my son-in-law owns one and I'm sure a lot of people out there own one. As of January I'm a criminal. The only law I've ever broken in my whole life is a speeding ticket or a parking ticket. And I'll tell you what, I'm upset that I'm going to be a criminal. And everybody else should be upset that they're going to be a criminal.

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I've got one question for everybody in this room. How much is your freedom worth? Is it worth a free cell phone, free contraceptives, whatever? Ask your question, just ask yourself that question and you'll repeal or you'll get this law repealed. Just on the way they


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did it, as everybody else has said, in the dark of night. How many honest people do you know that do things in the dark of the night? Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Luke Germain, you're next.

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RICK NASH: My name is Rick Nash, I'm from Baldwinsville and I would like to thank the Legislators, it's been a privilege to watch you in action. Kind of thought you weren't -- I didn't know what to expect. You seem to be good so I would like to give them a hand. And what I'd like to say, we can go back to the times when mentioned but the time of the Civil War what the Second Amendment means to me is that everybody in here who was opposed to slavery would raise that hand, that would be me.

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Now everybody can go home and join up with the regular army to fight with the men in the north to fight against the south, raise your hand. Who has a gun to do that? If we don't have guns


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in our society we cannot keep things like that from happening. It's just, it is the way that the gentleman said to keep our government into check and to make sure that people are treated fairly. I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Libertarian, I'm a Humanitarian. I believe that everybody has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in our society. Since I've been a child, in 1958 when I was born I went to school I had to go underneath the desk or down into a basement because my government told me that more is better. The Russians are coming, the Koreans are coming, the Chinese are coming, the Commies are coming, somebody is coming. The Axis of Evil is coming. And they have armed themselves to the teeth. And that is their logic to keep us safe. So why do we as individual citizens not have the same logic passed down to us? Shouldn't we be able to keep ourself safe by


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arming ourselves in case there is a calamity?

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We're uncertain of our future. We have no idea what's going to happen from one minute to the next. We catch Katrina, we watched some of the law enforcement not be able to respond to people. People actually had to defend themselves. And this is from people who don't own guns. They don't understand. We have a chasm in our society. There is people and I'm sure most of the Legislators you may have your lawns mowed. I have to mow my lawn probably as most of the people in the back. So some people need to use a lawnmower, some people don't. We have more and more people the lawnmower has gone to the way of like a gun in terms of economics. Like if you don't need it and you rely on other people to protect you, it's okay, and that's a good thing. We would like to have that. I don't want to have to worry that I need to be


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able to have to protect myself. But it is an option just in case. And one of the other things is the sheriff captain said about people now are buying guns, more and more guns. Gun owners right now, as most of the responsible gun owners and gun clubs really should address there. Because there is a chasm in our society don't have guns, now they're going out and buying them, there will be a lot more accidents if people just go out and buying guns.

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But I encourage people to buy guns, everybody should know how to use one, it makes our society a polite society. Our protectors and police and our military are our future. And they come from our gun culture. That's where we get our protection from. Most of the people who join up in the Army or Marines or join the sheriff's department, they come from people, citizens who have guns are comfortable with guns, they've been


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around guns all their lives. I think what this law has done is make everybody who owns a firearm a criminal, and ultimately as you said is going to cost us a lot more money. So what are we go going to do? Are we going to let more violent criminals out like the guy in Webster, so we can put more people who have committed no crime into jail when our jails are over-crowded as it is. People might say what they want about us, but we are a very well based people for having over 310 million guns in our society. Please repeal this law. I do believe it is totally unconstitutional. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Adrienne LeBlanq. Luke, you're up.

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LUKE GERMAIN: Did not expect to speak tonight, there's been so much information shared tonight, it's been so wonderful with the sheriff, the arms trainer and everyone else just been


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great. But I just wanted to go into, you know, this little bit of the law here. Penalty. Penalty for possession of high capacity magazine, more than 7 rounds in New York State will go into effect and will be a class D violent felony.

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So I was just going to read a quick list of lesser crimes of Class E felonies: 120.70, luring of a child. 125.10, criminal negligent homicide. 130.25, rape third degree. 130.40, criminal sexual act of the third degree. 130.53, persistent sexual abuse. 130.65(A) aggravated sexual abuse fourth degree. 130.85 female genital mutilation. 135.10, unlawful imprisonment first degree. 150.05 fourth degree arson. 220.28 the use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense. 240.06, riot first degree. 240.15, criminal anarchy. 240.61 placing a false bomb or hazardous substance second degree felony, Class E felony. 250.45 unlawful


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surveillance second degree. Hidden cameras for sexual gratification. 255.25, incest third degree. 263.11 possession of obscene sexual performance by a child.

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So now, the magazines now are a lot worse to have than any one of those crimes which is completely ridiculous. This needs to be repealed immediately. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Fred Neff, you're on deck.

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ADRIENNE LeBLANQ: I live just south of Syracuse's border into Dewitt. In case there is anybody here, although I'm sure there isn't, this is what you call a pistol permit. Two different people asked me what it was, they didn't know. Or they wanted to see one that showed my age. Whatever it is. Anyway, I'm up here with a little bit of a lighter message than some of the others because this affects me personally. If I take back my own


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personal property that I purchased that I sent to my son when I was having some strangers remodel the bathroom in my house and whatever, I didn't want my guns around, so I sent them to my one and only child in the state of South Carolina, through a reputable gun dealer. And he sent them on to a reputable gun dealer down there, so my son could pick it up at my expense all of it.

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If I want any of this back there are two guns here I believe that if I ever use them or if I get them, want to get them back after April 15th it's not just a cost I'll have to pay I'll become a criminal.

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Now my background so far, before I'm going to become a criminal, in case you want to know, I did something foolish like taught school in the Syracuse public school for 34 years and I taught social studies. But I only taught the social studies to give to class for a


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year. After about three years of that I switched because I didn't feel well with some of the kids fairly slow. So for 31years I taught Special Ed, everything from kindergarten kids that needed Special Ed to seniors in high school up to the age of 19, 20, or however long you can stay in Special Ed. And many of them told me they weren't going to live past 30, but I've seen a couple of them around so I guess they've managed it. And I've been around where there were riots in cafeterias, I've been around where they had a lot of bomb threats. I don't really think I deserve to be a criminal after April 15th because I want to get one of my firearms that I never fired, that I was just keeping in the house in case. I just don't feel that it's the right thing. By the way, I was a classifier of a rifle at the age of 9 by a councilor at camp, who had an accent. He was a, maybe he was one of the displaced


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persons or something from World War II, I believe he was out of one of the concentration camps. And he felt it was a good idea for all of us to learn how to defend ourselves.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Bill Andrews, you're up next.

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FRED NEFF: Between getting frost bite waiting to get in here and I think I've just lost 20 pounds sitting there in the seat, I guess it's worth it. My name is Fred Neff, I'm from Baldwinsville. I live on East Dead Creek Road, make sure you get that right because there is a West Dead Creek Road. Anybody want to guess what's in between them? Dead Creek. Do you know how often I pull that on the phone?

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I'm going to a little bit in places where there's been a little discussion so far, but I'm going to dwell on something I didn't hear too much tonight. There is two elements in this pack I want to talk about, one is the Second


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Amendment. Why the concern? After all the SAFE Act does note confiscate our firearms. It only restricts and regulates certain items defined as assault weapons. And the second one I want to talk to is the potential ramifications of the SAFE Act. Let's talk about the Second Amendment first. History is quite clear about those who would control their populace and accomplish that goal.

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First and foremost the citizens have to be disarmed. That procedure is always the same. Implement ever increasing restrictive requirements for ownership of firearms, then demand registration of those firearms, then demand that certain and then all firearms be turn in. And finally confiscate all firearms. Note that the disarming of the public is done in steps. And if they say, I'm hearing it increasing lately, you can't eat an elephant in one sitting. However, if you eat only one


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piece at a time you'll eventually eat the elephant. Each time that another gun law is passed we are told there is no intent to ban firearms. And yet another piece of the elephant is being eaten. Are we paranoid here? Absolutely not. We just know how the game has been played throughout history. And that is why gun owners consider the Second Amendment to be sacred and why it must be protected at all costs. And that's why we draw the line in the sand here.

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Let me quote the following from David Cappell, and I think an awful lot of you recognize that name. He's an American author, attorney, political science researcher and contributing editor to several publications and written books on the subject. "The 1774 import ban on firearms and gunpowder, the 1774, '75 confiscation of firearms and gunpowder, and the use of violence to effectuate that confiscation,


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it was those events that changed the situation of political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insight into the scope of the modern Second Amendment."

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Consider the following pertaining to the subject of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was created to protect the first law of nature, the right of self protection. Self protection was considered an inalienable right, a right guaranteed to every citizen individually. Inalienable right is a right given to you by God and which no inferior power has a right to take away.

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John Dickinson, Constitution signer. "Rights cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws." John Adams, "40 years ago when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised to disarm the people. That was the best and most effective way to enslave them. But that


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they should not do it openly. But to weaken them and let them sink gradually."

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George Mason, father of the Bill of Rights. "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed. As they are in almost every kingdom in Europe."

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Noah Webster. "Numerous reference to the malitia as meaning the whole people, state constitutions both colonial and modern, the federal constitution, early federal laws, and especially the declarations of those who framed the Second Amendment all confirm that guarantees of the US Constitution concerning the right to keep and bear arms were always understood to be inclusive of and extended to every able bodied citizen."

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Now I want to talk about the potential ramification of the SAFE Act. One of our local Assemblyman, I won't identify him, but I heard an awful lot of boos when I was out in the hallway.


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And when I asked, my suspicion was confirmed. Is quoted as saying, that when someone tells him we are on a slippery slope, he concludes that the person has run out of any other arguments. Really? This Legislator had better pay more attention to the situation. The fact of the matter is that the SAFE Act finally poked the bees nest and the bees have been aroused, and they are angry. And if there is any possibility that the SAFE Act was created for political gain? No. I think I speak for all gun owners when I say that we will not be made criminal for political gain.

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As Machiavelli, we all know Machiavelli, right? As he quoted, "The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom." He also quoted "When you disarm your subjects, however you offend them by showing" -- let me get this right now -- "When you disarm your subjects however, you offend them by


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showing that either from cowardliness or lack of faith you distrust them. And either conclusion will induce them to hate you."

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I cannot over-emphasize the potential for violence that has arisen because of present attempts to further restrict individual gun rights. The law abiding citizens of New York and indeed the United States, have finally been stirred to action. And those actions should be sending a clear signal that enough is enough. And the signal being sent is to focus on the real causes of gun violence. It's not the law abiding nor the sane populace that's the problem, it's also not gun accidents, accidents occur, and that's the way it is and that's the way it's going to be. I must add here, that gun safety is a top priority for all legitimate gun owners. The true culprit here is evident to all who truly contemplate the state of our society.


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The SAFE Act, the creation, the process and the vote are all totally unacceptable. It should be repealed as soon as possible and a new approach be proposed, one that all parties, Legislators, gun owners and non-gun owners alike can find to be acceptable and will offer effective approaches to solving "gun violence."

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It would be all criminal violence. I strongly implore the members of Onondaga County Legislature to vote the support of resolution of opposition for the New York SAFE Act and to join the 34 County Legislators that have already passed resolutions of opposition, 17 County Legislators that are pending, including this one, and the 23 towns, 7 law enforcement agencies and 5 other groups who have also passed resolutions of opposition to the New York SAFE Act to date.

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I have a map here, most of you, I hope a lot of you have seen it, you can


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see it all the time online. The green are those counties that have passed resolutions of opposition. The orange, whatever you want to call it yellow ones are the ones that are pending. Tonight we're pending, I am hoping that after tomorrow we'll be green. I know you can't see it but if you want it I'll be around here. With the exception of three counties Upstate, you know up in the wilderness where most of us live, Tompkins, Albany and Schenectady have not done anything yet. Notice where all the rest of the white ones are. They got a problem. They've got to fix their problem. We can't do it for them. Why are they asking us to sacrifice our rights on stuff that's not worth it?

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: If you can wrap it up.

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FRED NEFF: That's it, thank you for the opportunity.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Bill Andrews, Lon Keeley following Bill.


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BILL ANDREWS: You're not going to clap me. I see that the anti-gun control community has been well notified and has brought you here for this meeting. I only wish that the notification had been more broad so that we can have a balanced meeting. Because certainly this meeting does not represent even a small minority of the citizens of Onondaga County.

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Now I have a couple of preliminary remarks to say. People talk about the procedure of enacting the law. The members of the Legislature were there and could have screamed. That's for the courts to decide. I heard some people here talking in terms of armed overthrow of the duly elected government of the United States. That is wrong. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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Now we've talked largely in terms of school protection because that's where the latest big massacre was. And I


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believe that we've had police at times in schools of the city of Syracuse, I believe that that is in general a good idea. But if people who want to commit mass murder don't want to come to schools they can go to theaters, they can go to a whole lot of places. Protecting the schools alone simply isn't going to do the job.

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Now I'm a gun owner. In 1946 I took out one of those 45,000 pistol permits that are supposedly floating around somewhere. And actually I had one of the original German Luger pistols, I also had a 15 round Belgian pistol. And I got rid of it. Basically because I realized that they, in terms of my self-protection of the home they would be useless. And if you kept it for years, very very few intruders in the United States who have been shot by homeowners. Most of those have been by accidents. The great majority of shooters from pistols in the homes of the United


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States have been accidental ones or family violence ones, ones related to the family themselves not to intruders. I say I'm a gun owner, I have carried automatic submachine guns, I've carried semiautomatic rifles which are not, semiautomatic rifles were mentioned here in the discussion but they're not really the target of the young legislation now. I've carried pistols, I've shot at people, I've been shot at by both rifles and automatic weapons because I was in the infantry in World War II.

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At one point there was an organized crime connected fella who didn't like me, who torched me house with a gallon of gasoline at 1:30 in the morning with four of us in the house. And the pistol, I realized then that the pistol by the time I went to the safe place and got it out and all of that, the fire would have been long gone. As a matter of fact I was downstairs when I first discovered


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that there was a fire. And the man who torched it was all gone. Pistol would have been useless.

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I've been attacked on the streets. I have been threatened many times on the streets -- not many times but a few times. And a pistol in my home would have been useless. I don't criticize people who do keep firearms in their homes, I still have an old .22 that I inherited. But that's your call. I don't criticize hunters, because that is your right. And years ago before I went in the Army I hunted too. But I still feel that we should take whatever steps we can albeit imperfect ones, to stop the sale of automatic weapons. We had an assault gun ban for a few years, you know, a federal assault gun ban, it did not do anything to our liberties. There is no need for any peaceful law abiding citizen to have an automatic weapon.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Respect the speaker, please.


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BILL ANDREWS: I'm not saying automatic, I'm not saying so called automatic pistol, which is really semiautomatic. I'm talking about the weapon which will fire many many rounds in a minute.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is illegal in the State of New York.

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BILL ANDREWS: It's illegal in the State of New York, it should be banned nationally again so that people can't be bringing it into New York. Because that is the real hazard in New York City and other places, people bring them in.

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Now, for those of you who want protection in home, I would suggest very strongly that you get a good burglar alarm, fire alarm system that is monitored by the police and fire departments. Now that's the best protection. I would suggest a good dog. When we were torched our dog growled, that's why I was downstairs checking out


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the house. But I didn't go to where I had my pistol locked away, safely locked away. Keep it from the children. I went downstairs myself to check out the house and then discovered the gallon of gasoline on the side porch. Now we don't need automatic weapons in homes, law abiding citizens don't need them. I think that the state law should probably be tweaked to take care of the preventive shooters.

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Finally, shooting, I can say from my own experience shooting is fun from the days when one of the cooks asked me to come out and go in his place, out to fire a 50 caliber machine gun, and by mistake I shot down the model plane that was circling overhead. The Army didn't like that. So I was doing what I was supposed to do. The question is whether we want to be on the side of the shooter by not doing everything we can to keep guns from being bought by straw buyers, keep


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guns again from being stolen from houses which have learned that there is a gun there. I remember being warned by the city police not to advertise the fact that I had a gun, because it just made me a target to have it stolen when I was not in the house. Most burglaries, as you know, occur when the house is dark and people are away. That's why we set the burglar alarm when we go to church.

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I'm in favor of a ban, complete ban on fully automatic weapons.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are already.

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BILL ANDREWS: I think a great many of the NRA members, majority across the country according to polls support that, an overwhelming majority of people in the country support that. I'm in favor of a full background check. I'm in favor of a limit on magazines. I would cheerfully have given up the Belgian pistol I once had that had a 15 round magazine. Limit it to 10 okay, but we


108  Andrews

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need to, along with the mental health work, along with the security in schools, along with perhaps changing the culture of the country even, we need to do everything we can to restrict the sale of guns. And we needn't, members of the County Legislator I sat here once too, we needn't be going around advertising the fact we're trying to find ways to get around the state law. We needn't be either listening to the people who talk about overthrowing the duly elected government of the country. We should be listening to the families. Families in the city of Syracuse, families in Newtown and families elsewhere, families who are torn apart when they have lost a child or member of the family due to a shooting, which whether or not it could have been avoided. I know that even the people that I shot had families at home, had people who really suffered from what I had


109  Keeley

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done. Let's not be a part of that being done here.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Lon Keeley, followed by David Stevenson.

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LON KEELEY: My name is Lon Keeley, I live on Seneca Turnpike in the Town of Onondaga. I won't rehash the items that are wrong with this bill that was passed by New York State or the manner in which it was passed. But because of what is in it and the manner in which it was done, I feel that New York State no longer represents me. They've acted to diminish my freedom and my safety and the safety of my family.

.

It seems that the question before us this evening, the question before you, our County Legislators, is will Onondaga County represent me? Will Onondaga County act to preserve my liberties and enhance the safety of my family? Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: David Stevenson. John Steele, you're on deck.


110  Stevenson

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DAVID STEVENSON: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be among here so many friends. My name is David Stevenson, I'm a life long resident of Onondaga County. I served 25 years with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, retired as a captain, and since then I've been in the business of telecommunications for the last 23 years.

.

I know a little bit about what's been going on here tonight, I watched it when I was in the street as a police officer. And I think what affects me more than anything are the people that talk about the Constitution. I know what it is to arrest people, to take their liberties from them, believe me I never had any problem taking anybody's liberty that needed taking. But I also know what affect it has on people, especially for petty crimes. Especially sometimes when they're just held while something else is being investigated


111  Stevenson

.

until they can be moved on. And they think they're under arrest. Today pretty much they are. When I started out in this job, stopping them for ten minutes wasn't arresting them, and today if you talk to them and ask for ID you've pretty much arrested them.

.

But I want to talk about the Bill of Rights and the first Ten Amendments that make up the constitution in those Bill of Rights. There is probably nothing more sacred and I'm going to repeat it tonight because I've had some prepared notes. Sometimes a speaker that can't get into things without notes this is not one of them.

.

The Second Amendment couldn't be more precious to anybody, and everybody in this room. The people would no longer give up the First Amendment, the Fourth, Fifth or the Sixth Amendment. And why would the government ever want to tamper with the Second Amendment?


112  Stevenson

.

You just would never do such a thing. It is amazing to me that people don't understand one of the simplest sentences that have ever been written, which is that right to keep and bear arms, we heard repeated here a couple of times. Tonight I'm not going to read over that, but it talks about a well regulated malitia. It doesn't say anything about a regulated people. But it says the people can keep and bear arms. And I think that's absolutely a sacred right as part of the United States Constitution and certainly those first Ten Amendments.

.

I left Chicago, you heard this a couple times, I left Chicago on the 28th of December after visiting family there. Back to Ohare Airport to hear about the 500th homicide in the city of Chicago. No guns. Can't have a gun. Honest people can't have a gun. There are no permits. 500. Fortunately last month federal


113  Stevenson

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courts have instructed the state of Illinois, which will include the city of Chicago, but of course they think they're in a separate world, so we'll see how that works out. But they now have 160 days to come up with a carry conceal permit law in the State of Illinois.

.

I want to urge this Legislature, you've heard a lot night, I think there is a lot of people here who certainly have some pretty good ideas of where they're going to be voting tomorrow. They certainly know where this body stands tonight. And in deference to the gentleman, I guess he's now left, the last speaker, he got a little bit mixed up on his weapons. He served our country and he certainly has an opinion. And I thank everybody for letting him get that opinion out, maybe as a little bit mixed up as it was. I do want to cover one very disturbing part of this law and I want


114  Stevenson

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to start by saying this law needs to be totally repealed, period, end of case. I don't believe it's Constitutional in and of itself. I think it affects the Commerce clause and I believe it affects several of the amendments if you really read into this and read it carefully. But there is one I find very disturbing it's because I have friends that are combat veterans. It's very ill conceived with portions of the Mental Health Act or Alert as it's referred to in this law. It's too wide open. There is no way in God's good name that when that was written into this law, and the way it was written that there was any thought given to it with health care professionals and with people who know what they're talking about and how to handle things.

.

This law right now very well could affect not only hundreds, thousands of combat veterans and veterans in general ranging from World War II to present who


115  Stevenson

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seek help, and because they seek help and because some untrained individual that they seek help with says, I think this guy is a little strange and I think he's going to go off the deep end here. And he's maybe been a permit holder before he went into the military or after he was in the military or he simply owns a shotgun in this case to go bird hunting. Somebody is going to come and confiscate that gun. That's going to be one of the most egregious things that happens in this law and it needs to be repealed, period.

.

And in closing I would like to close with these remarks for anybody here, that I want to reach out to who's pre-disposed with some idea that they believe in this kind of an ill conceived law or that they think it should stay in place. I don't think it should be picked apart and I don't think anything needs to be corrected here and leave that over there. This needs to be


116  Stevenson

.

repealed. Needs to go back on the floor, it needs to spend its 10 months, its 15 months whatever it takes, if they're going to do anything, background checks I don't think too many people here are against it. I'm a law abiding citizens I have no problem with that. What I really have a problem with now is to buy a couple thousand rounds of ammunition I had to drive to Pennsylvania. That stopped me. I'm now a criminal. I keep pushing them in and they keep going until they get to the bottom. So if you're pre-disposed I would ask you with regard to the Second Amendment, what of the other 27 Amendments would you like to work on? What else would you like to change Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Anybody, whether it's state or federal government. What of the 27 would you? Would you ignore for instance the 14th and 15th Amendment? Which the 15th, if any of you have been reading


117  Steele

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the news, is part of the Supreme Court's calendar right now, it is being heard for the last several days. It has to do with the Voting Rights Act. Personally I don't want to see that change, I don't want to ever see that messed with. But would anybody want to see that done? We wouldn't stand for that. We don't want to stand for changing the Second Amendment. Thank you very much.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: John Steele. Daniel Irwin, you're up next.

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JOHN STEELE: I want to thank the Legislature for letting me speak, and a couple of you may remember a couple e-mails I sent you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Sure do, John.

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JOHN STEELE: Mr. Cuomo is fond of saying that if it saves one life it is worth it. Well, I say to Cuomo, the statistics show that nationwide we can argue up to one million lives are saved every year by the use of guns. And we can put this into context, that is less

.

118  Irwin

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than one percent of homicides in New York State was committed by any type of rifle. When we can compare to that knives, which is over 26 percent. So I wonder where the sudden urgency came from, Mr. Cuomo.

.

And I'm not going to belabor it anymore, everybody said a lot here. To me this law is unethical. The people that voted for it should be ashamed, they should hold their head down. It is illegal to the Second Amendment it's not only our right it's our duty to resist this law. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Daniel Irwin? Dan, still here? Keith Dewitt, you're up next.

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DANIEL IRWIN: This really has been nerve racking, I'm not picturing anybody naked, don't worry; an old trick.

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Everybody has pretty much said everything I have in my prepared statement so I'm not going to rehash anything. Is the district attorney here. Fitzpatrick here?


119  Irwin

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There is a question I would like to ask him.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the liability insurance they're trying to run? They want to have us --

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DANIEL IRWIN: I thought somebody mentioned that. Okay, I'll bring that one up then. Now, somebody did mention it, a thousand dollars a month for each gun or thousand dollars a year for each gun that you have to have.

.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Million dollars for liability.

.

CHAIRMAN McMAHON: For clarification on that issue, on our agenda team we have a resolution opposing that.

.

DANIEL IRWIN: All right, so I won't give you any questions. I'll leave you with some quotes. Going to ask you to guess who they were from. First, "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrained evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."


120  Irwin

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The second quote. "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself, they are the American people's liberty team and keystone under independence."

.

And a third, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquent, it is forced. And like fire is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Anybody know who said that?

.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Washington.

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DANIEL IRWIN: Thank you. A man who had to sell some of his property to take the first presidency of this country, George Washington. Last quote I'm going to leave you with is from Thomas Jefferson. "When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people we have liberty." Thank you very much.

.

CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Keith Dewitt. Ken Howe, you're up next.

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KEITH DEWITT: First of all, I've


121  Dewitt

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got to say I'm rather nervous about speaking in front of a group like this. I'm here to basically warn the County Legislature of the incredible liability adherence to this law is going to open us up to. In that the HIPAA violations mandated by Mr. Cuomo are violating federal law, and the county is going to be in the breeze, I was going to say something else but I won't, if Bob Long the DCS of Onondaga County should report anything that is reported to him about any client. This is privileged information.

.

It has been said that Mr. Cuomo has said that anyone who is reporting this kind of information because of state law will be absolved from all liability. No, it's the primacy clause to the Constitution means that if federal law says no and state law says yes, it's no. We are going to have to pay penalties for the governor's mistakes. If you think the Governor really


122  Dewitt

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cares about this, little thing called law, I would refer you to his good buddy Mayor Bloomberg, who has instituted mental health bench warrants. I don't know if you have heard this, I would refer you to last months New York Post, I know it is not a paragon of journalism. However read it I think it's on the 8th or the 18th. He has a squad of police in New York City that are being told to go out whenever somebody on an AOT order, which was discussed earlier, they can do a computer search and find if that patient has been purchasing their medications.

.

New York State has a computer database called psychy. It tracks controlled substances from pharmacies in the State of New York. What happens if somebody in New York City goes to New Jersey to buy his medicine because those are cheaper? This squad goes out finds the person and either tells them to check into a hospital, a psychiatric hospital


123  Howe

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or arrests them. So there is it is, the precedent is set, we are next. I urge you to please ratify this resolution.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: There are no other speakers scheduled after our next speaker, so if you wanted to say something I'm giving you the next three minutes to get up here and do it, thanks.

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KEN HOWE: Chairman of the Legislature, thank you, I will be brief. I will say something that has not been said yet. My name is Ken Howe, I'm from Jamesville, New York, I am a disabled veteran and I am not, not a gun owner. I am a businessman. But my grandfather who owned two successful businesses in the city of Syracuse, Meat Town Market on South Salina Street, Packing House Road Cafe when Armory Square was boarded up in a parking lot. I love the city of Syracuse, but I did not locate my business in the city of Syracuse for these reasons.


124  Chapman

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I am afraid that at their will and at their whim government will trample on the rights and pass laws that affect the operation of the community. I located my business in Dewitt. I came back to New York after living 14 years across the country. Maybe I made a mistake by coming back here and starting a business, if this is the environment that the Governor, with his open for business policy, is sending. So maybe I need to do what I did before, and what most of your kids have already done, and that is leave New York State. Thank you.

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Thank you all, any other speakers? Guy Chapman, Syracuse, New York.

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GUY CHAPMAN: Good evening, thank you for your time and your attention. It's been said before just briefly but I want to put a sharper point on it. The Second Amendment is not a hunting amendment. It was said eloquently about George Washington. All the Forefathers


125  Chapman

.

were very specific, they didn't mean a hunting party, they didn't mean secondary arms. There were rifle muskets which were cutting edge technology at the time, and it was designed to defend yourself from a government. As the older gentleman was stating, it's not just to take away the government, overthrow the government, it's a government that doesn't represent the people. And that's what it's for. This bill was brought in the dark of night, as has been said. The thing that hasn't been said is what's affected on the small business. There is several legal gun owners and businessmen that sell firearms in this state and locally. With the stroke of a pen a large inventory has been unsalable. These businessmen have not had any opportunity to have the state just buy this back. They have to bear the brunt themselves. It's possible that a million people will be laid off and businesses closed, and


126  Chapman

.

it's unreasonable. We have the toughest gun laws in the country as it is, and some of them, I believe all the gun owners believe we do need background checks, we do need some regulation. We don't need our rights infringed. This 7 round magazine is just a figment, as was pointed out it's a minuscule amount of guns that comply with that. This was to take away our guns or make us criminals. Both are wrong.

.

We're law abiding citizens, we don't need to be turned into criminals as it was stated. All of the heinous crimes that aren't even as serious as possessing one of these new horrific 10 round magazines, which is the smallest in the country. If I go an hour down the road to Pennsylvania I can buy a larger capacity magazine down there. We have already got restrictive laws, we don't need anymore. It's not going to keep us safe, it's not going to help us. Thank you for your time.


127  Chairman

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CHAIRMAN McMAHON: Any other speakers? Tomorrow at 1 o'clock is our voting session, there will be a vote on the resolution. I'm sure members of the body will deliberate on wording of that over the next few hours. Hopefully we'll see you all in attendance every month going forward. You can exert the same kind of passion at our regular procedural votes. So thank you. Is there any other business before this body from any members of the Legislature? (No response). Committee meeting is closed.

.

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-------------------------------------------

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C E R T I F I C A T E

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This is to certify that I am a Certified Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public in and for the State of New York, that I attended and reported the above entitled proceedings, that I have compared the foregoing with my original minutes taken therein and that it is a true and correct transcript thereof and all of the proceedings had therein.

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_______________________
John F. Drury, CSR, RPR
Dated: March 8, 2013

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* * *

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PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – MARCH 13, 2013

KEVIN HOLMQUIST, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Ryan, 1Mr. May

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dougherty

ALSO PRESENT:  Mr. Dudzinski, Chairman McMahon and see attached list

 

Chairman Holmquist called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.

 

1.     EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:

        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Position of Deputy Coordinator and Authorizing Reimbursement for Expenses Incurred in the Performance of their Duties

 

Chairman Holmquist noted no one from Emergency Management was present.  All of the positions are all volunteers.   

 

Mr. Ryan asked for the estimated dollar amount for reimbursement of expenses and what they entailed. Mrs. Stanczyk stated it is in the budget.  From memory, she estimates it to be about $2,000; will look into it and get back to Mr. Ryan with numbers.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     HILLBROOK:  James Czarniak, Director

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept State Division of Criminal Justice Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Probation and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($308,194)

 

1Mr. May arrived at the meeting.

 

Mr. Czarniak:

  • Funds used to support alternatives to detention – lessoning reliance on detention in general
  • No positions – simply a pass through; 2 contracts with 2 separate agencies, oversee contract

.

 A motion was made by Mrs. Tassone, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

.

The Chairman took the agenda out of order.  

 

4.     SHERIFF: Chief John Balloni

        a.     Create R.P. 01 407900 1916 Records Compliance Manager, Grade 31 @ $52,250-$69,266 Effective April 13, 2013

                Abolish R.P. 01 407930 1474 Deputy Sheriff Sgt. (Custody), Grade 5 - @ $56,720 - $60,579 effective April 13, 2013

Chief Balloni presented the following:

    Custody Sergeant                                           Civilian Records Manager*

Salary                    $60,579                                  Salary                    $52,250

Retirement             $13,191                                  Retirement             $10,555

FICA                     $  4,634                                  FICA                      $  3,997

Disability               $  2,852                                  Disability                $  2,460

Worker’s Comp      $     204                                 Worker’s Comp       $     176

Family Health         $16,551                                  Family Health         $12,806

Family Dental         $     746                                 Family Dental         $     746

Total                     $98,757                                  Total                     $82,989

                  Total Estimated Cost Savings       $15,767.94

  • In line with civilianization – less expensive for civilians to perform jobs outside of custody, leaving personnel trained for custody inside the department; saves training and annual dollars
  • Ongoing civilian retirement costs are less
  • Hiring someone with records management background; Lieutenant running records management was promoted to Captain

 

Mr. May asked what the top level scope of work would be for records management.  Chief Balloni stated the records management supervisor directly supervises the pistol permit unit, the identification unit, handles fingerprinting, Sheriff’s ID cards, and records which is the biggest part of their job.  They handle the Freedom of Information request and determine, in conjunction with the Law department, what is legal to go in and out. 

Mr. May stated they will be sorting the four-five foot stack of opt out request.  Chief Balloni responded they are currently utilizing personal on progressive rehabilitation to enter this information.  

In response to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni responded that they are doing fine but the requests continue to come in and have not slowed down.  

In response to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated the last day for request was May 15.  He added he was concerned with the snowbirds; may not be fully aware or submit their request on time. 

In response to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated the records manager handles all of their records, including crimes.  They have thousands of requests for copies of records, sent out to various offices, including district attorneys. 

Mr. Ryan asked if he was correct in stated that going through these records inhibits people from getting their pistol permits. The more manpower and research we put towards this, the better it helps to get through the back log.  Chief Balloni answered yes, but this position will just oversee the entire records department; not directly related to the speed at which the pistol permits will be received.  Mr. Ryan added it was not directly related but indirectly.  It is a win-win; saving money and helping the pistol permit process.  Chief Balloni agreed. If they moved another sworn person into the position, they would have to learn the job; know supervision but would have to learn about records, foils and etc.  In this case, we have someone in the number two position that has been working there for years and will probably be accepting this job.

In response to Mrs. Tassone, Chief Balloni stated they would be replacing the number two position.  Mrs. Tassone stated they would have to.  Chief Balloni added that they are currently doing both jobs.   

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        b.     New Mental Health Unit at Justice Center - Monthly Update

 

  • Meet with facilities
  • In process of writing RFP for architecture and engineering

        c.     Special Operations Facility - Monthly Update

 

  • Meet with Chief Fowler from Syracuse Police – on board, positive meeting, will be working with Chief Barrette
  • Invitation sent to Chief Barrette – meeting to discuss RFP; hire engineering firm already on contract or put out an RFP, whichever Facilities determines is best
  • Virtually every Police agency in Onondaga County is on board; looking at this as a joint venture
  • City allocates personnel towards this as does the Sheriff; both could save money, time and operate more efficiently working together, benefit from collaborative effort

In answer to the Chairman, Chief Balloni stated they are currently writing the RFP for the Mental Health, unit in cooperation with Facilities Management.  For the Special Operations Facility, they may use an already contracted firm, as discussed with Facilities Management.  The jail is a very specialized facility and if you are building a Mental Health unit you are talking about an even greater deal of specialization, almost requiring the RFP to go out to an outside firm.  A large portion of evidence and property is storage space; basically partially heated warehouse space, doesn’t require someone specialized in property and evidences.  This may be something that can be done with an existing firm; saves a lot of time.  

Chairman Holmquist stated the Special Operations Facility would serve Onondaga County and the Mental Health unit could be regional.  Chief Balloni agreed.  The Sheriff, in cooperation with Chief Gonzalez, has sent out letters to neighboring Sheriffs indicating the potential for working together on this unit.  They are also reaching out to adjoining counties.  It doesn’t make since to reach out any further than this, as people don’t want to transport prisoners long distance; huge costs.  Mr. Ryan stated it then becomes cost prohibitive.  Chief Balloni agreed.  It makes since to talk to the neighboring counties that have some sort of space need or crises.

In response to Mr. Ryan, Chief Balloni confirmed that Oswego County has a space problem and they have reached out to them. 

Mr. Ryan asked that he and/or the committee be notified when the meeting for the Special Operations Facility is to be held.  The City’s interest in participating is fantastic.  If there is a meeting for a collaborative effort, he would like to try to be there.  Chief Balloni agreed to let them know.

Mr. May stated he echoes Mr. Ryan’s comments and congratulated the Chief on getting all the agencies together for this project.  He asked if he were to look in a crystal ball, how would this work; departmental space or general storage of evidence.  Chief Balloni responded that some of this would be worked out at the meeting.  The reality is, we are all sharing one computer system for the numbering and classification of evidence; could all be intermingled and asked for by number.  The City may have a need for compartmentalization; has largest portion of evidence.  This is something they need to meet and discuss; determine best way to proceed.   

Mr. May asked if the Chief would have a guess in terms of scope, size, and resources, as to how much this would increase what the Onondaga County Sheriff’s department would need in way of a facility.  Chief Balloni responded, “No”.  Towns and villages would not sustainably increase the scope of this project but the City Police will.  There are a lot of ways to handle property and evidence; can have shelving units on what are basically railroad tracks, highly stacked.  You can insert and retrieve evidence with a tow motor; not increasing the footprint but may increase the height of the building.  This is an efficient use of space; can roll the shelving units together and open an isle when necessary to get to something.  Most of this is done with mechanics; can’t presume how much this will expand the scope.  This was all agreed upon years ago, everyone was on board.  Initially it was part of another project and was axed in budget processes.  Today we are back to where we were.  He doesn’t have a crystal ball but noted we have been here before.   

 

Mr. May stated it was good for them to understand this.  As they start looking at firmer options, they will have a since of where they are going.  Chief Balloni added, he hopes this doesn’t expand the costs of the program a huge amount, as he believes there are a lot of ways to do this.  Facilities mentioned going into the ground, rather than going up; benefits in terms of heating and cooling, as long as you aren’t creating a wet space that fills up with water when it rains. 

In answer to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated in speaking with the County Executive’s office his believes the county will build it.  There are potential savings between us and the City through efficiencies in scale.  At the very minimum, there are potential personnel savings that go many years into the future.  It is not going to change a huge amount of the costs for the towns because this is a very small part of their operation; pickup in efficiency, professional handlers with less evidential problems.  There are efficiencies to be gained throughout this project but the big money savings will be, if we and the City are in this together. 

Mr. Ryan stated that we need to be mindful of the fact that it may cost a little more upfront, to get better participation across the county.  He would be OK with this, knowing we may realize some long term benefits of those costs.  If we build a bigger facility, that is more efficient, this is a good thing; fewer personnel provides salary and benefit savings on the backend.  

Mr. Ryan stated getting participation around the county is good, getting participation with the City is even better but input from the DA’s office is imperative.  The preservation of evidence is the key to prosecuting any crime.  This facility absolutely must be built, being mindful of what the DA’s office needs to complete prosecution efficiently.  Chief Balloni added that he met personally with the District Attorney.  He is in favor and very supportive of this project; supplying a person to attend meetings to discuss handling of evidence.  Mr. Ryan stated this was good; wants to be sure the DA’s office is included in meetings.  Chief Balloni responded that they will be. 

Mrs. Tassone asked if there was a time line for numbers on the costs for the Mental Health unit.  Chief Balloni answered that the RFP will go out for an architectural engineering firm.  They will draw up designs based on the input from the National Institute of Corrections and then input from the State Commission of Corrections, who is our governing body.  The State Commission has the final yes or no.  We have to hire the firm and get them through those two hurdles.  Once we have a design, they can price it out and give options.  As he has said from the beginning, he will bring options to the table, rather than one set plan.  Mrs. Tassone asked if the state works quickly with them.  Chief Balloni responded that they are our governing body.  Generally the turn around on this kind of thing, isn’t horrendous but it is a process.  He will continue to keep the committee advised of their progress.  The goal is for the RFP to go out the end of April; aggressive in terms of getting everyone’s input. 

 

        d.     Pistol Permit Update

 

  • Received response from RFP for computer software – will discuss and work towards contract
  • A few light duty personnel assisting with processing of paperwork

 

In response to Chairman Holmquist, Chief Balloni stated there has been no major change in terms of the time frame for pistol permits.

Chairman Holmquist asked for the timeframe on the implementation of the software; understands RFP had to be retooled for the opt-out provision and so forth.  Chief Balloni responded that they will be recommending the awarding of the RFP.  This is a county process; will report back on the progress.  His people are eager to get this through the system; this is a significant burden on their office.  Chairman Holmquist stated it was also a top priority for the committee and the Legislature; everyone agrees and wants to give great service to the law abiding citizens.

Mr. May asked to add Correctional Health to the list of monthly updates.  One of the reasons the final appropriation was dragged along, was that they needed time to get their heads around what was happening. He believes they have established the need for a few items moving forward; an RFP and an understanding of how the plan is being used, and what it is costing us categorically.  This information will be needed in order to get out an RFP.  Updates would keep them apprised of what is happening and/or involve them in what is happening, so that an RFP can go out.  Resolving the problem sooner rather than later is important with budget coming up.  He believes budget coincides with the end of the contract or close to it.  Chief Balloni responded that it was close to it; actually ends sooner, in November.  Mr. May stated this is an important item to be discussing monthly, until this is resolved.  Chief Balloni advised the committee that he has been meeting with Management and Budget, Risk Management, Mental Health, the Health department, Corrections and the Sheriff’s office regularly on this.  They have been rewriting an RFP.  Risk Management has an actuary that has been working on potential ways to control costs, in terms of incentivizing some items and penalizing others; waiting on this input for the RFP process at this time.  They are actively moving forward and have made significant progress.  All of these items are once again, a process.  Mr. May stated he understands this and did not want to put him in the spot today, but this is something that we can’t get away from.  Chief Balloni added they are working on this weekly, realizing that they are under the gun on this also.     

.

In response to Mr. May, Chief Balloni stated that they are getting some canned reports.  When you describe a canned report in a contract, once it is generated, it may not be as helpful as thought.  They are saying they are meeting the contract, we are saying it doesn’t meet our needs.  This is the type of thing that we will make extremely clear, when we rewrite the RFP and contract.  This is probably the biggest purpose of their meetings; determine what mistakes were made on our part and how to hold the contractors feet to the fire.  Sometimes the way to do this is throw the contract out, since the terms aren’t being met.  In the interim you have nobody to provide health services or you are at battle with your own contractor; not an effective way to get disputes solved.  They are looking for other ways, through incentives and penalization, to get some of these important issues resolved.  These are not life and death issues, we have to have people in there, which is a life and death issue.    

.

Mr. May stated that he believes the Chief would agree that the incentives in the current contract were close to being pie in the sky, as evidenced by the costs; he would not go too far down that road.  He believes it is important to deal with the reality. The plan is one that is going to be selected against; people are going to use it, that’s just the way it is.  The costs that we see in the detail are in fact the costs that we are always going to have, even when we get those big claims.  The question is how do we fund it and make sure there are no big surprises, at the end of the year.  

.

Chief Balloni stated he wanted to address this; feels it is very important.  One of the reasons the County self-insures is that there are spikes; looking at costs over a long period of time.  There are years with individual cases that cost a lot of money but we eat those costs.  If we insure against it by building it into the contract, we are paying someone else to absorb that risk.  The choice is, do we charge the taxpayer more money upfront to level the payments or do we accept some risk because there are years when outside medical hits $400,000 and years when it hits $1.3 million.  Insurers will charge an average costs, plus build in the risk for the bigger years and their profit; going to costs the taxpayers and therefore this Legislature more in the budget from year to year, if we don’t absorb some of those risks.  As a budget person he believes we should take the risk, to do the right thing financially, in this area.  He would rather sit before the committee and explain an excessively high year, than take a $9 million dollar contract and turn it into a $10.9 million dollar contract; costing the taxpayers more money in the long run.  Mr. May stated he understands the sharing of the risk piece and agrees with him, based on his experience.  His point is that we need to make sure we are doing this the best way we can.  If we miss a mark by 20%, it is a big miss; an air ball from a financial standpoint Chief Balloni agreed.  Perhaps the air balls can be decreased but if we eliminate the County’s risk, we are going to be paying for that.  Mr. May stated he isn’t suggesting we do that, just need to better manage the risk;  information we have now should allow us to do that.  Chief Balloni agreed that we need better reports in order to manage the whole process. 

Chairman Holmquist stated this was a good topic that will be added to the list.  Chief Balloni responded that this was a tough topic.  None of this is easy with incentives and penalizations for outside medical; may not send someone out when they should, and we end up with a tragedy.  We will always be included in the lawsuit, even if we hire outside medical to provide these things.  Conversely, if there is no penalty or incentive for doing things in-house, everything will be sent out and the county will pay.  Not an easy thing to strike that balance in an RFP or contract after the fact.  This is what they have been struggling with.  He believes they are making progress; have the right players at the table, giving their input.  He added that they were welcome to attend the meetings. 

5.     A Local Law Regulating Secondhand Dealers and Repealing Local Law No. 3-1981 Regarding the Transfer of Precious Metals and Jewelry (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

 

Chairman McMahon:

  • Item was before the Legislature a couple of years ago, County Executive vetoed one form of the law
  • City of Syracuse and a number of villages have now adopted similar laws
  • Evidence shows pawn shops moving out of the City and into a town to avoid licensing requirements
  • Law helps bring regulatory system to the pawn shops with regard to precious metal and jewelry
  • Cause and effect between burglaries and/or break-ins and getting those items off the hands of criminals
  • Law will require a pawn shop to license - $100 fee, keep records, look at identification, and to hold items for 7 days; additional 72 hour waiting period if notified by Police department that transaction might be involved in a crime, committing a misdemeanor if fail to comply

 

Chairman McMahon stated this is an important piece of legislation.  With the rise in crime throughout the county, this will make it more difficult for criminals to offload the product.

Chairman Holmquist stated the devil was in the details, the last time they tried this.  There was a lot of discussion about legitimate second hand business owners that don’t want extra onerous obligations but would be willing to do something reasonable, to work with law enforcement on issues you mentioned.  He asked if they were consulted as part of this process, which has been ongoing for a while.  Chairman McMahon responded they were.  It is a little different from the City legislation; exemptions given to antique dealers and garage sales.  If someone has a garage sale every day they are not exempt.  

Chairman McMahon stated they don’t want to pass judgment on anyone in this business but currently there is no way to monitor if a business is legitimate or not; don’t know where they are getting the items they are exchanging and may not even keep track of their inventory.  It is not that they are illegitimate, but this will help to determine best industry practices locally for some sort of regulations. 

The advocacy for the County Executive to veto this in the past came mainly from the antique dealers, who were being penalized; believes this law addresses that.  Mr. May asked if any or all of the exemptions were included with the initial pass.  Chairman McMahon stated he did not believe there was any exemption for the antique dealers and garage sales were not really clarified in the past.

Mr. May stated they don’t want to bring regulations down on good law abiding business.  Conversely, something like this levels the playing field; more difficult for someone in this business to take the low road.  Chairman McMahon agreed.  In East Syracuse they passed legislation such as this and had a pawn shop go out of business a week later; could not comply with the law.  Legitimate businesses and our neighborhoods don’t need fly-by-nights coming in to make a quick buck.  

Chairman Holmquist stated as he recalls, the previous law was very strict and well intentioned.  A lot of people supported most of the components; this law is more acceptable overall.  This is a significant problem in the county.  Mr. May added from a crime standpoint.  Chairman Holmquist answered that law enforcement has their hands tied behind their back right now; can’t do anything.  This will help them a lot, though it’s not perfect.  

Mr. May reemphasized good law abiding citizens are currently at a disadvantage for those buying these types of metals. 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mrs. Tassone to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Funds for the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications, and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution ($4,959,000)

 

  • $3.8m for replacement of radio consoles in 911 center; part of analogue system before going to digital, some adjustments were made, need to move into digital console world, approaching end of service life, Motorola no longer carries product, will be unable to maintain
  • Planned as a capital project for 2014-2015, funds eradicate that need; no match, entire project paid for via grant
  • $1m to install advanced encryption software in law enforcement radios - currently have low end encryption, not used on all channels - used primarily for undercover, drug, or special operations, encryption standard currently in place proprietary in nature, need ability for all to communicate on same platform; federal government announced future grants for radio equipment will require nonproprietary feature sets in radios, saves us money in the long run, able to attract money in the future
  • $100k to produce field operations guide, issued to every police officer, firefighter and emergency medical, contains things they need to know for communications with the 911 center – important phone numbers, radio channels, how to interoperate with other services both within and outside the county; unable to produce guide for financial reasons for a number of years, funds allow for creation of high quality guide with weather resistant cover, updates easily inserted

Chairman Holmquist stated this was all good news and asked if this grant was something they just came upon or something that is out there.  Mr. Bleyle answered that he was here about a year ago with almost $400,000 that they received to narrowband their medical radio system.  In a way, this is a return of the surcharge money from wireless phones, being returned to us; would rather have the money to help offset some debt service for our radio system or to use as need be.  This was a competitive grant; part of interoperability money being set aside from the state from the wireless surcharge.  These are monies that they are supposed to be collected and returned to the county for the provision of 911 services.

In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Bleyle stated he believes the surcharge money as originally collected, was used to allow cell phone users to call 911; funds to be applied to allow that to occur.  They got money at some point, way back when; applied toward being able to build out the infrastructure so that when someone dialed 911 in Onondaga County, it would come back to us.  They also receive surcharge money every year that counts as revenue towards their operations; small amount in the area of $300,000.  When wireless calls first came on board the state was answering all those calls; going into the State Police.  The volume soon got to a point where they couldn’t manage them and those calls were handed off to the counties.  Unfortunately they did not hand off the surcharge revenue attached to them, to provide for someone to answer those calls.  

Mr. Ryan stated this came up in last year’s budget because there was a state law that was sponsored but not passed.  It would have been nice if it was passed; would have provided a revenue stream, where we now have a revenue gap.  It would have helped to offset some expenses that we had within the Sheriff’s budget last year.  It is a significant amount of money.  Mr. Bleyle stated there is additional law pending; not dead.  The 911 Coordinators Association is very aggressive in trying to convince them that all or a large share of that money needs to come back to the local counties.  The New York State Association of Counties is also heavily involved in this effort.  There is a lot of pressure to try and get that money.  Looking to the future with next generation 911, and the fact that radio systems are becoming more sophisticated, and all of the equipment we are using is computer based with a shorter shelf life, we are defiantly going to be looking at increased costs to provide 911 services overtime.  Everyone is anxious to get this revenue back, so that we can help to offset those costs.

In answer to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Bleyle stated we are part of the Central New York Interoperable Communications Consortium (NCYICC) and are constantly looking for ways to do things together in a way that might save money.  Our radio system is the hub for other counties; share mainframe.  This allows interoperable communications between counties but also saves them a significant amount of money; $1.5 million dollar piece of equipment, they did not have to build out, as a part of their system.  It also saves them yearly maintenance fees; $250,000 split five ways among the participating counties.  He submitted a Local Government Efficiency Grant application to the state on Monday.  They hope to be able to have a consultant come in and look at the participating counties that are part of SICG; find ways in which we might be able to save.  For example with next generation 911, perhaps only one set of servers are needed instead of each county having their own;  looking at up-to and including consolidation, would this save money and still maintain service levels. They applied for the grant last year but were turned down; just missed the cut off, meet with them to determine what could be done to strengthen the application.  They are very hopeful that they have strengthened their application and will be able to bring someone in to do a study of 911 operations.

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

.

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES - MARCH 14, 2012

DANNY J. LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Jordan, Mr. Ryan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Dudzinski, Mr. Shepard

ALSO PRESENT:  Also see attached list

 

Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:36 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Ryan to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     HEALTH:  Linda Karmen, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with the New York State Department of Health for the Transfer of Funds into an Escrow Account for the Payment of Early Intervention Services by the New York State Fiscal Agent

 

  • Early Intervention program is a State and federally mandated program for children from birth through age 2 who are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability; some are identified early on as having down syndrome or cerebral palsy, and they are automatically eligible for service
  • County is lead agency; process to oversee - children are referred, have to be evaluated for eligibility based on delay, and then services provided based on individual need
  • Local Health Department responsible for contracting with and paying providers - NYSHD overseen this
  • 2012 State budget; legislation passed that turns provision to NYSHD as of April 1st – NYSHD contracting with providers directly, and reimbursing the providers for services; also overseeing claims to third party insurance
  • Taking over everything through a fiscal agent; takes County out but still mandated to pay local cost which is 51% of balance after Medicaid and third party ins; remainder is shared with NYSHD
  • Resolution – authorizes CE to enter an agreement; NYSHD will set up escrow acct – County will be required to deposit money into account based on payment to providers; State will draw money out to pay providers
  • Providers paid upfront 100% of what is due; the County will pay 51% to the escrow account
  • Good news – County upfront cost not as great as before; County used to pay 100% then claim insurance to find balance; this escrow account is to provide funding for fiscal agent to pay provider County share
  • Actual agreement has not been finalized yet; will require County to make initial payment upfront based on anticipated costs based on last year’s costs
  • Appears it will be a monthly payment based on what was paid the month before to providers
  • Medicaid – 1/12th monthly payment but this will not be like that; this will be actual costs

 

Chairman Liedka stated it seems right now prior to the change, that this is a pretty tedious process for the County.  What will this take away from the County as far as manpower?  Are there any changes?  Ms. Karmen responded they do not know yet because it is a two year planning period, so there are still some back services and reconciliation that will need to be weeded out.  They do not know exactly what this will do to change the level of work, but it will reduce it. 

 

Ms. Karmen responded to Mr. Jordan that the 51% cost is actual services.  Ms. Wilson stated there is a gross amount providers should be paid for their services.  They have to file for third-party insurance first (Medicaid or commercial insurers), and then the State fiscal agent will pay the non-third-party piece (state and local dollars).  The current regulations require counties to pay the full cost (state and local), and then file for state aid.  The County is ultimately paying 51%.  Mr. Jordan asked how much the County is paying right now for the services, and how much will the County be paying when the new program is in place.  Ms. Wilson responded EI is currently at $7.5 million, and the local is approximately $1.8 million; large portion is Medicaid.  Chairman Liedka stated the net cost is not going to change, but the upfront cost will change; labor eventually should change.  Ms. Wilson commented the Health Department still has to authorize the services. 

 

Dr. Morrow stated the State is not ready for this.  It will be a difficult situation for families and providers.  The providers will be unhappy which will make families unhappy.  Dr. Morrow is anticipating that when it comes to the manpower issue, the Health Department has historically received EI administration grants to cover some of the costs of administering the program.  The grant has already been cut back, and the workload has not changed.  There are some counties that have cut their staff in anticipation of this but OCHD has not done that because things can get worse before they get better.  Dr. Morrow stated they felt it would be difficult to deal with this transition with fewer staff.  Ms. Wilson commented they still have to accept claims through the end of this month, and the state’s system is still not working accurately.  Chairman Liedka asked if they could come back months down the road and report back.  Dr. Morrow responded absolutely.  Dr. Morrow commented that once it is stabilized, then there is potential for lower work but it’s probably not a full body.  The state is very optimistic on how much this will decompress the local health departments.  The bottom line is that there will be an incredible amount of noise about this in the next month.  Ms. Wilson commented it will probably be in May because the providers get paid the month after the services were provided. 

 

Dr. Morrow said as an example Jowonio is a provider who operates on a month to month basis.  There were times in the past when they needed to make payroll, and asked the County for a check that day (i.e. prior to a long weekend).  The state may go to quarterly payments which will kill the providers.  Providers then cannot provide services so EI will be affected.  Dr. Morrow stated it is the County Health Department’s job to make sure EI services are provided and unaffected, and they will do whatever it takes.  Dr. Morrow warned that it will get worse before it gets better. 

 

Ms. Karmen said the state has not selected a fiscal agent yet, and the program is supposed to start on April 1st.  Ms. Karmen agreed with Mr. Jordan that it will be one state wide fiscal agent. 

 

Mr. Jordan said, as an aside, Albany did the same thing with the collection of child support, and it has been an absolute nightmare.  People make payments but they are not logged properly, and people receiving child support are going four to six weeks before receiving their first payment (essentially going one month or more without any child support even though it is getting paid).  Mr. Jordan stated he is all in favor of centralization and consolidation, but from a practical standpoint centralization and consolidation do not always increase efficiency; they can decrease efficiency.  Mr. Jordan believes sometimes it’s better to have local control. 

 

Dr. Morrow stated the intent behind this is to increase reimbursement to the state and local governments.

 

Ms. Karmen commented the change for providers is more than just how frequently they will be paid but they will have to claim to the third-party insurances.  The turnaround time for that has been a longer period of time versus the regularity of which the County has been paying them.  Mr. Jordan said it is very common that people are getting billed from the provider because the provider has not been paid by the insurance company or Medicare.  It turns out they did not get paid because they did not submit the proper paperwork or in the proper time frame.  Ms. Karmen responded that with EI it is prohibited in the regulations to bill parents for any services; no out of pocket charge.

 

Dr. Morrow agreed with Mr. Ryan that there will be a lag in reimbursement to providers such as Jowonio, when this new policy is implemented.  Dr. Morrow responded to Mr. Ryan that the state has said they will make direct payments.  Ms. Karmen commented that the Plan B is that the state health department will somehow take care of the payments in the interim.  Ms. Wilson stated the providers will be asked to put their services into an EI NYS system, and if there is no third-party insurance or Medicaid, then they will get paid fairly quickly.  When there is third-party or Medicaid involved, then providers will not get paid until those are paid; will see delay.  Mr. Ryan said in the meantime those providers that are counting on the reimbursement to run their program, will not be coming back.

 

Mr. Ryan asked what the problem is with staffing shortages.  Ms. Karmen responded because of the impact of this, statewide there is a concern for a loss of participating providers.  If they don’t get paid in a timely fashion, then they may decide not to do it anymore.  All of the counties are concerned there may not be providers, so the counties will not have the capacity to provide the services which are the county’s responsibility. 

 

Mr. Ryan requested a list of providers.  Ms. Karmen responded there are twelve to fifteen agencies, and she can provide a list.  Mr. Ryan stated if a provider (i.e. Jowonio) is unable to provide services to a child that needs early intervention, then this is a big problem.  The County will be left on the hook because there will not be money back from the state.  Ms. Karmen commented the County would eventually get it’s share back but the County will be left on the hook to find providers.  It is the County’s responsibility to ensure services are delivered.

 

Mr. Jordan stated that the state is paying it out, and the County will be reimbursed.  Ms. Karmen agreed with Mr. Jordan that the percentage (51%) the County is paying is the same.  Dr. Morrow commented the hope is the County’s cost will go down because of the system; intent to increase third-party reimbursement.

 

Mr. Ryan asked if there has been an increase in request for services.  Ms. Karmen stated it is stable if not decreasing over the last few years.  Ms. Wilson said it fluctuates.  There were 97 referrals in February versus 200 a year ago. 

 

Ms. Karmen agreed with Mr. Jordan that the amount of cases is dependent on what children need services.  It is somewhat tied to the population rate, but it cannot be predicted.  Ms. Serrao stated there was one change to the requirements in regards to speech.  It used to be that if a child was not qualifying but there was subjective data to support why the child needed services, then they would qualify; that has changed.  It has become extremely objective.  This may have impacted the numbers being lower.  Ms. Serrao agreed with Mr. Ryan that there was a change in requirements or eligibility.  Mr. Ryan asked do children need more services, but the system is more objective thus limiting the number of people receiving services.  Dr. Morrow commented the Parent Advocacy Group is very vocal in Albany.  There is not a huge likelihood in New York that they would compromise the care to children.  The Health Department is fortunate to have people who are informed and know where the line is.  Dr. Morrow does not believe they have come close to the line.  Ms. Serrao agrees.  Ms. Karmen commented families know what their children need, and are not afraid to advocate for them.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Informational:  Community Health Assessment and Strategic Plan - Dr. Morrow

 

  • 2011 – first time Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) reviewed/set guidelines for public health accreditation; great way to systematize – focus on quality improvement
  • Do it carefully/methodically; working on accreditation for year and a half; great team working on it; close to applying
  • 3 components to apply:  (1) strategic plan (2) community health assessment (3) community health improvement plan
  • Letter of content can’t be sent w/o these 3 docs; working on strategic plan – every 4 years required to do community health assessment; ensure problems found from community health assessment have implementation program
  • Do strategic plan then do CHA and CHIP when doing for state (required this year); over next few months will hear more about the department as they go to community and talk about assessment; round table in May
  • Have a lot of community input in assessment; over summer to fall will narrow down the CHIP; due Nov. 15th
  • Draft of strategic plan (Attachment No. 1); where they want to see Health Dept. go; draft because want to change
  • Review mission statement and simplified it - Improve the health of our community
  • Vision is loftier goal; Public Health is responsibility of community partners; local gov’t has say but everyone owns it - businesses, schools, media; really wanted to embrace this in vision statement and give broad definition of health
  • Adapted World Health Organizations definition in vision statement
  • Identify who the Health Dept. is by identifying core values; feedback from employees in Health Department
  • REACH:  respect, excellence, accountability, collaboration and health equity
  • Strategic Plan - how to better provide mission statement, and how to get to visions
  • 10 essential public health services; every Health Dept. should do; accreditation based on these 10 principles
  • 4 strategic priorities:  health protection, health improvement, organizational excellence and public engagement
  • Specific goals for each priority; hand out is the strategy for health dept. as whole; one example of how it trickles down
  • Publicly available is department goals and strategy; available within health dept. – What is Environmental Health going to do about this?  What is Healthy Families going to do about this?
  • (referencing Attachment No.1 page 2)
  • i.e. Goal 1 Reduce preventable Communicable Diseases; how will department do this?  Increase education about communicable diseases to key stakeholders
  • Environmental Health will increase education to those permitted facilities so restaurants know why it is they do what they do; why they are regulated the way they are; protect public
  • Healthy Families (how to decrease communicable diseases) – talk with health care providers and ramp up vaccination rates; vaccination rates are pretty good but could be better
  • Disease Control - develop different tools for people the department serves; outrageous rates of gonorrhea currently; be more proactive with education using social media and websites to get message out
  • Encourage Legislators to look through the plan and provide feedback about what the department is doing
  • Did internal and external analysis; looked at internal resources; looked at how the Affordable Care Act is going to impact public health in next five years
  • Benefit to County and community for accreditation - residents deserve to have an accredited Health Dept.
  • 11 health departments have been accredited in last couple weeks – Livingston County, NY was one; received a lot of funding and grants in development stage as pilots for process
  • Health Department wants credibility; want to tell community it meets a certain standard
  • Voluntary but national accreditation; Center of Forensic Sciences was reaccredited; really about proving to residents that County is a legit health department and wants to meet standards
  • At most recent national conferences it’s been made clear that accreditation will sooner rather than later determine eligibility for grants; Health Department receives about $10 million/year in grants
  • Like to do accreditation for community service but now pragmatic issue; want to maintain competitiveness with grants
  • Working on almost $1.5 million in grants this past week; lot of revenue that could be jeopardized in years to come
  • Accreditation does cost money; State Health offering to support first few; want to get there while there is support
  • Spending money to get accreditation for moral victory and legitimizes efforts, but also contingent on funding; don’t have documents but it is in writing at national conferences; future of public health

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jamie McNamara, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE MINUTES -  MARCH 25, 2013

DAVID KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Jordan, Mr. May, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin,

ALSO ATTENDING:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Dudzinski, Mrs. Rapp, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:50 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     HILLBROOKAndrew Sicherman, Commissioner

        a.    Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept State Division of Criminal Justice Funds for the Onondaga County

               Department of Probation and Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into Contracts to Implement this Resolution

              ($308,194)

  • Pass through money for alternatives to detention programing and alternatives to placement
  • Will fund Brief Family Strategic Therapy and Therapeutic Foster Care through Hillside and CCA

 A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

2.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONSBill Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Accept NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Funds for

                the Onondaga County Dept. of Emergency Communications, and Authorizing the Co. Executive to Enter into Contracts to

                Implement this Resolution ($4,959,000)

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.

 

Chairman Knapp said that this is great news – it will be used for items in the capital improvement plan; he applauded the department for getting this money and helping the bottom line.

Mr. Kilmartin asked how this will impact budgets in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  Mr. Bleyle said that in the 2014 capital improvement plan there was approximately $4 million to replace radio consoles.  This will eliminate the need to secure the replacements and it will reduce the maintenance that is paid on consoles now.  

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.     HEALTH:  Linda Karmen, Deputy Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into an Agreement with the NYS Dept. of Health for the Transfer of Funds into                 an Escrow Account for the Payment of the Early Intervention Services by the NYS Fiscal Agent

  • Allow for transfer of funds into an escrow account for payment of early intervention services
  • As of April 1st providers will sign agreements directly with NYS Dept. of Health; will contract with a fiscal agent who is going to be paying providers directly after they bill 3rd party insurance and Medicaid
  • Escrow account for the County to put its share of the cost of EIS so the State can pay providers

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.

Chairman Knapp said that there is no fiscal impact; County is still paying the same portion.  Mrs. Karmen agreed.  Chairman Knapp asked if we will lose any current providers.  Mrs. Karmen said it remains to be seen because the system is changing.  The payment will come in a different manner – they will have to claim for Medicaid and 3rd party insurance – there may be some delays which might affect cash flow.  It will still be the County’s responsibility to ensure that those services are available.

Mr. Jordan said that the County is fronting the money now and asked where the money comes from.  Mrs. Karmen said it comes from the Health Dept. budget.  In answer to Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Karmen explained that the Early Intervention Law says that the municipality is responsible for 100% payment. The County then gets reimbursement from the State – State share is 49%; the County is 51%.  The legislation requires that the counties create the escrow account.

Mr. May asked what efficiencies will be gained by this arrangement.  Mrs. Karmen said that it is hard to know that yet, as they will still be processing payments to the escrow account, will have to do reconciliation every two weeks, will still be responsible for claiming for our own services, and will continue to provide EIS coordination. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

        b.     Concurrence in the Application for a Local Government Efficiency Grant by Oneida County from the State of New York

                Division of Local Government Services

Ann Rooney, Deputy County Executive:

  • Request from Oneida Co – applying to NYS for Local Government Efficiency grant
  • A partnership between the two counties; Oneida will be the lead applicant, Onondaga is the co-applicant
  • Getting good feedback from State regarding partnership developed for medical examiner services
  • Oneida County would receive fund as they are paying all bills in regard to the collaboration
  • Oneida County pays the local match

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

4.     SHERIFFJohn Balloni, Chief

        a.     Create R.P. 01 407900 1916 Records Compliance Manager, Grade 31 @ $52,250-$69,266 Effective April 13, 2013

                Abolish R.P. 01 407930 1474 Deputy Sheriff Sgt. (Custody), Grade 5 - @ $56,720 - $60,579 effective April 13, 2013

  • Part of ongoing plan – where appropriate to civilianize positions
  • There are cost savings and often time there are individuals more qualified to do the job instead of moving police and custody deputy supervisors into the positions
  • Position will be held by a civilian who was 2nd in command at this location for years--very experienced and knowledgeable   
  • Net saving $15,767/year; civilians have a less expensive retirement program so savings go on indefinitely

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mr. May, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

       b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Appropriate Additional Funds for the New Pistol License Computer System                  ($26,350)

  • Budgeted over $70k for this system
  • RFP came back and the cost was $26k more
  • The system will be web enabled allowing most of the work involved for pistol permits; people can log in from home and fill in applications
  • The application won’t allow for users to mistakes
  • System it critical – still substantially backed up in the area
  • A civilian and sworn personnel are assigned to assist in this task

Mr. Jordan said that the implementation of PeopleSoft has heighted the risk that implementations of systems will be much higher than anticipated.  He asked if the $26,000 additional will include all of the cost of implementation.  Chief Balloni said that this is a small system designed to handle one specific niche area.  He has an understanding that it is difficult to implement any new system.  However, he believes that there will be no problem implementing this system over the long run--does not expect to come back to the legislature asking for additional funding. 

 

In answer to Mr. Jordan, Chief Balloni said that this system is more of a niche market, but is in use in a number of other states around the country.  It is not cutting edge technology; it has been used and is in service.  Mr. Jordan asked if it is an “out of the box” software.  Chief Balloni said that it is a COTS (commercial off the shelf) program; it will not need a lot of customizing.  However, every county is different in procedures, so there will be some tweaking.  Largely it can be done without re-writing the program. 

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked about a timeline and the process once the resolution passes. Chief Balloni said that it will go to Law for a contract and Purchasing to get it ordered, should take about a month.  Expect a couple month turnaround in getting it installed, getting people trained – should be 3 – 4 months by the time everything it is going.  Mr. Kilmartin asked if the Sheriff’s Dept. or the Law Dept. has had any communication with the County Court judges about the fact that there has been a substantial increase in the number of permit requests and the fact that the Sheriff’ Dept. might me processing them more quickly.  Chief Balloni said that the courts have been told that the Sheriff’s Dept. is going to a computer system and they would be trying to send them packets electronically.  He does not know if they will be able to receive them that way.  The State Police has also been notified and have said that they can’t receive the packets electronically yet.  Other counties are looking to improve their systems; pistol permits have been the same way for many years and there was not a great need to modernize them.  However, it makes sense and is a much better tracking system.  Currently, there is no way to tell how many pistol permits/licenses are in the county.  Many were done so far back in time and are in boxes.  People could still have legitimate licenses and have been dead for 10 years.  A modern method of managing this is needed.

 

Mr. May asked if there is a support agreement built into the pricing.  Chief Balloni said “no”, there will be an additional support cost every year.  The price includes everything for the first year.  Mr. May asked about the hardware.  Chief Balloni said it will probably be run through a county server.  There will be a kiosk system in the front of the Sheriff’s office where they can enter all of the information.  Mr. May asked if once implemented, will it support every dimension of service that the County provides with respect to permitting.  Chief Balloni said it will. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked if it has been updated to reflect the newest state law.  Chief Balloni said that it has.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Holmquist, second by Mr. May to approve this item.  AYES:  5; NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS: 1 (Williams); OUT OF ROOM:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

5.     PERSONNEL:  Peter Troiano, Commissioner

        a.     Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

6.     CORRECTION:  Marty Murphy, Senior Deputy County Attorney

        a.     Local Law Authorizing the Sale of County Property to Kenneth Hildreth and Denise A. Hildreth (Sponsored by Mr. Knapp)

Mr. Murphy:

  • Authorizing sale of property along Taylor Road, Jamesville, across from Jamesville Correctional facility

Chairman Knapp said that he was assured that the property will never be needed as part of the Jamesville Correctional facility.

 

Mr. Kilmartin asked if this item has gone through Law Dept., and if Dept. of Correction is perfectly comfortable with it.  Mr. Murphy said that it had.

 

Mr. May asked if there is a sense of what the property will be used for.  Mr. Murphy understands that the Hildreth’s will build a house on the property.  Approximately half of it is seasonal, and they won’t be able to build on all of it.  The Hildreth’s currently live in the area.

 

Mr. Jordan is concerned that the process was not appropriate.  Mr. Murphy said that all of the adjoining property owners were notified, as required to do in the Charter.  No one came forward to put in an offer.  Mr. Hildreth came to the County and the County determined that the land was not needed any more.  Mr. Jordan asked why there isn’t a procedure to put properties like this on the market, so that everybody has an opportunity to put an offer in on the properties. 

 

Mr. May agreed with Mr. Jordan.  He has no doubt that the process was presented to the letter of the law and was proper and appropriate, but is concerned, as every taxpayer has an interest in this property as a taxpayer in the county.  He feels there is an obligation to get it out there, before the County disposes of it. 

 

Mr. Murphy said that Mr. Hildreth had the property appraised by an appraiser that does work for the County so that the County was assured that there wasn’t anything wrong with the appraisal.  It was appraised at $77,550; Mr. Hildreth is offering more than the appraised amount. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked if the letter of the law is just to notify surrounding property owners.  Mr. Murphy said that it is per County Law.  There is also State Law that the County can’t give the property away.  The County can legally adopt a local law authorizing the sale to a particular individual.  Mr. Jordan asked if the law requires that an appraisal be done.  Mr. Murphy said that the law requires that the property cannot be given away.  To make sure it is not given away, they make sure there is an appraisal.  Chairman Knapp said that there is no county or state law that says it has to be advertised to everyone.  Mr. Marty agreed, not if a local law is adopted.

 

Mr. May asked about permissive referendum.  Mrs. Berger said that the local law provides for permissive referendum.  After the local law is adopted by the legislature and signed off by the County Executive, there is a period of 45 days before it can be filed with the State.  During that period of 45 days a petition can be gathered.  If enough signatures are collected, then it would go to a vote at the next general election.

 

Mr. Jordan said he would rather see it more marketed; feels there should be a standardized process that the property be offered for sale for anyone interested in the property. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Williams to approve this item.  AYES: 4 (Knapp, Kilmartin, Williams; Ervin); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  3 (Jordan, May, Holmquist).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

7.     MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET:   Steve Morgan, CFO

        a.     Providing for the Option of Contracting for Alternative Policies or Plans to Cover Claims from Medicare-Eligible Retired

                Employees and Spouses and Providing a Mechanism for Establishing a Contribution for Such Coverage

Mr. Morgan distributed a comparison document (see attachment a).

  • Authorization to provide health care options other than OnPoint to retirees post age 65
  • Competitive process was done to look at potentially using Medicare Advantage Plan for retirees ages 65 and over who are eligible for Medicare
  • Currently the primary coverage is Medicare and OnPoint is secondary
  • Medicare Advantage would cover all health care and pharmaceutical needs
  • Contract was awarded to MVP
  • The plan is richer than what OnPoint currently is – caps copays in pharmaceutical
  • Very little disruption to current retirees. 
  • Roughly 8 retirees that may not have a doctor in this network; will work through those issues with them

 

Mr. Jordan said he and Legislator Dougherty raised this issue a couple of years ago--glad to see that is has come to fruition.  Chairman Knapp said it was also discussed during the budget review.  Mr. Morgan said that there was $2.5 million savings factored into the 2013 budget

 

Mr. May said that the start date is July 1st; and asked if every employee will be notified that this is taking place.  Mr. Morgan said that the retirees that will be impacted would be notified – will do a mailing and hold information sessions over a couple week period -- allowing retirees the opportunity to come in and educate them on the plan. 

 

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Morgan said that the plan is not voluntary. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Mr. Jordan and Mr. May asked to be listed as co-sponsors.

 

        b.     Memorializing the Legislature and the Governor of the State of New York to Amend Article 29 of the NYS Law to Extend

                 the Authorization for Onondaga County to Impose the Additional One Percent Rate of Sales and Compensation Use Tax

                 and to Provide for the Allocation and Distribution of the Net Collections of said Additional Rate

Mr. Morgan:

  • Process to extend the additional 1% in sales tax; State has to approve it
  • Language in the proposed State budget to allow municipalities that have the additional 1% to continue with it, and not have to request its authorization every two years – does not know if it made the final budget.  If a municipality wanted to increase, they would still have to go through the process.

 In answer to Mr. Holmquist, Mr. Morgan said that there will be another piece of legislation in April and then again in July. 

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

8.     PURCHASE:

        a.     Revenue Contract Report

Mr. Carroll was not present to report.

 

9.     ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  Kevin McAuliffe, Hiscock & Barcley; Joe Goethe, Cameron; Michael Francis, Cameron

        a.     Approving an Alternative Allocation of Payments In Lieu of Taxes for the Project Known as “Township 5” Pursuant to

                General Municipal Law §858(15) and Authorizing the County Executive to Agree to Such Alternative Allocation

 

Mr. McAuliffe:

  • Requesting approval authorizing utilization of part of a PILOT payment negotiated through County IDA
  • Used for various infrastructure improvements around this project, Township 5, Town of Camillus
  • Cameron Group has worked on the project for years.  This is second go around – before economic downturn, they had been before West Genesee School District and Town of Camillus for approvals for deviation from standard county PILOT treatment for utilization for part of the proceeds to pay for infrastructure
  • Will be formally back in front of the town and school in near future; have a multiple meetings with them and they are on board

 

Mr. Goethe gave a power point presentation (on file with Clerk).

  • 2005 - Cameron Group acquired the property bordered by Hinsdale Road, Route 5, and Bennett Road, Camillus
  • Previously zoned for light industrial
  • Identified property as mixed used development – mixture of hosing, office, retail, food and entertainment
  • State DOT has asked them to build a town connector road parallel to Rt. 5, improve intersection at Hinsdale Rd. and Rt. 5; improve intersection at Milton Ave. & Hinsdale Rd. (railroad track through it); improve intersection at Bennett and Knowell Roads with new light interchange; improve intersection at Bennett and Rt. 5
  • Hindsdale, Bennett and Milton are County roads
  • Project or regional draw, net wealth generator for the market
  • Costco will have 4 stores in market place from Buffalo to Albany – committed to opening 110 days after being delivered a pad – this November
  • Also - Longhorn, Olive Garden, traditional retail, office over retail, 96 apartment units; theatre and bowling
  • Private investment of approx. $48 million; create 400-500 construction jobs; 500-600 full time permanent jobs
  • Sales tax revenue approx. $10 million; Costco averages in first year of opening $100 million in sales
  • Proposed PILOT $41 million
  • $127 million annual sales

 Mr. Jordan asked what the real property tax income is now on the property; Mr. Goethe said $50,000 for all taxing jurisdictions.

 

  • Proposing tax generation of $1.1 million, less approx. $300,000 in IDA bonds – split up amongst jurisdictions

 

Mr. McAuliffe:

  • Seeking variable rate – supported by Rural Development guarantee
  • Hoping Rural Development defines this as a rural property as they did 5 years ago; that designation has expired
  • At some point may lock rate it
  • Two caps noted in resolution:  $325k if PILOT payment is less than $1 million; cap would be $475k in any year in which the PILOT payment is more than $1 million
  • Distributed 3 scenarios of interest with principal bond of $6 million (see attachment b).  Variable rates over the last 23 years had not gone over 6%. 

Mr. Jordan said that given business climate in this state, programs like this are needed.  It is a great project and asked to be listed as a co-sponsor.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to approve this item. 

 

Mrs. Rapp asked what makes the property rural.  Mr. McAuliffe was unsure.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. McAuliffe said that there is a sewer system.  Mr. Goethe said that the pump station will hook into the town and they will extend it for Hindsdale Road residents.  Everything that they have done is in working with the new regulations for sewer and water.

 

Mr. Rapp asked why a variable rate is being sought.  Mr. McAuliffe said that at the outset it looked like that would be the best way to drive down the cost to the communities.  They are listening to the investment world also; may lock in a rate and not use variable.  In answer to Mrs. Rapp, Mr. McAuliffe said that the USDA guarantee is an interest rate enhancement--gives the ability to lower the interest rate whether fixed or variable.

 

Mr. Kilmartin seconded the motion.  He noted that this is a very good project providing property tax enhancements for town, county and school district.  The sales tax generated will bring in great deal or revenue for the county.  The jobs, long term and short, along with the retail, office and housing space will be a great enhancement for the county.

 

Chairman Knapp asked if there are concerns from the town or school district.  Mr. Goethe said that there aren’t any concerns – have both passed resolutions for a PILOT in 2008.  They are on the meeting agendas for the next two weeks to get new resolutions passed.  They are both fully supportive and behind the project.   Mr. McAuliffe said that procedurally before the IDA passes its resolution in April, they have to have the two supporting resolutions from the town and school, as well as the one from the county. The IDA will be the last to approve this PILOT.

 

Mrs. Ervin asked if the construction companies used will be local.  Mr. Goethe said that right now, Cameron is looking at Lanco, which is a local site contractor.  Most of the building trades will be local.  The tenants will do a lot of their own building.  Mrs. Ervin asked if there will be some diversity in the hiring.  Mr. McAuliffe said that part of the County’s resolution was that they endeavor to use best efforts to do that.  Ms. Smiley said that the OCIDA has a local access policy, which requires all projects of the agency to use local labor.  If not used, there has to be a reason and they have to come before the board for a waiver.  The minority hire follows along with the state requirements. 

 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

10.   WAYS & MEANS, MISC.

        a.     Memorializing the Support of this Legislature for Providing Cold War Veterans with a Life-Time Partial Exemption from

                Real Property Taxes as Proposed Before the NYS Senate (S.2731) (Sponsored by Mr. Jordan)

Mr. Jordan:

  • Legislature passed a Cold War Veterans exemption (2009) with exemptions expiring after 10 years
  • Has to be sponsored by locality
  • Can approve a 15% or 10% exemption with a cap.
  • If 10% exemption, the cap is $24,000; if 15% exemption, the cap is $36,000; if the individual is a disabled cold war veteran – cap can be $120,000
  • Approximately 1,200 veterans would qualify
  • Can’t piggyback on another exemption
  • This resolution makes the exemption permanent, which is how all of the other exemptions work
  • Treats the cold war exemption the same as the other veterans exemptions

 A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

         b.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Provide Funding for the Syracuse Jazz Fest at Jamesville Beach Park (Sponsored

                  by Mr. McMahon)

Mr. McMahon:

  • Executive initiative
  • In previous years Jazz Fest received additional funding; it was funded through DSS Jobs Plus through OCC
  • An audit was done by the Comptroller two years ago
  • Co. Executive’s office would like to fund Jazz Fest through a more appropriate channel; initial proposal was to use fund balance
  • This resolution uses ROT to help correct this – it is a festival, and event, with somewhat of a regional draw
  • Good way to fund Jazz Fest for this year; a bigger debate for 2014 is whether or not Jazz Fest needs this much County funding
  • Jazz Fest has been receiving this money for years; their business plan was with the assumption that they would receive this money; this is a cleaner way to do this

 Mr. May asked if there was any information available on this event or others that provides an indication if local people are attending or if there is any travel coming in for them.  This is a band aid and ROT is not a band aid.  If this needs to be funded, he is in favor of it.  It is a great event for the community and it does generate an economic impact.  Mr. Kilmartin said the Frank Malfitano has done research in the past; it is probably not finite but we could reach out to him for more details.

 

Mr. McMahon said that Jazz Fest is also supported through CRC (CNY Arts).  The County is a huge sponsor. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that the funding mechanism up until now has not been appropriate, certainly it is not transparent.  This is a good resolution to make the funding for Jazz Fest transparent.  There are certainly questions of whether the County continues to fund it or at what level should it be funded.

 

Mrs. Ervin said it is not just Jazz Fest; it is all of the festivals, parades – the question is how do we justify funding them going forward.  In this particular case, she agrees it should be funding right now, but going forward there needs to be a plan.  Chairman Knapp agreed.

 

Mr. May asked if it can be funded the right way now.  Mr. McMahon said they he doesn’t know if this is the right place to fund it now--could be depending on who is coming in and staying.  He has no problem with working with Mr. Morgan to figure out data and see if there are other places in the budget to fund it.  He does not want to fund it from fund balance.  Mr. May agreed, noting that it doesn’t solve the problem.  Mr. McMahon said it is an authorized agency so it could technically be funded from ROT or Parks Special Events.  Chairman McMahon said that it doesn’t have to be voted on today.  Mr. May said he would like it looked into a little more. 

 

Mr. Holmquist said that more time should be spent on ROT, as it is the Legislature’s responsibility and no one else’s.  Time should be spent on the whole ROT budget, because it is hit every year for different things, and the policy for ROT is at the Legislature, so the dialogue should be here.

 

Mrs. Rapp referred to for heads in beds.  When it was studied in years past, it was not a big number.  It could be turned over to CRC next year, so that it can be weighed and measured against other cultural events for the appropriate amount of funding.  It used to be funded for about $20,000; now it is $75,000.  On the other hand, it is a huge event and the community loves it. 

 

Mr. McMahon noted that the DSS budget would put $75,000 back into fund balance essentially at year’s end. 

 

Mr. Antonacci said he understood that the $75,000 that was going through DSS was being paid to OCC; he questioned if that is a different $75,000.  Mr. Morgan said “no, it is the same $75,000”.  Mr. Antonacci asked if they have been receiving this same $75,000 since his office did an audit two years ago.  Mr. Morgan said there was a year that it wasn’t in the budget and then the following year it was.

 

Ms. Williams asked how much was paid to the Jazz Fest last year.  Mr. Morgan said it was the $75,000 plus approximately $65,000 from CRC.  Ms. Williams asked how much it costs to hold the Jazz Fest.  Mr. McMahon said it is approximately $500,000.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item.  AYES:  6 (Knapp, Jordan, Holmquist, Kilmartin, Ervin, Williams):  NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (May).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        c.     Amending the 2013 County Budget to Provide for A Revolving Revenue Account for Hosting Concerts and Events at

                NBT Stadium ($500,000)

Mr. McMahon:

  • Item will be taken as a discussion, unless the Executive team is happy with the changes made to the resolution
  • Through lease negotiations with Chiefs and Alliance Bank Stadium, the idea was to make it more of a community based asset
  • The Chiefs don’t have money to put up and get community events there
  • County didn’t use any of the community days
  • There is a partnership with SMG, a leader in their industry throughout the country; they deal with bringing large venues to communities
  • The Executive team thought to create a revolving fund of money; SMG could then be charged to promote and bring events to NBT Stadium
  • A revolving pot of money is needed, because ticket sales can’t be used until the day of the event
  • To get Dave Mathews Band or another act like it, cash would have to be put up front
  • Concept would be that the pot of money would be used to draw on; it goes to the band; the fund gets replenished with ticket and refreshment sales from the event
  • Inconsistencies with the resolution proposed by the County Executive’s team – was going to be used for not just NBT Stadium, but for all parks.  SMG is not contracted to do any of that.  The language has been changed.
  • He was concerned that the $500,000 was going into a contract account, which was originally proposed.  An account was found at the Oncenter, created by the legislature, which is an appropriate use. 
  • Oversight–he questioned who will be responsible to make sure the money was taken out and brought back in.  Language was added so that the Co. Executive and the Chairman of the Legislature have to sign off on it. 

Mr. McMahon asked if the County Executive’s team is comfortable with the changes he made to the resolution.  Mr. Fisher said that they are fine with it.  The County Executive does think there are assets in the parks where concerts could be held.  Per the negotiated contract with SMG their concert promotion is only at the Oncenter facilities and County sponsored events at NBT Stadium.  They don’t have the ability to get involved at the other parks, i.e. Jamesville Beach or Onondaga Lake Park.  They might be tremendous venues someday for concerts.  Using the expertise of SMG to make better use of those County parks, might be something they will want to come back to the Legislature with.  Mr. McMahon agreed; noting that we have one the best park systems in the state.  At this point, he would be comfortable with getting a couple wins under our belts first.

 

Mr. Fisher said that they have looked at the accounting briefly, but does not know that they have thought it through yet.  Mr. Morgan asked if there is potential to the funding in the general fund or somewhere other than Parks.  Mr. McMahon said that he is open to it, as long as it is not in a contract account, where it could get used for another purpose.  Also, the oversight is very important – the money can’t get touched without the signatures of the legislative leadership and the county executive.  Mr. Morgan said that he believes the same goal can be accomplished with different accounting.

 

Mr. May asked if this would be voted on as proposed with the idea the accounting may be changed.  Mr. McMahon said that right now, this resolution would be voted on as is.  If Mr. Morgan comes back with a different account that could be used and everyone is comfortable, then that change could be made.  

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve this item. 

 

Mr. May said that this is a revolving fund – dollars in/dollars out.  It is creating a massive internal control for this kind of initiative.  At the end of the day, it is making great use of an Onondaga County Park, which he views as being underutilized at least within the contract that the County has for community use.   These types of events are what will lower property taxes in the long run.  It is not a bad spend to make initiative, at least on appearances right now. 

 

Mr. Jordan said that it is great idea, but would like to see this to be clear that it is a one-time deposit of funds.  Also, he would like to see some participation in the revenue from the events--that it gall back into the fund so maybe it can grow overtime, so that even larger events may be attracted.  Mr. McMahon said that it does; and the goal is to make money.  Mr. Jordan said that the resolution sounds like the revenues are going to be used to replenish the monies advanced, but not necessarily require deposit of additional revenues.  Mr. Morgan said that is the concept; the same as the Park’s Special Events fund.  Mr. Kilmartin suggested that the language could be tweaked in the next several days to reflect that prior to session.

 

Chairman Knapp said that there is currently a law on the books regarding concert promotion; he asked what this resolution does to the previous law.  Mr. McMahon said that it doesn’t impact it at all.  It is in the agreement already with SMG that they can do these events.  The 4th RESOLVED clause amends the prior resolution.

 

ADOPTED.  Ayes:  6 (Knapp, May, Holmquist, Kilmartin, Ervin, Williams); NOES:  0; ABSTENTIONS:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

11.   LAW:

        a.     Settlement of Claim

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan to enter into executive session to discuss the matter of C.O. Falter Construction Corporation vs. County of Onondaga.  Mrs. Ervin seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to exit executive session and enter regular session.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

Chairman Knapp noted for the record that no action was taken during executive session.

 

The following resolution was introduced:  A Resolution Calling a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Considering a Proposed Increase in Costs Related to the Improvements Made to the Facilities of the Wetzel Road Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sawmill Creek Pump Station within the Onondaga County Sanitary District.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature


 
 
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