For the second time in the past year, Citizens for Responsible Government has filed suit against Madison County and the Madison County Board of Supervisors. Group members say the action was prompted after members read an article about supervisor reimbursements in the Madison County editions of Eagle Newspapers earlier this year. Now they want taxpayers' money back.
On behalf of CRG, John F. Caezza and David N. Harrington assert that Madison County does not maintain a valid policy for meal reimbursement. Their Article 78 petition, filed Aug. 9 with the Madison County Clerk's Office and served personally upon County Attorney John Campanie Aug. 10, asserts that the county does not maintain a valid policy for meal reimbursement. The petition claims members have taken meal reimbursement under a policy for which a proper resolution has never been passed and alleges those meals are unannounced and frequently attended by only certain board members. CRG says these activities violate County Law section 153 and article 7 of the Public Officers Law.
"That, in fact, reimbursing members of its Board for local luncheons and dinners is an inappropriate expense and an improper use of public funds," the petition reads. "Based upon the foregoing, Petitioners believe that the Board of Supervisors is proceeding in a manner which is in excess of its jurisdiction and is in violation of lawful procedures, thus raising questions under section 7803 of the [Civil Practice Law and Rules], sub 2 and sub 3."
CRG spokespeople say they have had enough of business-as-usual at the county.
"We have gone to [Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors Rocco J.] DiVeronica to talk to him about these inefficiencies numerous times," Caezza said. "We mad+++e a presentation at an Administration and Oversight Committee meeting regarding the practices of meals and other reimbursements we felt were questionable. We've brought it up even more recently, and it needs to be responded to."