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B'ville: Mayor refuses to apologize

Constituents have questioned the mayor's participation in a recent event.

"It was brought to my attention that there are residents in this village that have an issue or concerns with my sponsorship and participation in the carp tournament," said Mayor Joseph Saraceni. "Not just me, but with my brother as well."

Saraceni and his brother, Trustee Anthony Saraceni, participated in the ACS Regional Carp Tournament held May 15 to 19 in the village of Baldwinsville under the sponsorship of Hills, Farm & Hills. Village Trustee Rick Presley said the two were in violation of the NYS Ethics Commission's report on gifts because the $450 team fee (provided by Hills, Farm & Hills) exceeded the $75 gift limit stated in the report.

"I believe clearly that's a violation of the NYS public officers law and NYS ethics law. The fact that you accepted a gift whose value was at least $450 and the fact that you accepted from Hills, Farm & Hills, which you appointed, you and your brother and the rest of this board, appointed to become the village's insurance carrier," Presley said. "You owe the village of Baldwinsville an apology."

The mayor said Hills, Farm & Hills had no intention of fielding a team, which the firm was entitled to as an event sponsor, so he felt it was an opportunity to promote Baldwinsville.

"It's important to point out that upon hearing that there appeared to be an impropriety, that I immediately submitted my entry fee," Saraceni said adding that at that point he began to research the issue.

The mayor read the code to the board noting that under some circumstances, entertainment from a disqualified source when participation is related to official duties is not in violation of the code. He added that one of his responsibilities as mayor includes promoting the village, which he said he did in the tournament through interviews with numerous media outlets.

"Not only was I asked to make this announcement, I was asked to apologize," Mayor Saraceni said in regard to the accusations. "I feel I have done nothing wrong. I will not apologize tonight. This, in my mind, is petty politics."

Presley restated his position.

"You shouldn't have accepted the gift," Presley said.

"I disagree," Saraceni said.

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