Sixteen of 19 sitting members of the Madison County Board of Supervisors voted last week against a resolution to send Captain Matthew Episcopo of the Madison County Sheriff's Office to an out-of-state conference. After members of the Criminal Justice/Public Safety/Telecommunications and Finance, Ways and Means committees voted to move the resolution forward to the full Board of Supervisors, every member of those committees voted against it when it hit the floor.
Only supervisors Walter Jaquay (R -- Hamilton), Rocco J. DiVeronica (R,C -- Lenox) and Alexander Stepanski (R -- Stockbridge) with 365 of the 1,500 possible weighted votes favored the travel request at the Sept. 9 meeting.
Supervisor Dan Degear (R -- DeRuyter) sparked the discussion, asking why the county would send Episcopo to training for a technology not currently in use by the department.
"It's something futuristic," said Supervisor Darrin P. Ball (R,I -- Lincoln), who chairs the county's Criminal Justice/Public Safety/Telecommunications Committee.
Ball said the technology is something that would in the future allow officers to become more efficient in their work, such as permitting them to perform identification verification from the field.
In recent meetings of the criminal justice and finance committees, sheriff's department officials indicated the four-day conference was 100-percent reimbursable, having no impact on county taxpayers. Ball said regardless of that fact, all grant money is coming from taxpayers somewhere.
"Just because a committee votes to move something to the full board, doesn't necessarily mean they support it," Bargabos said. "It just means we feel there is merit to prompting more discussion on the matter, opening a subject up for debate by the full board. Sometimes we can do that in a committee of the whole, sometimes on the floor."
Bargabos said this particular topic -- that of out-of-state travel -- has been the subject of much discussion.