Manlius Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin, 52, was served a criminal summons Sept. 21 by the town of Manlius Police Department.
He was charged with violating the village's recycling law by allegedly removing returnables from blue bins placed outside residents' homes for trash pickup. The police launched an investigation after a formal complaint was made Aug. 24 by a village resident, whose name the police will not release. The investigation found enough information to ticket the mayor and turn it over to the court, said Captain Jason Cassalia.
The Eagle Bulletin, which was first to break the news, has attempted to contact Serafin for comment but he has not returned phone calls to date. However, in a Sept. 22 interview with the Syracuse Post Standard, Serafin was noted as saying that he believes the complaint was a politically motivated attack on him. He also said he has collected bottles and cans in village neighborhoods for about 10 years, using the $25 to $50 he'd collect a month to help treat his sick Labrador, Bacchus, who he said had died in late July. According to the Post's interview, Serafin said it was then that he began to phase out his collections.
Additionally, the self-employed graphic artist who was elected mayor in 2009, said most people knew he was picking up their returnables -- it became an avenue for interaction, to discuss ideas and village concerns.
In August, Serafin had been informed by a trustee that his actions were violating village code; up until that point, Serafin said he hadn't known he was in violation of a village ordinance.
Others have made informal complaints, too. Some have appeared on public forums and youtube.com, another in the form of a letter.
Town resident Gary Whitaker submitted a letter dated June 24 to Supervisor Ed Theobald, with the Manlius village trustees carbon copied.