In the letter, Whitaker said he observed the mayor "rummaging" through his neighbor's recyclable bins, removing items and placing them in a bag which Serafin then placed in his Mercedes before going on.
"At a time when our leaders at all levels of government are rightfully coming under increasing scrutiny by the people, how can the mayor of a major community feel entitled to do things like this" Whitaker wrote. " If he makes poor personal decisions such as this, what other kind of decisions is he making?"
Whitaker described the mayor's actions to be an invasion of privacy and a display of personal judgment that defies description.
Serafin responded to Whitaker's letter in a June 30 e-mail sent to village trustees, with a statement that read, "while some might not understand it, it is not illegal nor does it reflect on my judgment or ability to serve the village of Manlius as mayor, as this resident has stated."
The mayor is scheduled to appear in court before Judge Joe Greenman at 7 p.m. Thursday Oct. 7.
The village recycling law mandates county-designated recyclables placed at or near curbs for collection purposes are the property of the village; no one else can collect or pick them up.