Legislators give sheriff a clumsy challenge

To the editor:

On Sept. 6, Denise Raymo, a journalist for the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, reported that members of the Franklin County Legislature publicly questioned Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill and suggested they may make cuts to his budget.

The apparent reason for questioning Sheriff Mulverhill, the manner in which that questioning was performed and the subsequent threat to cut his budget should be of interest to all the residents of Franklin County.

The sheriff’s department was questioned by the Franklin County Legislature in response to a legislator from District 1 being stopped and arrested by a sheriff’s deputy on Aug. 15. State police had been called to assist, and after a roadside sobriety test, the legislator was charged with driving while ability impaired. That legislator has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Press-Republican article reports that Legislator Paul Maroun was shouting and hollering at Sheriff Mulverhill during the public meeting last week. The sheriff’s department made 33 vehicle and traffic stops since Jan. 1 of this year. Yet only this vehicle stop and outcome appears to have caught the attention, and ire, of the county board.

Sheriff Mulverhill is overwhelmingly supported by the residents of Franklin County. He has earned that continued support and respect by demonstrating integrity and fairness to everyone. Sheriff Mulverhill is an independently elected official of Franklin County, and he answers only to the county residents. He does not serve at the pleasure of the county board.

The reported behavior of Legislator Maroun, if accurate, is unacceptable. There is an expected standard of public decorum by our elected officials. Hollering, shouting and grandstanding falls far short. Public officials who cannot conduct the business of our county in a professional manner should resign. There is an appearance of impropriety by our county board when they took an interest in this specific arrest, and the subsequent threats of budget cuts to the sheriff’s department.

It is a time for cooler heads to prevail on the Franklin County Board of Legislators.

Raymond A. Scollin

Saranac Lake