Monroe County

We're examining the fractures in the local Democratic Party. For years, there's been discussion, both publicly and privately, about the battles in the party, and the lack of unity. At committee meetings last week, the frustrations bubbled over, resulting in a public letter condemning city councilman Adam McFadden for, among other things, race-based comments. But McFadden says the letter was filled with lies, and offers more examples of the under-handed behavior that has hurt the party. So can the Democrats heal?

Our guests:

  • Adam McFadden, Rochester City Councilman
  • Beatriz Lebron, leader of the 25th legislative district
  • Joe Rittler, communications director for Rachel Barnhart's campaign
  • Dawn Richardson, 25th legislative district committee member

Last week we sat down with Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo; now we sit down with two of the leading Democrats from the Monroe County Legislature.

Cindy Kaleh and Jim Sheppard discuss a range of issues related to county business: the budget; the recent hiring of a new leader for COMIDA; and more.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has named Bob Burns to be the county’s next Public Safety Director.

He is currently Monroe County’s Chief Probation Officer, a job he’s held since 1991.

He replaces David Moore, who recently was named to be the  Director of the Office of Public Integrity. 

Burns’ appointment has to be confirmed by the county legislature.

Dinolfo also named Larry Mattle to replace Burns as Chief Probation Officer.

We sit down with David Moore, the new director of the Office of Public Integrity for Monroe County. Moore was hired after a national search. He's had a long career in policing, but now he becomes a kind of county ethics cop.

We discuss how he plans to maintain his independence, how he views recent county events, and more.

The New York State Comptroller says that Monroe County is one of eight local governments in the state  that are under “significant fiscal stress.”

The phrase used by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, significant fiscal stress, is the highest designation in his review that describes 40 municipalities across the state as being fiscally stressed.

The comptroller’s monitoring system evaluates local governments on several financial indicators including their fund balance, cash on hand and patterns of operating deficits.

The union representing about 1,800 Monroe County employees says they have reached a tentative agreement with the county.

The Civil Service Employees Association says the collective bargaining agreement has been reached following “years of contentious negotiations.”

The CSEA says details will not be released until county employees have reviewed the specifics of the proposals and not until after a ratification vote which is scheduled for later this month.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has named  Jeff Adair to be the Director of the county's planning and development department; he will also function as the county's chief economic development officer.

Dinolfo had announced earlier this year there would be a nationwide search for the position which will also include Adair acting as executive director for COMIDA, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency.

Adair is a former president of the county legislature; The Republican was term limited and could not run for re-election last year.

When Cheryl Dinolfo was Monroe County Clerk, did she neglect her duty to help gun owners who wanted privacy?

Adam Bello, the current clerk, told the Democrat & Chronicle that there are at least 13,000 and as many as 20,000 opt-out forms just sitting in file cabinets, unprocessed, dating back to 2013. "Opting out" means the pistol permit holder wants to shield their name and address from being publicly disclosed. Other counties processed the requests, but apparently, Monroe County did not.

We discuss what this means for gun owners and the SAFE Act with our guests:

New Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello joins us in studio. He was immediately thrust into a political controversy when local GOP chairman Bill Reilich attacked Bello's leadership in Irondequoit and, namely, the I-Square project.

Reilich claims I-Square is "failing." This is news to I-Square owners Mike and Wendy Nolan, who claim to be on time with all of their payments, meeting hiring targets, and generally succeeding. So what gives? Reilich has not released any evidence that I-Square is failing, but claims he has been told by county sources that there problems. Nolan says this is an attack on a private business. Bello explains what he knows; we also talk to Bello about his new role in county government. We've reached out to other involved parties. As of show time, Bill Reilich did not respond to invitations to join the discussion. Our guests:

  • Adam Bello, Irondequoit Town Supervisor and new Monroe County Clerk
  • Mike and Wendy Nolan, I-Square owners

Click here to read more about the controversy and view statements from COMIDA and Monroe County Republican Committee Chairman Bill Reilich.

We discuss the plea deal related to an LDC case made by Bob Wiesner, former security director for the Monroe County Water Authority and husband of former County Executive Maggie Brooks.

The story raises continued questions about ethics in county government. Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has issued a proposal to create an Office of Public Integrity, but some say it's not enough, since the proposal would allow Dinolfo to appoint and fire the director of the office. Our guests discuss what an ethics office should look like. In studio:

  • David Riley, civic engagement reporter, Democrat and Chronicle
  • James Sheppard, Monroe County legislator and former director of the City of Rochester's Office of Public Integrity

*Correction: The County Legislature will vote on the County Executive's proposal in March, not on Tuesday, February 9, as indicated in the podcast.