DA: Elections Commissioner driving Uber ‘seems inappropriate,’ but defends comptroller playing golf

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — From driving for Uber to playing golf, two high-level Onondaga County leaders are facing scrutiny for how they’re spending their work days.

Thursday, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick shared how he feels about the controversy.

It started on Monday, when Onondaga County Comptroller Matt Beadnell released results of an audit that began from a phone call tip claiming that Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny was driving for driving Uber and Lyft at the same time he was supposed to be working for the county.

The audit found 94 hours worth of Uber and Lyft driving at the same time the Board of Elections Office is open.

Czarny claims his hours are more flexible than that of the listed workday, and that, including nights and weekends, he works far more than the required 35 hours per week.

“I don’t know. It seems inappropriate, doesn’t it?” asked Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick. “A guy working full time is also working for Uber. Is that criminal? I have no idea. I don’t know. I don’t know what the terms of his employment are.”

Fitzpatrick’s criminal investigation into Czarny will reveal those answers.

The DA says Czarny has hired a lawyer and is being cooperative in the investigation.

Fitzpatrick says, “He has indicated when the time is right, he is more than willing to come talk to us. That bodes well for him.”

While the DA isn’t sure of the Czarny accusations, he is sure that he has no problem with Comptroller Matt Beadnell taking an afternoon off to play golf.

Beadnell has been criticized, by Czarny defenders, of playing golf during work hours the day after he released his audit results.

Fitzpatrick says, “Optically, probably not the smartest thing to do, but what difference does it make?”

Fitzpatrick continues his defense, drawing parallels to how his own office operates.

He says, “When somebody finishes a trial and says: ‘Hey boss, can I take an afternoon off?’ – I don’t hesitate. They don’t have to ask me. Does that mean they’re stealing from the taxpayers? Of course not.”

Fitzpatrick hopes, at the very least, the county develops more clear work hours.

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