Cohocton Wind Watch: John Servo Letter to the Editor on Stacey Bottoni
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Monday, October 05, 2009

John Servo Letter to the Editor on Stacey Bottoni

On Tuesday, September 15th, Hornell police arrested Prattsburgh Town Councilwoman Stacey Bottoni at Wegmans in Hornell. While she was busy perpetrating this currently undisclosed behavior, Stacey was on the clock as a school bus driver. When she returned to her responsibilities, Stacey allegedly told the children and their parents she was late because she misplaced her keys.
Is whatever Stacey Bottoni did in Wegman's that serious? We don't know, but it's not like she stole from the bank. Still, if you or I did this, we'd probably lose our job and be forced to resign from the town board. Stacey's unfortunate behavior is a question of ethics in an elected town official, and THAT IS important. So is doing it while on the job, and allegedly covering it up by lying to the children and their parents.

When I attempted to raise this issue September 22nd at the Prattsburgh town board meeting, town supervisor Harold McConnell implemented a gag order. What supervisor McConnell prevented me from saying is this: we Americans are remarkably forgiving when it comes to the misdeeds of our elected officials. When you're caught, just tell the public what you did, admit it was wrong, and promise you'll mend your ways. Stacey's actions that fateful day are not, as Harold stated at Tuesday's town board meeting, just a "personal" matter. It is a question of ethics and honesty.

Whether this unfortunate event can be a positive, life-affirming experience for Stacey depends upon which road she chooses. The better way is to admit what she did, acknowledge that lying about it was wrong, take her medicine, and say she's changed. As a public official, we should expect no less. With frankness, humility, and more civil behavior at town board meetings, Stacey will regain our respect. We would also forgive her. The low road is to use political influence to make this legal problem "go away", then return to making unfounded personal attacks on citizens at town board meetings, sometimes with town supervisor McConnell's full support.

When you see Stacey Bottoni, please encourage her to take the right path. If Stacey takes the high road, she and town politics in Prattsburgh will be better for it.

John Servo
Prattsburgh, NY

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