Senator Stephen Saland made demands that Fire Companies thank him on outdoor signs leading up to Election Day as pay back for grants received.
The complaint was signed by Hudson City Democratic Committee Chair Victor Mendolia and Dutchess County Firefighter Lloyd Hamilton.
Mr. Mendolia came into possession of a letter from the Office of Fire Coordinator for Columbia County which stated that he was contacted by Senator Saland to request that the firehouses in Columbia County post a message on their outside signs indicating their support of Senator Saland in the upcoming election. The letter, dated Oct 11, 2010 on official county stationary, requested that a sign be posted in appreciation of Senator Saland's years of awarding them "grants and monies".
View the entire letter here.
Lloyd Hamilton is a volunteer firefighter with the Hillside Fire Department in Dutchess County. When the Hillside Fire Department posted "Firefighters for Saland" outside the Hillside Firehouse. Mr. Hamilton objected to the use of the sign, feeling that it was improper to use tax-payer owned property to support any candidate to the company President and Chief. He was told that it was done because the company received grants from Senator Saland and that this was "payback" for those grants. In 2008-2009 the Fire District received $25,000 in appropriations from Senator Saland.
View photos here.
The complaint by Mr. Mendolia and Mr. Hamilton states "In requesting that (fire companies) display signs bearing his name in appreciation for his years of support of grants, Senator Saland has used his official position to secure unwarranted privileges for himself, raised suspicion that he engaged in acts that violate his trust and has created a reasonable basis for improper influence.
The complaint has also been sent to the Columbia and Dutchess County Attorneys for further investigation.
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