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Greene Co. Stop DWI budget passes, but controversy remains

Dec 20, 2018 1:00 pm
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media some Greene County officials are questioning how funding for its Stop DWI program is used, despite passage of the program's 2019 budget on Dec. 5. The projected appropriation for Stop DWI next year is $156,465, and is exclusively funded by the fines paid by drivers cited for impaired driving. While the majority of the Greene County Legislature Public Safety Committee voted "yes" on the spending plan, legislators Aidan O’Connor Jr., Democrat of Durham, and Lori Torgersen, Democrat of Windham, voting against the measure, citing a lack of transparency around the decision to pay an additional stipend to Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley, on top of his annual salary, out of program funds. They also took issue with the Stop DWI program’s failure to explore possible alternatives to incarceration. Seeley's base salary has been increased to $75,000; he now also receives $23,400 as the Stop DWI coordinator. “He is getting a stipend in addition to his stipend as sheriff,” O'Connor said. “This should not be the case. When his salary was increased to $75,000, they never reconsidered the DWI amount.” Seeley says the program is a very worthy one. "It provides our local police departments with DWI patrols, funds for probation, education in schools,” he said. Committee chair William Lawrence, a Republican who represents Cairo, said he expects the issue to be revisited next year. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.