Arkport residents critical of state police tactics

Jen Carpenter

Some Arkport residents and area officials are concerned with the way state police treated those watching Monday as items were removed from village hall.

It was confirmed Monday night that village Clerk Margaret Horan - who has been the center of much controversy in the village - has officially resigned. Monday evening, residents and officials claim Horan took a large television and file cabinets from the village hall.

Horan called state police to the scene, and troopers photocopied the licenses of some of those watching from the parking lot, including Trustee Marianne Matacale. Matacale said troopers would not tell her what the complaint was, but said they were going to call the Steuben County District Attorney's office Tuesday.

A representative from the District Attorney's office could not be reached for comment this morning. Matacale said she has not heard anything new from law enforcement personnel. Trooper Mark Cleveland, with the Bath-based state police, said Tuesday an investigation is still ongoing, and troopers were called to the village hall to handle a harassment complaint.

Matacale previously said she was accused of vigilantism, and felt her personal security and the village's security had been breached.

Matacale pointed out an excerpt from Village Law section 4-412, which states, “In addition to any other powers conferred upon villages, the Board of Trustees of a village shall have management of village property and finances, may take all measures and do all acts...which shall be deemed expedient or desirable for the good government of the village, its management and business, the protection of its property.”

“The law is very clear and it delineates my responsibility,” she said. “It was black and white to me, there was no gray area. I was treated like a criminal and I do take issue with that.”

Matacale said she hopes Arkport Mayor A.J. Patti will inform the taxpayers as to what's going on sooner rather than later.

“There's a great volume of phone calls I'm taking by angry residents and taxpayers wanting to know when the mayor is going to stop covering for the clerk, and I don't have an answer,” she said.

Matacale said she left a message with village Attorney Brian Schu Monday and has not yet received a response. She said the taxpayers deserve an answer, as they're paying the attorney to protect their interest, not that of the village clerk. Schu could not be reached for comment this morning.

Hornellsville town Supervisor Ken Isaman recalls a similar situation that occurred at the town hall. Isaman said the town had three large safes it put up for bid.

“One of our employees was high bidder on one of the safes,” he said.

Isaman said the employee had permission to remove the safe on a weekend. However, he said, a neighbor saw a flatbed truck used to remove the safe, became concerned and contacted the state police.

“The female trooper halted everything,” he said.

Isaman said until the trooper could reach him to verify the employee had permission to remove the safe, nobody at the scene was allowed to leave or contact him.

“Everything was frozen until she (the trooper) contacted me directly,” he said.

Isaman said the scene at the town hall should have paralleled Monday's incident at village hall. He said it was “curious circumstances” for a resigned employee to be in the building with family members.

“I don't know why that scene wasn't frozen next door,” he added.