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Board brawls over town tech

"To the extent it was in the supervisor's budget, then arguably it was authorized by the Town Board. However, the issue is what item was authorized," he said.

The issue of broadcasting meetings via the Internet was brought up during the 2010 budgeting process, but was dropped due to cost and security concerns.

"There was an around-the-table decision not to go forward with it at that time," Hennessey said. "We don't have slush funds in town. ... This is 'spend as I say, and do what I want.'"

Messina maintains the use fits under the line item.

The town made the purchase under state contract, he continued, nullifying the need for a competitive bidding process. Staff still looked at three different companies.

"Their cost was competitive, the service they supplied was broader and the community satisfaction with the service was right on," Messina said of IQM2.

Legalities aside, Messina's four colleagues all objected to not being a part of the process.

Councilwoman Joann Dawson said she couldn't comment on the system itself because she doesn't know anything about it.

"There wasn't even a single e-mail from Sam that he was thinking of this," she said. "I'm in the dark; it's not a good place to be."

Councilman Kyle Kotary accused Messina of "operating in the shadows."

"Once again, Supervisor Messina thinks it appropriate to do town policy behind closed doors and by press release, announcing such a major decision not only without the necessary public discussions, Town Board input or approvals, but without even telling Town Board members about this or sharing his press release with town officials," he said.

Messina said he invited Hennessey to a meeting where there was a live demonstration of the system for town staff. Hennessey couldn't make the meeting due to a work conflict.

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