Sandy Frankel, Democratic candidate for Monroe County Executive, has joined a number of local Democrats in condemning county executive Maggie Brooks’ recent disciplinary actions against the county’s communications director, Justin Feasel, for allowing his wife to drive a county vehicle while intoxicated June 13.
Feasel’s wife was placed under arrest for DWI, after police pulled the vehicle over at 11:30 p.m that evening. He, and another unnamed county employee, had also been in the car at the time of her arrest.
Following the incident, Frankel and other Democrats have said Feasel received a “slap on the wrist” compared to Mike Bovay, a Democratic candidate for Monroe County Legislature, and former county social worker, who was fired by the county June 19, for incorrectly reporting his lunch break to his supervisor.
In Feasel’s case, Brooks suspended him, without pay, for one week, and withheld his use of county vehicles for 30 days.
However, according to Frankel, Feasel’s suspension was not enough. She released a statement June 30 calling on Brooks to fire Feasel.
“Where Maggie misses the mark is the fact that the treatment of this personnel matter contradicts the outcome in the DWI arrest, and later conviction of director of Aviation Susan Walsh several years ago,” Frankel stated. “At that time, Brooks condemned drinking and driving in a county vehicle, saying ‘there is no wiggle room in the policy about drinking and driving, especially when you’re driving a county vehicle.’ Following this incident, Walsh resigned her position as director of Aviation.”
Frankel has also called on her opponent, Republican candidate and current Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo, to comment on Brooks’ actions.
“I am interested to know how my opponent would handle this situation if it were up to her,” Frankel stated. “Does she think Justin Feasel should be fired?”
Dinolfo has released the following statement regarding the matter:
“Mr. Feasel’s actions are inexcusable and unacceptable. However, there is one county executive at a time, and the Brooks’ Administration is responsible for ensuring the appropriate disciplinary actions are taken. Under my leadership, I will hold all county employees to the highest standard. This includes reviewing, and making any changes necessary to the county’s Vehicle Use Policy, to ensure that it is cost effective, and only those employees who need take home vehicles have them.”
Brooks also released a statement last week, in response to similar accusations from Democrats, citing both issues as “personnel matters,” and accusing the Democrats of playing “bad politics.”