County Comptroller: Elections Commissioner Drove for Ride Sharing Services on County Time

Sep 9, 2019

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny demonstrates the new poll pads earlier this summer.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

Onondaga County’s Democratic Elections Commissioner has been charged with driving for ride sharing services during county business hours.  A tip from an outside source back in March claimed Dustin Czarny was driving for Uber and Lyft. 

After investigating, Onondaga County Comptroller Matthew Beadnell says his office is here to ensure tax dollars are spent properly.

"When he should have been working for us as a taxpayer, he was out working for himself earning an extra income during a time when we're paying his salary.  So, I'm concerned."

Beadnell describes Czarny’s job as a full-time position in which he is expected to work during regular business hours and is not eligible for comp time.  Beadnell got over 300 pages of records from Uber and Lyft that show Czarny drove 94 hours for the companies during regular county business hours within the past eighteen months.  The time spent driving translates to over $5,000 of salary on county time.  County business hours are 8:30 am 4:30 pm, but Czarny claims his workday has always been flexible.

County Comptroller Matthew Beadnell explains his findings Monday.
Credit Chris Bolt / WAER-FM 88.3

"I routinely 45, 50, 60 hours a week, many times working nights and weekends.  There's been flexibility in this job since my entire time here.  I don't think anyone in the community who knows my work believes I work an 8:30 to 4:30 job."

Czarny has been commissioner since being appointed in 2013.  Beadnell states the comptroller’s office is here to present the facts and then turn them over to the County Executive, District Attorney, County Legislature and the Attorney General.  DA Bill Fitzpatrick says in a release he is investigating, but would not comment about any pending charges. 

Documents showing when Czarny was providing rides during county business hours.
Credit Chris Bolt / WAER-FM 88.3