A financial dispute between Lewis County legislators and Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli has put the owner of a small business in a real bind.
William F. Kiser operates Four Corners Trading Post at 3447 State Route 120 in Constableville. Sheriff’s Deputy Brett Kroniser ordered five long guns with sights and stocks from Mr. Kiser in May, totaling $10,000.
Such requests from the Sheriff’s Office had routinely been granted without question. But County Manager Ryan M. Piche told the department, “Not so fast.”
“Mr. Piche … put a hold on discretionary purchases by the sheriff until the fourth quarter of the budget year because the department’s overtime spending is, like last year, on target to be over budget by at least $100,000 at the end of the fiscal year,” a July 30 story in the Watertown Daily Times reported. “The budget officer did not know the guns had already been ordered at the time of the freeze.”
Understandably, Mr. Kiser doesn’t want to get caught in the middle of this stalemate between the sheriff and other county officials. However, he’s owed $10,000 and deserves to be paid now.
“Over the past eight years, Mr. Kiser said he has been working on cars for the Sheriff’s Department and has built up a relationship in which he was willing to order and provide the guns before receiving payment, although that is not his normal business model,” according to the story. “While he is aware of the standoff between the sheriff and the legislators, he says he ‘gets along with’ the people on both sides of the controversy and doesn’t appreciate being put in the middle, especially because it could affect his business.”
Mr. Kiser said that his business’s credit is at stake because he must pay his suppliers. So he recently filed a notice of claim with the Lewis County Court in case he needs to pursue legal action.
Given the overtime issue, Sheriff’s Office personnel from now on should wait to receive approval for orders before making purchases. But the department has already taken possession of the five long guns it ordered from Four Corners Trading Post, so the county owes Mr. Kiser $10,000 — now.
County officials shouldn’t leave a local business owner twisting in the wind while they work out their differences on a budget issue. They should pay their bill and let Mr. Kiser make good with his vendors.