- Councilman Sends Copy Of Documents To Mayor, City Council & Broome County Board of Elections, Calls For All Council Members To Prove Residency -
(CITY OF BINGHAMTON, NY) Councilman John Matzo (District 6) has released a report and photographs compiled by a local investigator that brings into question the residency of Councilwoman Lea Webb.
The report is written by Dennis Redner of Eagle Eye Private Investigations, LLC, of Binghamton. Redner is a retired investigator for the Binghamton Police Department.
The report, dating back to October 3, 2013, cites multiple attempts and difficulty in reaching Councilwoman Webb at her public address at 17 Yager St., Apt. 2 on the City's North Side. The investigator cites several instances where he traveled to the 17 Yager St. address, found no one home, left a business card with contact information and did not receive a response. The report details discussions with neighbors who said, "Webb doesn't live at this location and only uses this address for her City Council position," according to the report.
The report also states that all electric meters at 17 Yager Street, including Councilwoman Webb's, were red-tagged and shut off, except for an apartment belonging to Connie Joy. Mr. Redner spoke with Ms. Joy who stated, "she has lived at this location for 6 months and she has never seen Webb in or around the property," according to the report. Joy, who works for the landlord, stated "Webb is being evicted for non-payment because she owes approximately $4000 in rent," according to the report.
The investigator also provided photographs of a mailbox at 1207 Vestal Ave. on the South Side that lists the names "Lea Webb" and "Andrea Webb." 1207 Vestal Ave. is located in Councilman Matzo's district, on the opposite side of the City from District 3, the district Councilwoman Webb was elected to represent.
"Investigator Redner provided me with this report because it appears Ms. Webb is not living in the district she was elected to represent," said Councilman Matzo. "Our City Charter clearly states Councilpersons must live in the district they were elected to represent at all times, or they are subject to immediate removal. I am very concerned by the content of this report which appears to reveal that Councilwoman Webb has been living outside her district for quite some time. I have sent copies of the report to Mayor David and the Broome County Board of Elections for review. I am also asking all seven City Council members to bring documentation proving their residency to the Council work session on Sept. 2 so we can get to the bottom of this."
Mr. Redner came across the information about Councilwoman Webb’s residency as part of a separate investigation involving the Councilwoman, according to Councilman Matzo. After Mr. Redner tracked Councilwoman Webb to an address outside her council district, he recognized the apparent residency violation and reached out to Councilman Matzo as a community service.
The City of Binghamton Charter states:
ARTICLE II § C-13. Eligibility. [L.L. No. 1-1951, § 1; L.L. No. 3-1955, § 1; L.L. No. 4-1962, § 1; L.L. No. 1-1963,§ 1; L.L. No. 3-1966, § 2; L.L. No. 6-1977, § 1; L.L. No. 8-1977, § 1; L.L. No. 5-1978, § 1; Amended 1- 22-08 by Ord. No. 3-2008]
"No person shall be eligible for appointment or election to a City office or as a City employee, unless, at the time of his or her election or appointment, he or she is a bona fide resident of said City, nor to any ward office unless he or she shall be at the time a bona fide resident elector of the ward for which he or she is elected or appointed, nor to the office of Councilperson unless he or she shall be at the time a bona fide resident elector of the Councilmanic district for which he or she is elected or appointed; and whenever any elected official of said City shall cease to be a resident of said City or of the ward or of the Councilmanic district for which he or she was elected the office or position shall thereby become vacant; and whenever any other employee of said City shall cease to be a resident of the County of Broome the position shall thereby become vacant. Notwithstanding the residency provisions of this section, the Municipal Civil Service Commission of the City of Binghamton shall have the power to waive the residence requirements hereinabove set forth, for City employees, except elected officials..."