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Head of Broome Land Bank Files Complaint Against Garnar

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The executive director of the Broome County Land Bank has filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights against Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

At issue is Garnar's alleged conduct toward director Margaret Scarinzi at a March 2 meeting. Scarinzi, a republican, was appointed as director in 2015 under the Preston administration.

Scarinzi alleges Garnar intimidated and berated her for not including him in the decision to add two new members to the Land Bank board. The Broome County Land Bank works to redevelop properties that are abandoned or foreclosed.

Scarinzi then went on to describe alleged exchanges between the two that she described as offensive and demeaning:

Jason asked, "so you're a County employee, right?" I answered yes. He said, "I'm the County Executive so ultimately I'm your boss. I guess I need to be more of a prick to get respect!"
I said, "the past administration didn't really support the land bank." Then Jason abruptly cut me off and (shaking his head) said, "
nah, I'm going to push back here. There's no way if Debbie or John Bernardo were sitting here you wouldn't have talked to them about increasing the Board size with them."

Garnar responded with the following statement:

“I take issue when county employees, who are paid for by taxpayer dollars, refuse to respond to requests to attend meetings and do not communicate. From a flooding event to balancing the budget, we work best when we communicate on important issues. My hope is that moving forward, the communication with the Land Bank will improve.”