Former Ticonderoga Town Highway Superintendent Arthur "Pat" Morrison won't have to serve any jail time for receiving kickbacks from suppliers.
Morrison appeared in Schroon Town Court recently and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, three years' probation, a $1,500 fine, and he must repay $40,000 to the town.
Morrison, 46, had pleaded guilty earlier this summer to misdemeanor official misconduct. He admitted he ordered $100,000 in overpriced chemical supplies as highway superintendent and accepted $2,000 in gift cards from the firm that sold them to the town.
The items included pallets of an ice-melt product and cleaning chemicals, for which he received gift cards usable at national retail stores.
The $40,000 in restitution covers the amount of supplies that couldn't be returned, along with the money the town lost by paying almost double the retail value of the materials.
Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy was assigned the case because of a conflict with the Essex County DA's Office.
Murphy said his office insisted that Morrison resign his job as part of the agreement; the superintendent resigned in May following his conviction.
"To me, once you have a position of trust or you're an elected official, you have this obligation to make sure you're not committing fraudulent activities," Murphy said. "That's why we insisted on a resignation. We don't often insist on people resigning unless they're elected officials."
Morrison cooperated with authorities following his 2009 arrest, he said.
Before his sentencing, he repaid $20,000 of the restitution.
"We (wanted) to get a chunk of money for the town immediately," Murphy said. "The rest will be paid over the period of probation supervision."
Morrison was in his first four-year term as highway superintendent when the crime occurred. The post will be on the ballot this fall for the remaining year of the term.
The town has also placed a special referendum on the ballot to make the highway superintendent position appointed instead of elected. The Ticonderoga Town Council was criticized by a state audit for not watching the Highway Department more closely, and town leaders say making the job an appointment would give them more control over what is now an autonomous position.
"The town has agreed to the disposition," Murphy said. "We would not do it without the victim's consent and cooperation. They (Town Council) were very insistent on a resignation. They wanted him convicted of a crime so it was on his record. They wanted the money in restitution."
The sentence, imposed by Schroon Justice Jean Strothenke, also stipulates that Morrison may not hold elected office in the future.
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