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SLOMINSKI PANEL QUERIES FREED ON 'GOFER' ROLE

Robert Freed, a Board of Elections whistle-blower, today began a second day of testimony before investigators for County Comptroller Alfreda Slominski.

Freed was the first witness in what Mrs. Slominski has promised will be a wide-ranging inquiry of the county's elections operation.

Freed, who is testifying with immunity, is being questioned about his allegations that he was paid by county taxpayers for 4 1/2 years to be a "gofer" for Republican officials.

Although Freed's charges target the GOP, Mrs. Slominski's investigators want to know whether board workers are expected to perform political work on county time. Freed was also questioned on other political practices at the board, including pressure on workers to purchase tickets to political fund-raisers.

The Slominski inquiry was formally requested Thursday by the County Legislature which unanimously voted for the comptroller to investigate the board and report to the lawmakers on by Sept. 1.

"Any time you have the investigative agencies in the county doing anything, it serves us much better to let them do their job without fanfare that can go on especially during election year," said Legislature Chairman Roger I. Blackwell.

Blackwell said the board of elections probe won unanimous support from lawmakers even though the board is controlled by leaders of the Democratic and Republican political parties and this is an election year.

"I don't think it's a question of of Republican or Democrat," said Blackwell. "There is an alleged problem someplace and it has to be looked at."

County Attorney Patrick H. NeMoyer said Freed is only the first of an undetermined number of witnesses who will be called to testify. He declined to identify others who may be subpoenaed.

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