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Carbone sounds off on vaccine distribution, independent investigation requests

James Brown
Republican Monroe County Legislature President Dr. Joe Carbone outside of his Irondequoit office in March 2020.

The Republican president of the Monroe County Legislature said the county health department should handle vaccine distribution itself. Currently each state is leading the charge in the rollout. 

Dr. Joe Carbone said on Tuesday that the state’s vaccine hotline is confusing residents and sometimes there is not enough vaccine for each appointment scheduled. 

When he was on the board at the Monroe County health department a few years ago, Carbone learned that there are protocols for distributing vaccines.

“It's been handled by local governments over the years,” said Carbone. “They’ve successfully handled measles, whooping cough, measles, mumps, meningitis, (and) other infectious diseases. We’ve got the experience.

“I think if it’s turned over to Monroe County it could be a lot more efficient,” continued Carbone.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello issued a statement in response. The Democrat said he’s grateful for the faith that county Republicans have in his administration and the health department, but said the problem isn’t state leadership, it's a lack of vaccine supply, which won’t change until production is ramped up. 

“Monroe County’s efforts and collaborations with New York State and the regional hub have been successful – we are in a position each week to administer every drop of vaccine we received and have developed a process to ensure essential workers who are eligible in Phases 1A and 1B continue to be vaccinated at our POD locations,” read the statement. “Monroe County and the Department of Public Health are fully committed and ready to expand our capacity as soon as availability of the vaccine from the federal government allows.”

Carbone also addressed allegations levied against Democrat County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell.

LaKaya Sinclair, 20, claims that Flagler-Mitchell harassed her last fall, sending her numerous unwanted text messages and at least one lewd photo. Last week, the Monroe County Democratic Caucus requested an independent review of the incident.

Flagler-Mitchell called it a mistake and says the photo was meant for his wife. He also claims he was being blackmailed for it.

Carbone said he’s grateful that Sinclair came forward but said now is not the time for a separate county review.

“I mean this is being investigated by the district attorney,” said Carbone. “This is being investigated by the Monroe County Board of Ethics. I mean it would be almost inappropriate for us to do anything right now.”

He said when the Monroe County District Attorney’s office and the ethics board make a decision, the legislature will step in, if necessary. 

“To make a decision on allegations,” continued Carbone. “that’s unethical.”

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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