The HV News Lies received rather colorful comments from a reader penned as 'Stewart Cullen' who apparenty is rather upset by the blog topics on this site. Readers can only guess who this reader is based upon the comments were made shortly after the last blog was posted about Yancy McArthur's stop sign caper. However, while this site was intended to provide information to allow the readers question the actions and behaviors of those who govern us, this reader is rather lacking in seeing the bigger picture. Rather than sparking a 'ah-ha' moment, they take defense at what was written and are rather vocal about it. Unfortunately individuals such as this are unable to achieve a certain sense of enlightenment as they have only tunnel vision. They sadly, are and never will be intellectuals.

One comment that was written on this page was  'As for the lawyer... A terrific improvement over the dunce we had before that cannot even turn over records to the new lawyer! His work belongs to the town and should be turned over. And if there is nothing to turn over, why the
large bills? Barking up the wrong tree (again) are you? Get a life!'



This 'terrific' lawyer has demonstrated he has little to no knowledge of municipal law, including violating law by advising the town board that the former bookkeeper can have credit for the time she was not employed as well as stating that the stop signs (that Yancy McArthur is so feverently trying to remove for unknown reasons) was authorized by resolution. The town lawyer should probably take a crash course in municipal law because traffic devices are maintained through local law as per NYS Title 8, Article 44, § 1682. Local  traffic-control  devices.  Local  authorities  in their  respective jurisdiction shall place and  maintain  such  traffic-control  devices,  conforming to the state manual and specifications, as they may  deem necessary to indicate and carry out the provisions of this  chapter  or  local 
traffic  ordinances,  orders,  rules  or  regulations  or  to  regulate, warn, or guide traffic, except that a city having a population  in excess  of  one  million  shall  conform  to  the  state  manual  and  specifications  only 
insofar  as such local authority in its discretion  deems practicable.


Crash course in municipal law: What's a difference between resolutions and local law?
Resolutions can simply be voted on by the town board, however the procedure for local law is more involved. A majority vote of the town board must carry the proposal, however the law must be filed with the Secretary of State, whereas resolution do not.

The town lawyer should have done his homework on this one OR he could have just looked on the Hyde Park website and found the meeting agenda for December 21, 2009 that stated local law was adopted.


 
 
The following e-mail was forwarded on from one of the town board members and the writer of this correspondence certainly did their research in making the claim that the town board is engaging in corrupt practices. For those who may be in need of a good municipal lawyer: DO NOT HIRE the attorney retained by the current town board because he apparently is not familiar with municipal law, nor would I suggest seeking the services of Joe Petito either.

Do note that individuals that are employed part-time and are laid off from employment are entitled to Unemployment benefits providing that they meet certain criteria per the Claimant Handbook available on http://labor.state.ny.us/unemploymentassistance.shtm. This translates to the supervisor signing a chek on a weekly basis to pay dollar for dollar the employee's unemployment pay. This could be equivalent to an additional hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on the base rate and length of the claim.


Dear  Town Board Members:

I am writing to you with respect to Resolution 1:23 – 3 OF 2012 that is on this evening’s agenda. While I recognize the importance of keeping the Town’s fiscal house in order, I wonder why distributing the work of the Senior Account Clerk to existing Town Hall employees was not first considered rather than adding another full  time position. I would think that there might be existing qualified individuals in Town Hall to pitch in to help. This would certainly be less costly than adding a full time employee with full benefits. Was this even considered?

If you have not evaluated the existing staffing levels it is certainly fiscally irresponsible to be adding new full time 
employees. With less than one month in office, I would think that the Board did not have time to effectively evaluate the existing staffing levels.

It is also my understanding that by expanding the position from part-time to full time you are laying off the current occupant  of the part-time position. Is this person entitled to unemployment benefits which must be paid by the Town in the future? As you may or may not 
know, the Town is self-insured for unemployment benefits. Is this cost considered in your budgeting?

It is more cost effective forthe Town to add a second part-time position rather than a full time employee  as part-time employees are not paid benefits. Was this considered, because  it certainly should have been?

I am puzzled by the resolution  because it fails to mention how much is being appropriated for the full  benefits for Ms. Lown. Former Town Councilman Bob Kampf raised this issue at  a prior board meeting and he
was not given an answer. Rather than being  transparent the Town Board is obfuscating the true cost of this employee  hire by leaving out the amount of benefits to be paid.

I am  very concerned because the resolution says, “WHEREAS, Joanne Lown’s time on  the Preferred Eligible List does not constitute a break in service, . . .” Does this mean that Ms. Lown will be paid a salary for
the nearly two years  that she was on the eligible list? If she is being paid a salary will her  employment benefits be deducted from that salary?

Why is Ms. Lown being paid  for not working for the Town? This is an illegal gift of Town funds to a  private individual for no work.

The statement that time on a  preferred eligible list is not a break in service does not comport with the  definition of continuous service found in the Town of Hyde Park Employee Handbook.

Continuous Service - Continuous Service shall mean uninterrupted service.  An authorized leave of absence without pay, or a resignation followed by reinstatement within one year following such resignation, shall not constitute an interruption of continuous service.  Vacation is earned only for monthly pay periods during which an employee is in full pay status for at least fifteen working days during such monthly pay period.

Even if Ms. Lown is not being paid a salary, the implication from the above quoted language is that she is getting credit for  the time she spent on the Preferred Eligible List. As the Town of Hyde Park  gives
employees credit for “Longevity” the resolution impliesthat Ms. Lown  is again being paid for doing nothing. The resolution that is before the board seems to be at odds with the plain language of the Town of Hyde 
Park Employee Handbook. The Employee Handbook provides that Longevity is given for CONSECUTIVE SERVICE, nothing is mentioned about being on a Preferred Eligible List. Is this Town Board saying that all former Town Employees that are on eligible lists are entitled to Longevity benefits for the time they are on those lists? This can be very costly to the Town in the future. I suggest that the resolution be amended to be crystal clear that for Longevity purposes, Ms. Lown’s service was not consecutive and the calculation should begin anew. To hold otherwise would set an expensive precedent for the Town and there appears to be no reason to find otherwise except to show favoritism to Ms. Lown. This is an illegal gift of Town funds to a private individual for no work.

The resolution should make clear that Ms. Lown is NOT
being  reinstated to her former position, she is being hired to fill a different  position. As such Ms. Lown should be considered to be a new hire.

Again, under the employee handbook  “Employees hired on or after 1/1/10 shall pay 15% of the health insurance premium (individual or family). If such employee selects a plan more expensive than the “base plan”, which is defined as the least expensive plan offered by the Town, the employee shall pay the difference between the base plan and the plan selected, in addition to the premium contribution specified above.” Ms. Lown is required to pay 15% of the health insurance premium if she Is hired as the Senior Account Clerk.

In conclusion, Resolution 1:23 – 3 OF 2012  should not be adopted. The Town of Hyde Park does NOT need  to hire another full time employee. The Town Board needs to look at existing  staffing levels to see if some of the duties of the Senior Account Clerk can  be distributed to existing personnel at no additional cost to the taxpayer.  If this investigation wasn’t done it should be. If another person is  required, the addition of a part-time employee rather than a full time employee would be more cost effective because part time employees don’t receive benefits.

I am quite dismayed that this Town Board is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the taxpayers by not disclosing how  much the benefits will cost. I also thinkhat the Town Board is attempting  to show favoritism to Ms. Lown by rejecting the Town of Hyde Park Employee  Handbook definition of continuous service and paying her a salary and  benefits for nearly two years when she was not working for the Town. This is  an illegal gift of Town funds to a private individual for no work.  Should the Board adopt this resolution I will pursue all remedies available to me, including but not limited to a tax-payer lawsuit, to have the Court overturn what I believe is an improper use of Town monies.

For all  this Board's talk about "fiscal responsibility" I find this action to be  most fiscally irresponsible.