Del Gallo claims his authority as Supervisor being undermined
Four town employees were returned to their previous positions after Rotterdam Town Supervisor Frank Del Gallo moved them for what he said was cross training.
The Rotterdam Town Board held a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 7, after Council members Matthew Martin and Wayne Calder had asked the supervisor for the meeting near the end of January. There were no agendas provided to the public at the beginning of the meeting and each resolution was first voted on to be added to the agenda before an actual vote on the resolution began.
In response to the Del Gallo’s move of four town employees, which were Donna Larsen from the Highway Department, Diane Martin from the Supervisor’s Office, Cindy Dumar from the Public Works Department and Mollie Collins from the Senior Center, a resolution was drafted to return the employees to their previous positions.
The supervisor manages the day to operations, said Del Gallo. `This is an unnecessary interference with the power of the supervisor. The issues raised in the resolution are subject to pending litigation, so as members of the town government we should act intelligently and as a unit in the face of a challenge.`
Godlewski abstained from the vote for the reasons previously mentioned by Del Gallo, whom joined Godlewski in abstaining from the vote. Councilwoman Nicola DiLeva said council members shouldn’t have to fight for what is right and employees should not be moved out of their position without a reason.
`This is not done for or against any groups that are a party in this,` said Calder. `All we are trying to do is right a wrong that was done without the majority of the board [approval].`
Calder said he wasn’t sure what the reasons for the moves were, but he didn’t think it was job performance based. Del Gallo did not restate why he moved her, which was at one point said to be for training purposes, but only stressed his role in running day-to-day operations.
`Residents deserve a government that works together for the best benefit of the town,` said Del Gallo. `Each branch of the town government has their own responsibility. It is not the Town Board’s responsibility to manage day-to-day administration functions of the town government. That is the role f the supervisor. It is important that the office of the town supervisor functions as authorized by law.`
Calder said it is not a good time for the town government as budgets are tightening and some departments are shrinking.
`I sure as heck don’t want to start of something like that with a negative impact with anybody in the town,` said Calder.
Later in the evening the Town Board also passed a resolution establishing operating policy and procedures for the Brass Rail eatery in the town’s Senior Center.
`If this was in place a long time ago it would have elevated a lot of problems that we had,` said DiLeva.
At a previous town board meeting grievances that were filed within the town relating to the employees at the Brass Rail were brought up during privilege of the floor.
Despite Godlewski’s disapproval, a resolution was passed for the town to start collecting Advance Life Support expenses from emergency services that work with the town.
`It doesn’t matter who is coming into the town, whoever answers the call we will get reimbursement,` said Calder. `I am not for losing any more money, so this is why I think it is here, this is why I know it is here.`
Godlewski thought issuing ALS collection contracts separately from getting bids for the future ambulance service provider would weaken the town’s position during negotiations.
`It seems foolish to split it out each group has said to this board that they are going to charge us a different way for when they recover the ALS fees,` said Godlewski.“