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COLONIE: EMT settles out of court

Zilgme stated that he still believes the content of the e-mails to be in violation of federal HIPAA regulations.

Latham resident Ken Champagne called for Zilgme's resignation at the meeting following his apology. Zilgme said he intends to remain at his post.

The town response to the settlement has triggered feedback from Gardner and the attorney who represented Skerker and Gardner, Kevin Luibrand.

"The settlement speaks volumes about the violations of the town by way of Hugh Skerker and Bill Gardner's rights. What the town did, no one can characterize as a mistake. No excuse that has been offered up has any validity," said Luibrand.

The $225,000 settlement covers Skerker's legal expenses.

The town sent "phony criminal subpoenas" in order to get Time Warner to comply with a "phony criminal investigation," Luibrand added. From the beginning, the issuance of the documents never made mention of HIPAA violations, and they intentionally evaded judicial overview by having the results of the subpoenas sent directly to the town attorney's office rather than town court, he said.

"They committed crimes," said Gardner. "In the depositions, they admit their guilt. Arnis, Michelle and (Joyce) Tarantino (the town's human resource director) should be fired, not resign. And after (Town Supervisor) Mary (Brizzell) fires them, she should resign."

Gardner plans to file a formal complaint with the state Bar Association seeking to have the lawyers disbarred. He also plans to continue to call for the Albany County District Attorney's Office to begin a criminal investigation of the town's actions, he said. After more than two years of calling on the office, it has been unresponsive, he said.

Zilgme responded to Gardner's call for District Attorney intervention by reminding town board members that members of the office had already spoken with town officials two and a half years ago, and "nothing came of it," he said.

The $225,000 settlement will be covered by the town's insurance policy and not have an impact on town services, according to Town Comptroller Ronald Caponera.

As part of the settlement, Skerker, who remains listed as a town employee, although he has not worked for the EMS department in more than a year, will resign as a town employee. He has also agreed to not seek a position with the town EMS department until 2012.""

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