MALTA: Board works on budget

"This makes our clerk's budget, at $60,000, the lowest of any clerk's in Saratoga County," said Sausville. "I think it's irresponsible for the town to be at the lowest level; it's totally inappropriate."

Sickels issued a letter on Tuesday, Oct. 23, with her reaction to the discussion.

"The cuts are politically motivated, and the only one truly hurt by the cuts are constituents who will have less service at the clerk's office," said Sickels. "I am only left to think that because I am sometimes politically at odds with some of the board that they have decided to exact political retribution through cutting the clerk's department. There was a similar case in Schenectady a few years ago, and the injured employee brought a political discrimination lawsuit against the City. That employee won. I hope we can put politics aside, and do what is right for good government so we aren't forced down the path of litigation."

In 2002, under the leadership of former town supervisor David Meager, the board authorized hiring a part-time deputy clerk to assist in the office. That position was later increased to full-time. Several months ago, board members Cliff Lange and Sue Nolen questioned the hours Sickels was working as town clerk, and whether her employment with Saratoga County was overlapping with her town job. The board members used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Sickles' time sheets to review the number of hours she worked in the Malta office. Sickles said the time sheets did not reflect the hours she put in for clerk's duties in evenings, on weekends or by working through lunch.

At Monday night's meeting, Lange said he preferred to make his comments on the clerk's budget during a public hearing. Other board members made a motion to accept the preliminary budget with the cut in the deputy clerk's hours without further discussion, despite Sausville attempting to read a prepared statement.

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