A Bethlehem judge handed down his recommendations today (Tuesday, Nov. 11) for two Town of Colonie employees that were accused of misconduct during a paving job of the parking lot of the West Albany Rod and Gun Club.
According to Kathy Wright, United Public Service Employees Union regional coordinator, who is defending the employees, the recommendations, if administered by the town, would leave Public Works Operations Supervisor William Neeley and Highway Maintenance Supervisor Thomas Romano suspended for 60 days without pay.
Both employees were put on a disciplinary suspension after town officials believed them to be involved in a controversial paving job at the non-profit, private West Albany Rod and Gun Club. A report was completed in June by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, in which the comptroller determined that town employees and town materials were used to pave the club's parking lot with spoils, or, as defined by the comptroller, composite material of wood, dirt and debris, in a manner that was not in the best interest of town taxpayers. The comptroller found that administrators that allowed the paving project to go on were responsible for the significantly higher costs, $48,000 to be exact, than alternative options.
Wright said the town had hired Judge Paul Dwyer, of Bethlehem, as the disciplinary hearing officer when the hearings on Neeley and Romano occurred in late August, and that his findings were issued today. Wright also said that while Dwyer found the employees guilty of some charges, he found them innocent of others, but that his decision is one the employees would appeal should it be carried out by the town.
Neeley and Romano were suspended without pay for about five weeks, according to Wright, ending in August. The employees were put back on the payroll, where they remain today. Should the town decide to abide by the recommendations, Wright said the over 30 days they were already suspended without pay would be deducted from their new 60-day suspension.