Town of Colonie Civil Service Officer Michael Foley reversed the demotion of two town employees who have been under scrutiny since July 2008 for their roles in paving job at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club in 2007.
The decision, made Thursday, March 26, restored William Neeley and Thomas Romano, who were demoted in early December, to their original positions. Foley said a 30-day suspension, which the men have already served, would remain in place as discipline for not having a written contract or drafted plans for the paving job, which was completed using town resources. Neeley and Romano will be receiving back pay for any additional days they were suspended.
Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan called Foley's decision political.
Unfortunately, given Mr. Foley's connections to the former administration that attempted to cover up this blatant misuse of town funds, equipment and personnel, his decision was not unexpected, Mahan said. "Mr. Foley has turned his back on the public's call for accountability."
She said the decision did not take into account the state comptroller's findings that the paving job was not in the best interest of taxpayers, costing nearly $48,000 more than alternative options, according to the audit.
"The fact of the matter is the West Albany Rod and Gun Club incident involved a serious lack of judgment and mismanagement resulting in a substantial loss of taxpayer dollars," said Mahan. "I believe my administration made the correct disciplinary recommendation, and we will continue our efforts to bring good, honest government to the residents of our great town. I can assure the taxpayers of Colonie that, under my watch, there will be no repeat of abuses like the West Albany Road and Gun Club."
In his decision, Foley wrote that it was based on the fact that there was no policy in place at the time of the paving job regarding the dumping of spoils, which were used to pave the private club's lot, that warranted disciplinary action for what Neeley and Romano did.