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Colonie town employee demotions reversed

Dwyer released his recommendations to place the men on 60-day suspensions were discussed in an Town Board executive session prior to the Thursday, Dec. 4, Town Board meeting where Town Attorney Michael Magguilli announced that the town would take steps beyond Dwyer's recommendation and demote the two employees.

Neeley, who was formerly the town's Department of Public Works supervisor, was demoted to the position of senior civil engineering technician. With his demotion came a pay cut of $13,176. Romano, who was formerly a highway maintenance supervisor, was demoted to the position of civil engineering technician. With his demotion came a pay cut of $9,804.

Supreme Court Justice John Egan Jr., who heard the September lawsuits filed by the employees, handed down his decision Jan. 28 that Mahan and the board did act within their rights when demoting Neeley and Romano.

"To put it simply," Egan wrote, "the law does not specify who can file disciplinary charges, and while the commissioner of the Department of Public Works could have done so in this case, his jurisdiction to do so is not exclusive, and the town supervisor was within her rights in proffering the charges."

While Egan was making his decision, the town had placed a restraining order on Foley hearing the cases.

After Egan's decision, the order was lifted, and Foley was able to continue the work he began in December, when he first started looking into the cases of Neeley and Romano.

In a copy of his decision, Foley explained the two disciplinary actions against Neeley and Romano that are being upheld " the first being "misconduct in the performance of duties as Public Works operations supervisor in that you [Neeley] permitted the highway division of the Department of Public Works to negotiate and contract on behalf of the Town of Colonie without proper authority or approval."

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