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Judge: Colonie supervisor had authority in demoting town employees

Supreme Court Justice John Egan Jr. has ruled that Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan and the Colonie Town Board did act within their rights when demoting two town employees involved in the controversial 2007 paving job at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club.

According to details of his decision, Egan dismissed the lawsuit brought by William Neeley, formerly the town's public works operations supervisor, and Thomas Romano, formerly the a highway maintenance supervisor for the town. Their identical yet separate cases alleged that Mahan and the Town Board did not have the right to discipline and later demote the employees.

Their demotions were the result of a vote that took place in an executive session of the Town Board before a Town Board Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 4. With it, Neeley was demoted to senior civil engineering technician. With his demotion came a $13,176 pay cut. Romano was demoted to civil engineering technician. With his demotion came a $9,804 pay cut.

\In conclusion, Egan's decision reads, "and to put it simply- 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 exclusicve, and the Town Supervisor was within her rights in proffering the charges."

In dismissing the lawsuits, Egan gave the town's personnel officer, Michael Foley, permission to hear the case in the town-a permission that was restricted during these proceedings after the town had filed a restraining order preventing him from doing so.

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Feb. 4 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""

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