Attorney for the Shaker Road Fire Department Jack Clarke told the Town Board that 15,000 cubic yards of tree bark and debris known as spoils were deposited on a 1-acre strip of land near the department throughout a six-year period, and as a result, Dorwood Drive neighbors are complaining of drainage and flooding issues.
The incident is the second involving the dumping of spoils during the previous administration to surface since Supervisor Paula Mahan took office in January 2008.
The news, which was discussed at the Thursday, Feb. 26, agenda review session, has left town officials questioning the motives behind the dumping, which began in 2001.
Clarke told the board a deed transferred ownership of the 1-acre parcel of land to the fire department from the town. Although it was signed by all parties involved, including then-Supervisor Mary Brizzell, according to Town Attorney Michael Magguilli, the deed was not recorded until 2008.
Magguilli, who confirmed the dumping of spoils took place, said documents show the then-town attorney's office intended to record the deed, but the recording of the deed was put on a six-year hold after Highway Supervisor William Neeley sent e-mail correspondence to someone in the attorney's office under the name SP, asking that person not to record it.
In August, the town began taking action to discipline Neely and another highway supervisor, Thomas Romano, for their roles in a 2007 paving job at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club in which "spoils" were dumped at the site with the use of town employees, man-hours and equipment. Neeley was eventually demoted by the Town Board for his involvement.
"Normally, you wouldn't have someone in the highway department telling someone in the attorney's department what to do," said Magguilli.
According to Clarke, at the same time the deed transactions were going on, the parcel was being used to dump "stuff," as he called it, onto the property. Clarke said the "stuff" he was referring to has also been called "spoils," a composite material made up of dirt, tree bark and debris.