The two town employees who have been under scrutiny since July 2008 for their involvement with a controversial paving job at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club have been found innocent of all but two charges by Town of Colonie Civil Service Officer Michael Foley and as such have been restored to their original positions, as they have been serving in demoted positions since Thursday, Dec. 4.
But according to Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan, the decision made by Foley could have been politically motivated.
In response to the decision, the supervisor wrote in a statement, \I have read the decision issued by Mr. Foley and I would state at the onset that I fully respect those laws and the process that is intended to provide public employees with a venue to appeal disciplinary decisions.
She continued, "However, even a casual reading of Mr. Foley's decision compels the conclusion that his decision was politically motivated, not based on the facts of the case, and raises doubt as to Mr. Foley's respect for this process."
In June, 2008, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli audited the paving job and determined that, while not illegal, the actions taken in the paving job, which involved the use of town employees and equipment and the dumping of "spoils," a composite material of dirt, tree back and debris, on the property, were not made in the best interest of taxpayers of the town. Furthermore, the comptroller concluded that the paving job cost taxpayers nearly $48,000 more than alternative options.
The employees, William Neeley and Thomas Romano, were put on 42-day suspensions, according to United Public Service Employees Union Regional Coordinator Kathy Wright, who has been defending the men, in July. In August, the employees were subject to two days of public hearings heard by Bethlehem Hearing Officer Paul Dwyer.