In September, the two filed separate yet identical lawsuits claiming that Supervisor Paula Mahan and the Town Board did not have the authority to discipline them, as only their immediate supervisor, in this case Commissioner of the Department of Public Works Robert Mitchell, would have the power to do so.
Dwyer released his recommendations the first week of December, which were discussed in an executive session prior to the Thursday, Dec. 4 Town Board meeting. But at the meeting, Town Attorney Michael Magguilli announced that while the town did accept Dwyer's recommendations, that had the men each placed on 60-day suspensions, the town would not be acting on those recommendations, but instead demoting both employees.
Neeley, who was formerly the town's Department of Public Works supervisor, was then demoted to the position of senior civil engineering technician. With his demotion came a pay cut of $13,176. Romano, who was formerly the 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., the judge deciding on the September lawsuits filed by the employees, signed his decision on Wednesday, Jan. 28, stating that Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan and the Colonie Town Board did act within their rights when demoting Neeley and Romano based on their involvement with the paving job.
"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 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 of the men, so that Egan could make his decision.