F. Joseph Stockbridge, who runs the Colonie Town Landfill, refused an offer made by the town board asking him to resign on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Stockbridge, who is department head for the division of environmental services, has since been placed on administrative leave, pending pending disciplinary action, according to Supervisor Paula Mahan's office.
After a 6-1 vote in executive session on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Colonie Town Board voted to offer Stockbridge a chance to resign.
The meeting came in the wake of a nearly $700,000 settlement with the town and a private trash hauler County Waste, involving fraudulent dumping activity at the Colonie Town Landfill.
We don't believe County Waste could have done this without someone, or people, at the landfill knowing about this, Mahan said early Tuesday, Feb. 23, before the vote.
County waste was also cited by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office for improper permits for "putrid waste" at is Clifton Park facility. The attorney general, along with the New York State Department of Environment Conservation, investigated the fraudulent activity starting in July of 2008. The investigation was assited by Ralph Hunter, who collected more than $160,000 due to the state's "whistleblower" law.
Town Board member Dan Dustin, the lone dissenter, said he does not have sufficient evidence to believe Stockbridge was involved.
He said since an extensive investigation from the attorney general and DEC did not cite any town employees as being involved, and since there was no evidence Stockbridge had anything to gain, he was not prepared to ask him to leave.
Further, County Waste officals maintain there was no wrongdoing, and Dustin said it is possible the settlement was sound business, preventing a prolonged lawsuit, and not an admission of guilt.
"Business entities enter settlements all the time," he said.