Public officials back as laborers

Former Town of Colonie Civil Engineer John Reardon and former Fire Inspector Daniel Torpey accepted jobs as laborers in the town on Thursday, April 28, and were voted into their positions that same evening at a Town Board meeting.

At the meeting, board members voted unanimously to accept Reardon and Torpey as laborers for the town of Colonie, positions that pay significantly less than what they had been making.

The two men lost their jobs after an appellate court decision on March 31 ruled town employees must live within the town. In response, the town passed a resolution on April 7 changing the residency requirements for public officials, including Department of Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham and Director of the William K. Sanford Library Richard Naylor, to extend to Albany County, but that change was not enough to save Reardon's and Torpey's jobs because both men live outside the county.

They were not fired, said Cunningham of Reardon and Torpey. "They were both offered other jobs within the town."

According to Supervisor Paula Mahan, the laborer positions start at $50,000 year. Reardon was making $78,000 a year as a civil engineer and Torpey was making $68,000 a year as a fire inspector. Mahan said due to their longevity with the town, the two men would be making slightly more in their new positions.

Town Attorney Mike Magguilli said the town is able to amend New York State Law under the Municipal Home Rule Law, but according to Public Officer Law Section 3, a civil officer must live within the town or the county. Magguilli had earlier said the town could extend the residency requirements out to as far as the entire state, but he was corrected by Assistant Town Attorney Rebekah Kennedy.

"Unfortunately, we can't help them," Magguilli said. "We're prohibited from expanding outside of Albany County. ... I made a mistake. I wasn't aware that for the public officials we're only allowed to extend to Albany County."

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