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Vet memorial funds questioned

Incoming administration to call for audit of Rotterdam’s finances

Supervisor Frank Del Gallo used his town salary to help pay for the veteran’s memorial, but board members say proper accounting protocol was not followed in the process.

Supervisor Frank Del Gallo used his town salary to help pay for the veteran’s memorial, but board members say proper accounting protocol was not followed in the process. Photo by John Purcell.

— Supervisor Frank Del Gallo’s tenure on the Rotterdam Town Board was filled with heated debates, and what could be his final meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, proved to be no different.

Contention over the newly constructed veterans memorial, a project Del Gallo initiated and oversaw, was led by Councilwoman Nicola DiLeva, who is leaving the board after not seeking reelection.

DiLeva argued that while Del Gallo said no taxpayer money would be used to construct the monument, he used his board salary to fund the project after he donated it to the town. She also argued he didn’t follow proper accounting and approval protocol for the project.

Prior to the Dec. 14 meeting, DiLeva publicly questioned invoices and budget transfers set to be approved by the board. Once discussion items came up on the agenda, Del Gallo defended his fund appropriations.

“As we went along, money was transferred from my line to pay for different materials for different parts of the job,” Del Gallo said.

Last year, Del Gallo said the same procedure was followed to pay for renovations to the town’s senior center kitchen. His 2010 salary of $13,000 was used to fund improvements after a $10,000 grant from Senator Hugh Farley didn’t come through. This October, Del Gallo said the town received the money. In the meantime, payments to fund improvements were transferred out of his salary.

“I said my money will go towards the seniors once the grant is used for the kitchen,” he said. “I don’t know how that has to happen, but there is certain things that have to be done to do that.”

To date, $10,453 has been paid out for invoices relating to costs of the monument, which Del Gallo said he signed off on as needed. Another invoice for $4,330 surfaced a few days after the general election for Bradshaw Construction, which Del Gallo signed off on to be paid.

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