Stone is on vacation until Monday, Feb. 27, according to Chazen staff, and an attempt to reach him by email was unsuccessful.
Ardman on Friday, Feb. 17, said Santabarbara’s firing “was a business decision that was made a long time ago and not just this Tuesday (Feb. 14).”
He declined to speak further.
“We are not going to comment on personnel issues,” Ardman said.
Gillet did not respond to a voicemail or email requesting comment on Stone’s alleged comment to Santabarbara, or the termination in general.
New York State is an “employment-at-will” state, so an employer generally may discharge an employee at any time for any reason. State Labor Law does prohibit an employer from firing an employee based on their political activities outside of work, which includes running for public office.
Job played a role in past bid
When Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, ran against incumbent 105th District Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, in the 2010 election, he alleged Amedore threatened his job by telling his employer a political challenge would be bad for business.
Santabarbara released audio recordings mid-October of 2010 that he said proved Amedore had threatened his job at Chazen. Santabarbara said the recording was part of a conversation between him and Amedore on or around April 29 at Aperitivo Bistro in downtown Schenectady. Amedore was not aware the conversation was being recorded, and Santabarbara said he recorded the meeting to protect himself if he was fired.
In the tapes provided by Santabarbara, he discussed with Amedore what was said to Santabarbara's boss, Joe Lanaro, vice president of engineering services for Chazen.
In 2010, Amedore vehemently denied attempting to have Santabarbara fired from his job.
Now, Santabarbara said he doesn’t know if the incident played into the company’s decision to dismiss him, but he said, “It seems like it does.”