New Scotland public works commissioner becomes salaried

Board members surprised by lack of timecard system, retroactive fix being implemented

— New Scotland is tweaking the pay system for its recently created position of public works commissioner, but a resident questioned how hours were being maintained and some board members were surprised to find the system lacking.

The Town Board hired Wayne LaChappelle, a retired Bethlehem police officer, in August as commissioner of public works to address a mounting workload in the department. LaChappelle started the part-time position at 20 hours a week at the rate of $25 per hour. At the Wednesday, Feb. 12, meeting, the board approved changing it to a part-time, salaried position, with LaChappelle paid for working 25 hours a week. The change represents a $5,757 increase to this year’s budget.

Unlike some town employees who serve the town as a whole, the public works commissioner’s salary is billed to a particular water district if work performed exclusively benefits those customers. General work is billed to all taxpayers.

After LaChappelle gave a presentation to the board on work done to date, Tim Stanton, a Feura Bush resident, asked if there was any accounting done to distinguish what work LaChappelle has done for water districts.

Supervisor Tom Dolin said work done for certain districts would be billed to those customers and not the town has a whole. Stanton pushed for a breakdown of what LaChappelle’s work history was to date, but town officials could not readily give an answer.

“Now that he has worked for a few months, I would think we have some kind of an idea,” Stanton said.

LaChappelle simply said it was “split,” but that he would “hate to guess” what percentage of his work is broken down to the different districts and town.

“You just finished telling me that each water district is allocated with time, so somewhere those numbers have got to exist,” Stanton replied.

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