West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 01/14/2008
Supervisor Piotrowski called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Absent - None
Supervisor Piotrowski read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of John Granville and William Hogan.
1-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
1. Supervisor Piotrowski re Retirement of Gary A. Wielgoszynski
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the retirement of Gary A. Wielgoszynski, West Seneca, NY, Laborer-Buildings and Grounds Department, effective December 19, 2006 in accordance with an application filed by Mr. Wielgoszynski for Article 15 Disability Retirement with the New York State and Local Retirement System, and authorize the Supervisor to sign the necessary paperwork for Erie County Personnel.
2. Supervisor Piotrowski re Title Change for Thomas Amoia
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Thomas Amoia, West Seneca, NY, as White Collar Laborer in the Engineering Department and appoint Thomas Amoia as Laborer in the Buildings and Grounds Department, effective January 14, 2008 at a rate of $22.38 per hour, and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
On the question, Councilman Clarke asked if this was a Department change and if there was an opening.
Councilman Graber responded this was a Department change and there was a budgeted opening.
Councilman Clarke stated it was his understanding in speaking with Councilman Graber that the Town was “two-over”.
Councilman Graber disagreed, stating the department has been “one-over”, but it was
budgeted for 2008 to maintain that level. One of the already agreed upon positions was vacated with the retirement of Mr. Wielgoszynski. By filling this position, the department will continue to be one-over and maintain the current level of employment.
Motion by Councilman Clarke, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to table this item for a work session.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove noted that Thomas Amoia has been working in the white collar Sewer Department and is a good worker. Mrs. Bove noted that Mr. Amoia had a kidney transplant and her comments are based on the procedure followed in the appointment and are not personal in nature. She was previously unaware of this appointment.
Councilman Graber noted that this information was received by Council members on Thursday and the issue was not questioned until today.
Councilman Clarke questioned when the other Council members were made aware of the appointment and felt a work session was necessary in order to discuss the matter.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that Mr. Clarke has been in his office several times since the last meeting and many topics were discussed. There was ample opportunity for any question to be posed since Thursday. It is the duty of Council members to investigate any item in question on the agenda or contact the department head if a question arises.
On the motion to table,
On the original motion,
3. Supervisor Piotrowski re Retirement of Thomas C. Reese, Sr.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept the retirement of Thomas C. Reese, Sr., East Aurora, NY, mechanic-Highway Department, effective January 25, 2008, and authorize the Supervisor to sign the necessary paperwork for Erie County Personnel, noting that Mr. Reese has served the Town of West Seneca for over 20 years.
4. Town Engineer re Purchases requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $12,418.59 to Nichols, Long & Moore Construction Corp. per various vouchers.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove noted this payment was for restoration of landscaping and concrete and complimented Mr. Montz for the completeness of the information submitted.
5. Town Engineer re Knox Avenue Reconstruction Project, Job No. K-0701, Change Order 1
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to approve Change Order No. 1 for Kandey Company, Inc., 19 Ransier Drive, West Seneca, New York 14224 in the amount of $11,669.91 for performing various items of extra work on the Knox Avenue Reconstruction Project, Job No. K-0701.
6. Town Engineer re Out of Title Pay
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve out of title pay for Michael G. Kerl from December 26, 2007 through December 31, 2007 at the Town Engineer’s hourly rate.
7. Chief Gehen re Rate Change, Part Time Public Safety Workers
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to correct Item #18 motion of December 17, 2007 meeting to read: grant rate change of $10.95 per hour for all part-time Public Safety Dispatchers, effective January 1, 2008, and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
8. Receiver of Taxes re Seasonal status for part-time clerks
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of the following part-time Clerks to seasonal part-time Clerks effective January 14, 2008:
and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
9. Receiver of Taxes re Extension of Collection for 2008 Town/County taxes
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the extension for collection of 2008 Town/County taxes from April 30, 2008 to June 30, 2008, to allow penalties collected to stay with the Town and not the County of Erie.
10. Code Enforcement Officer re Sign with Electrical Lettering
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to allow the addition of an electrical lettering sign for Southgate Lanes, 50 Michael Road.
11. Recreation Supervisor re Seasonal Status for Erin Clarke
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of Erin Clark from part-time laborer to part-time seasonal, effective January 2, 2008 – February 2, 2008, and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
Supervisor Piotrowski announced that the Town is in the process of setting forth a new policy for Town Board proceedings. In the interim, the old policy will continue. The public is welcome to come forth and speak with a time allotment of three minutes.
RESIDENT WELCOMES NEW TOWN BOARD MEMBERS
David Monolopolus, 97Lexington Green, welcomed the new Town Board members and wished them well in representing the Town of West Seneca in 2008. He urged them to listen to the citizens, follow the Comprehensive Plan, and work with each other to make West Seneca the leader in new ideas and visions of change and hope for a better future. He was supportive of two meetings per month because government should be open to the people. He suggested a spread sheet be prepared for use by residents in reading next year’s budget.
STATUS OF VARIOUS PROJECTS
Mr. Monolopolus asked the status of the noise ordinance and the soccer complex, tax assessment increase and the gas supplier.
Councilman Graber stated the new Town Attorney is reviewing a number of items remaining in the transition from the former Town Attorney, including the noise ordinance and the gas supplier.
Mr. Monolopolus stated the citizens deserved the right type of development in Town and asked the Board to be proactive instead of reactive when problems occur in the future.
TOWN’S POSTING ON WEB SITE OF FOIL, MINUTES.
Daniel Warren, 836 Indian Church Road, congratulated the elected officials on their successful campaigns. He expressed his support of Supervisor Piotrowski in scheduling two Town Board meetings per month and reviewing each of the Town’s departments, demonstrating a commitment to increased efficiency. He suggested the current Town policy on Freedom of Information be posted on the web site and that a draft copy of the Town Board minutes also be posted. Currently, if a citizen desires a draft copy, he must submit a FOIL request. He felt this would allow a smooth discussion of issues from one meeting to the next.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
TAX ASSESSOR VACANCY
Mr. Warren noted that in 2005 the office of tax assessor became vacant. The Board was advised by Town Attorney Greenan that it had the option of appointing a sole assessor to a six year term, having three elected assessors, or contracting with other municipalities. None of these options has been followed up on and he inquired about the time-frame for a permanent arrangement.
TOWN’S LIABILITY RE AMERICORPS PROGRAM
Mr. Warren asked whether or not the Town had a written agreement with Americorps, limiting the Town’s liability and defense costs in the event of any negligence on the part of Americorps and to avoid any argument by an Americorps volunteer or employee that they are a special employee of the Town and entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER SUPERVISOR VACANCY
Robert Frainier, 54 Thomas Drive, asked when an interim person would be appointed to supervise the Senior Citizens Center.
Councilwoman Meegan stated she has assumed some of the responsibilities of Mr. Duffey who recently retired and will be present at the Center on Wednesdays until the position is filled. This is a Union position and the Town must select an individual from the Civil Service list. She has been present in Town Hall on a daily basis and will be available on Wednesday mornings at the Senior Center to address any issues of concern. Mrs. Meegan provided her phone numbers in the event anyone needed to reach her.
Councilman Graber added that although Mr. Duffey tendered his resignation in December, it was not official until January 2nd, so even the previous Town Board could not act upon it. At the same time, there was a general understanding between the outgoing and incoming Boards that the decision would be deferred to the new administration.
Edith Sweet, 99 Winspear Road, stated the Town Board is responsible for every person who enters the Senior Citizens Center and having a Councilmember there on a Wednesday is not acceptable.
Robert Summerville, 62 Harwood, stated he would like to see the Senior Citizens Center open on Saturday afternoons, four Saturdays a month, from Noon until 5:00 for activities.
TOWN BOARD WORK SESSIONS AND JOB POSTINGS
Amy Carpenter, 406 Woodward Crescent, asked if a schedule has been set for a work session yet and if they would be posted on the Town’s web site.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that he needed to determine which items required a work session and there was nothing on tonight’s agenda that either required a work session or for which a work session was requested by a council member. Work sessions will be posted.
Mrs. Carpenter also asked if available non-union positions be posted on the web site.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated they would be.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
TOWN BOARD WORK SESSIONS
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, stated it was her understanding that a work session was to be held prior to each Town Board meeting.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that there will be work sessions, as needed, for the Board to discuss items of significance. The public may attend those work sessions but is not allowed comment. If Board members wish to have a work session after reviewing the agenda, one will be scheduled.
Mrs. Minklei stated she understood that the public is not allowed to comment at the work session, but felt all Board members should share information when making decisions.
Councilman Graber stated there were eleven items on tonight’s agenda. A work session is not intended to discuss these particular issues, because that is the function of the Town Board meeting. Most of the items are not known to him until he picks up his agenda package.
Councilwoman Bove asked if there was sufficient notification for a work session when the agenda package is received on Thursday.
Town Clerk Patricia DePasquale stated 72 hours is needed for notification of certain meetings. The normal process for Board meetings is to post notice in the paper and on the bulletin board outside the Town Clerk’s office, five days prior to the meeting. It is also posted on the web site.
Councilwoman Bove asked the Town Attorney to research the time requirements for a work session itself.
Town Attorney Hunter stated some towns schedule work sessions on a regularly scheduled date and those are always known. He was unfamiliar with a notice requirement, but is likely 72 hours. The manner of posting may be specified.
Town Clerk DePasquale stated the bulletin board is acceptable for notification purposes, but notice is also given in the newspaper and posted on the web site.
STATUS OF UTILITIES BID
Mrs. Minklei asked the status of the utilities bids that were due at the end of December.
Councilman Graber stated the required 10 day legal posting was missed. Subsequently, the Town has a new Town Attorney who is in the process of completing the matter.
TOWN BOARD WORK SESSIONS AND JOB OPENINGS
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow, stated she used to attend School Board sessions years ago. There would be a work session once a month where the public was allowed to observe, but not speak. Personnel sessions were closed to the public. The regular session was open to everyone. She asked if the jobs other than civil service were posted.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated those jobs were not posted. It was the decision of the Town Board to make the recommendations as to who should fill those positions. As elected officials, Board members are aware what positions are available and every Board member is free to submit a recommendation for those particular positions.
Mrs. Lucachick suggested the Board meet collectively to discuss possible appointees.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
TOWN BOARD WORK SESSIONS AND JOB OPENINGS (Continued)
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that is a possible consideration for the future. He added that the public is not limited to three minutes for comments tonight. They are welcome to contact any one of the Board members to express an opinion or make a suggestion. He is present in his office on a daily basis and stated the public is free to stop by with comments or suggestions.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY DEPARTMENT HEADS AND BOARD MEMBERS
SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER SUPERVISOR VACANCY
Councilwoman Bove commented that at the Senior Citizens Center Christmas Party, there were three calls to Rural Metro for transport to the hospital. There is an aging group of people in Town who frequent the Senior Citizens Center and felt it was the Town’s responsibility to replace Jim Duffey as soon as possible.
RESPONSE TO YOUTH BOARD DIRECTOR COMMENTS
Councilwoman Bove commented on a political comment made in the Bee by Mr. Lazzara, Director of the Youth Bureau. Mrs. Bove stated she has performed her duties as a Councilwoman in a business like manner, responding in a timely manner to the needs and concerns of homeowners and businesses to resolve issues with fairness to all. She has volunteered to take on large projects such as the Senior Fitness Center, the Town computer upgrade project, and the Community Development Block Grant awarded to the Town in 2006, but allowed to lapse. The Town would not only have lost the grant funds, but future requests for grants would have been jeopardized. Mrs. Bove stated she has been concerned with the number of terminations and resignations of employees associated with the Youth Bureau, and rumors of lawsuits and human rights complaints to New York State. She had requested information on employees, whether Youth Bureau or Americorps, with salaries and bonuses. She subsequently received information limited to a list of names and whether 100% Youth Bureau or Americorps. No salaries were included and she was told to find this information herself. The 2008 Youth Bureau budget is a third of a million dollars, with three people in the department. Mrs. Bove felt there had been a boring of the Youth Bureau over the last few years, with Western New York Americorps and the Burchfield Nature & Art Center. She does not represent Western New York Americorps; she is the Councilwoman for West Seneca taxpayers with the West Seneca Youth Bureau. She agreed with Supervisor Piotrowski as to an analysis of Town departments, and she will continue to request pertinent information on salaries, benefits, expenses, and credit card usage. Monthly reports may also be required. At the Organizational meeting, Town Board members were asked to vote on department heads, including the Director of Youth Bureau. Mr. Lazzara’s title on his brief report submitted to her, read as Executive Director/CEO.
POLICE DEPARTMENT MEETING
Councilwoman Meegan stated she had an opportunity to meet with the Police Department this past week. The Police Department is in dire need of space and she was impressed with what that department is able to do with the space available. She is looking into Homeland Security for potential grant funds, possibly for a new facility, noting it would also require a referendum.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY DEPARTMENT HEADS AND BOARD MEMBERS
MEETING WITH YOUTH BUREAU DIRECTOR
Mrs. Meegan also had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Lazzara and noted the number of services performed by the Youth Bureau and Americorps. She realized there were concerns on his titles as Youth Director and Americorps Director and other issues which will be addressed at a work session. Despite concerns, the Youth Bureau and Americorps are an asset to the Town of West Seneca and do great things. Mrs. Meegan stated she will also follow up on the issues brought up tonight concerning the Senior Citizens Center and plans on being present at the Center on Wednesday, hopefully with an answer to the Saturday afternoon issue.
APPOINTMENT OF THOMAS AMOIA
Councilman Graber commented on the appointment of Thomas Amoia, a five-year employee with the Town of West Seneca, noting that Mr. Amoia had a kidney transplant last year and was on sick leave from the Sewer Department. The transplanted kidney responded well, but Mr. Amoia’s physician recommended that he no longer work in the Sewer Department due to the anti-rejection medication disabling his immune system, despite use of protective garb and respirators. Mr. Wielgoszynski’s retirement offered an opening in Buildings & Grounds where Mr. Amoia could perform work duties without exposure to potential infectious agents present in the Sewer Department. Mr. Amoia is being moved over to Buildings & Grounds because there was a vacancy in that department and the need to remove him from the environmental hazards of the Sewer Department. There are guaranteed numbers in the Buildings & Grounds Department as well as the Highway Department and occasionally the Town goes “over”, but can never go “under” those numbers. Historically, the Town has gone over a number of times. Mr. Graber stated that in a conversation with Mr. Clarke, Mr. Clarke was concerned that the vacancy be filled with Mr. Clarke’s friend. Mr. Graber felt that Thomas Amoia, as a five-year employee of the Town of West Seneca with a proven work record, was a better choice for the vacancy in Buildings & Grounds than Mr. Clarke’s friend.
REVIEW OF TOWN DEPARTMENTS
Supervisor Piotrowski stated this Board is committed to reviewing each town department.
It is not possible to review every department in one particular month, but the Town Attorney’s office and the Comptroller’s office are being reviewed this month in an effort to make those departments more efficient and effective. This Board has reduced salaries in the Town Attorney’s office by $50,000. and in the Comptroller’s office by $15,000. The Board will then move on to the Youth Department, the Recreation Department and the Americorps program. Work sessions will be held and determinations made. When issues arise, such as at the Senior Citizens Center, those issues will be addressed and ultimately the Senior Citizens Center will be reviewed as a whole in the future.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC