Tonight's 7PM Town Board agenda has a couple of late add on surprises, no doubt due to Mark Evers deciding to ignore the Town Comptroller's decision not to pay the Conservative Water Contractor for a claim he recently submitted.
The contractor has a history of walking in town hall and demanding his money. (Even when the town had spent all the money in the bond and had illegally exceeded the contract price and bonding authority!) As we reported Monday, the Supervisor appears not to care that no retainage is being held back from the new settlement funds, over a million dollars, from each claim submitted. These funds serve as an insurance policy to force compliance with any claims of poor work or unfinished work.
Despite a clear requirement of the original contract, no retainage hold back of 5% was set aside in any of the claims related to the so called settlement arising out of the contractors lawsuit against the town. When the Comptroller declined to cut the latest check submitted by the contractor, he apparently went to the Supervisor and let him know whose boss. No, the Supervisor did not consult with the town attorney for advice, he just marched right down to the Comptroller's Office and ordered a check to give to the contractor. Service with a smile!
After refusing to extend safeguards proposed last year after a similar incident in which Evers ordered staff to cut him an $83,000 check knowing full well there was no money and no legal authority to pay him more, the Town Board has now apparently realized how dangerous and irresponsible Evers can be. Someone has placed two resolutions on the agenda for tomorrow night which will prevent Evers from ever again getting his hands on a town check without the signature of the Comptroller.
The first resolution revisits the dual signature requirement and the second would designate the Comptroller as "Accounting Officer". We checked the Town Law manual to find out what the term provides and located what we believe is a section of law which explains the term. S 124 of the Town Law refers to this term which if passed by a town board, would transfer all accounting duties of the Supervisor to the Comptroller, assuming a town board has established the office of Comptroller as we have done here in North Greenbush. Now that's neutering an irresponsible and reckless official in a manner sure to make Evers red faced and snarling. But he truly deserved to have this done long ago.
Now if the Town Board would also act to restrain Evers from acting behind their backs and without their voting authority on Civil Service matters, they would safeguard the Executiove Authority which rests in the Town Board and not the Supervisor as spelled out in State and Town Laws. Evers has recklessly and irresponsibly acted without town board authority to appoint people to jobs, to reclassify their job titles, to fire people without board consent, and perhaps most egregiously, to falsify paperwork to the State to improperly obtain a waiver for his friend the Assessor, all without the knowledge or consent of the present and past town boards of which he has been a member.
So don't wait to get burned again boys in this area of Supervisor abuse of power. Better to protect your authority than to have to complain and act after the cat is out of the barn as in the case of Monday's payment to the contractor in Water 14.
Tomorrow, we'll try to chronicle yet another example of Building Department malfeasance in failing to require their favorite water contractor to reimburse the town for over $7,000 of repairs to the Streamview Lane sewer line which the water contractor damaged when he put down his water main. He breaks it, taxpayers pay for it is the Job 1 motto of these seemingly loyal employees of the contractor who really work for the town.