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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Great Overtime Cover-Up

NGOT Reports
For months, the Town Clerk has been hiding the fact that she has been spending thousands of dollars in overtime, none of which is budgeted. Sadly, all of it could have been avoided by simply managing the time of her deputy using split shifts when that employee might be needed for a Town Board meeting. But that would require too much work for the town clerk, so she allowed the overtime to be incurred and the Supervisor apparently authorized it as well.

Better yet, the records show the Supervisor is now helping to cover up the expenditures, all of which he claims to be "personally approving" as part of his effort to reduce the towns soaring deficit.

Above is an Overtime Report dated September 24, 2009 which the Town Clerk has been assiduously avoiding releasing despite multiple attempts to secure it under the Freedom of Information Law. It shows the Town Clerk expended $1,779 as of September 30, 2009. Rather than release the report, the Town Clerk with the help of the Supervisor, created a new, fabricated report showing no overtime expended. That fake report is undated and is also posted for you to read by simply scrolling down in the Scribid window above. Our thanks to the elected official who provided the report for our readers.

Ms. Connolly has refused to release the actual overtime report claiming it is "inaccurate". For the record, that's not listed as a legitimate ground for denial of access of public records if you care to read the State's web site on the Freedom of Information Law here.

So while the town Clerk continues to stonewall the Law by releasing the report, we've done her job for her by releasing the record here. Inaccurate, no, embarrassing for Clerk Connolly, you bet.

Here's the FOIL Law section governing records which are exempt from disclosure and the grounds for denial of access should you rather not link to the State website:

2. Each agency shall, in accordance with its published rules, make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that such agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that:

(a) are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute;
(b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article;
(c) if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;
(d) are trade secrets or are submitted to an agency by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which if disclosed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise;
(e) are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:

i. interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;
ii. deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;
iii. identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or
iv. reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures;

(f) if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person;
(g) are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not:

i. statistical or factual tabulations or data;
ii. instructions to staff that affect the public;
iii. final agency policy or determinations; or
iv. external audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government; or

(h) are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions;
(i) if disclosed, would jeopardize an agency’s capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures; or
(j) are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-a of the vehicle and traffic law.


Anonymous said...

kate better shape up cause they ain't gonna listen to her stories in jail...........open goverment means just that !!!!!!!

Interested Party said...

Why start complying w/ NYS law now- hasn't been an issue in the last 18 years or so that she has been the Town Clerk.

Clearly, Katie has only one agenda that she is concerned with- her own- I think it's great that Jann has offered evening and weekend hours- lots of us who work real jobs can take advantage of that without missing work.

Hopefully, bye by Katie (and Mark) real soon.

Anonymous said...

Once again you managed to only publish half of the truth to this story.

Hopefully you'll FOIL the entire minutes of the October Town Board meeting and realize that the money being used to cover the salary expenses of the Deputy Clerk is money that was previously allocated in the 2009 adopted budget to pay the salary expenses of the Supervisors secretary. Mr. Evers does not have a secretary, so this is basically a re-allocation of funds and not a criminal act.

I was at the same meeting you were at and sitting just a few seats behind you. I'm simply amazed that with all your note taking and tape recordings you managed to get this wrong.

I've been going to Town Board meetings and following your blog to try and separate fact from fiction. I have to be honest with you, your blog seems to be more rumor mill, personal vendetta and character assassination than news worthy.

I know that you will never post any of this, or respond to it for that matter. I figured out that you can't take criticism which makes you even less credible.

The North Greenbush Pipeline said...

First of all never presume who you are addressing your comments to.
The Board meeting is on line for all to listen to. No one stated that the overtime was a criminal act. Rather, you might question whether falsifying a public document, an overtime report, to hide the overtime originally charged to the clerk's office, might be construed as falsification of public records.
The Supervisor used a cover to excuse the fact overtime was being charged in the clerk's office. That cover involved his lack of a secretary. Now think about it. Could the overtime have been avoided by having a deputy clerk, or a clerk from the building or comptroller's office, cover the meeting and do so by split shifting the employee so that she was not exceeding the 8 hour workday? I think you know the answer. Poor management of employees results in the expenditure of overtime in a case like this one.
The issue is not whether money for a secretary in the Supervisor's code was allocated in 2009, or 2008 for that matter, the issue is how much of that money had to be expended? Regular time by split shifitng the employee needed or time and a half by permitting additional hours to be spent.
The evidence presented to you here shows a report created by the Comptroller detailing the overtime actually charged to the clerk's code in 2009. The Clerk has refused to release that report despite having it in her possession and repeated foils trying to acces it. Why, because it shows she expended overtime and the budget in her office has no overitme budgeted whatsoever.
If you objectively examine the two reports provided, one by the comptroller and the other fabricated to protect the clerk from being embarrassed, you would not draw a conclusion that this publication is a field for rumor mills.
We have it right, these officials are engaged in a cover-up of the charges expended to the codes in respective offices. Imagine that the Supervisor actually wrote a memo in response to these foils stating that all overtime in the clerk's office was being recharged to his office, not only for 2009, but for 2008, a year with closed books which cannot be amended.
Thanks for the comments. Hope we have disproved your belief we are incapable of accepting debate or honest criticism.

Anonymous said...