Friday, March 20, 2009

The Bookkeeper and Santa Reed...You decide

We have written several blogs regarding the $71,544 overtime payment to Ms. Fairbrother. In each blog we presented FOILed documents for you to read and decide for yourself if Ms. Fairbrother was entitled to receive this "bonus".

Finally, on March 16, 2009, we presented a letter with attachments to the Town Board, Town Attorney Gerald Green and Frank Basile, CPA (the former Town Financial Consultant. Copies of the letter and attachments were sent to the Observer Dispatch, State Comptroller's office, Barone & Howard (town auditors), and Attorney Sciotti from the Hancock & Estabrook law firm whose opinion was the basis for giving Ms. Fairbrother the overtime payment.

We asked the Town Board to give us an explanation of how this matter will be settled. Whether we hear from them or not is yet to be determined.

The letter was sent both as an email and hand-delivered to the Town Clerk's office for distribution through inter-office mail. On March 18, we received an email from the Town Clerk that our letter was distributed to each town board member and the Town Attorney in case they didn't get our email:

Receipt is acknowledged of the "hard copy" of your email below at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2009. Per your request, paper copies have been distributed to the Town Board and Town Attorney.

Gail Wolanin Young

So, here is a copy of just the letter (no attachments) with the Town Clerk's timestamp.

We are also making available a copy of the letter with all the attachments so that you can click on each of the links to view the attachments as you read the letter.

Question - If for two (2) years, 2006 - 2008, the town attorney was being paid by the town to research whether or not Ms. Fairbrother was entitled to overtime and compensatory time, why did the Town Supervisor allow her to continue working all these overtime hours? Why was she still allowed to come to work on her own time schedule and no one said anything to her?
Question - If sometime in 2007 Ms. Fairbrother was told that she no longer was Payroll Officer and the job was given to Personnel, why did Ms. Fairbrother still need to work all those extra hours?
Question - What information did the Town Board and Town Attorney provide to Attorney Sciotti from the Hancock & Estabrook law firm in Syracuse?
Question - Supposedly the Town Attorney researched the matter for two (2) years and billed the town for almost $3,400 in legal fees to do so, did he ever bother to look in town board minutes or ask previous administrations why Ms. Fairbrother was not being paid overtime?
Question - Ms. Fairbrother certainly must have been aware of why she was not being paid overtime, the previous Town Supervisor said she was told by him on several occasions. Ms. Fairbrother obviously knew the deal when she accepted the extra money to do the Payroll, it was stated right in the 1999 minutes. Ms. Fairbrother also knew she never had to take a Civil Service exam to get the job like other town employees have to do...she was appointed. She even told members of Concerned Citizens in casual talk in her office how she got her job. If she felt so strongly about her entitlement to overtime, why didn't she hire an attorney a long time ago to represent her in this matter? Ms. Fairbrother never did hire an attorney; she merely spoke to Town Attorney Green and Attorney Sciotti, the attorney hired by the town to write the Opinion Letter.
How many other town employees are being given "free rein on the taxpayers' dime" like Ms. Fairbrother seems to have enjoyed over the years?

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