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Monday, July 19, 2010

Heads I'm right, tails you're wrong...

In yesterday's Observer Dispatch article, New Hartford bookkeeper ‘retired’ quietly, Supervisor Pat Tyksinski was quoted as saying:
“Fifty percent of the time they are wrong,” he said of the state Comptroller’s Office.
Today's article in the Observer Dispatch, New Hartford bookkeeper's pension jumped 29% in '09 reports that:
Tyksinski said Town Attorney Herbert Cully had been in touch with an attorney with the state Comptroller's Office to determine if there had been a legal breach.

“Herb got told that it was of little significance,” he said.
He went on further to say:
Tyksinski said he has no intention of removing Fairbrother from her job because of the situation.

“If she is doing the same job and doing it well, what is the reasoning?” he said. “Just because she is collecting her New York state retirement?”
According to today's article:

The town has written for a written opinion from the Comptroller's Office clarifying the issue, however.
So now the State Comptroller's Opinion is all that counts because obviously, the Comptroller is the authority on this issue?? So, perhaps as far as Pat is concerned, the Comptroller's office is only correct when they ARE actually agreeing with him???

An article found online says that State Comptroller DiNapoli and Attorney General Cuomo don't see "eye-to-eye" on the subject of pension padding. Perhaps the town should consider getting an opinion from the Attorney General before they make a decision? After all, Attorney General Cuomo is the one that might come knocking on the doors of Butler Hall.

Pat, didn't I see you at the budget hearing last November when Heather Mowat spoke and told everyone that the bookkeeping work was only caught up through April when in August they were trying to put together a budget for the following year?

Didn't Heather Mowat work beaucoup hours to tackle the huge task of moving "debits and credits" around so that the town's transactions would be posted to the right accounts; up until Ms. Mowat's hire, it seemed to be a "crap shoot" whether or not the right accounts would be debited and credited?

How ironic that Ms. Fairbrother claimed she needed to work a lot of overtime between 2002 and 2008 and yet the books were not "up to snuff" and it took a reporter from the Observer Dispatch to discover that almost $3 million was missing from the "rainy day" fund.

And didn't Attorney Sciotti opine that Ms. Fairbrother was due the overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act because she has no advanced degree, does not provide work in a specialized area and her work was, and still is, rather routine in nature? For $58,000 [probably less] we certainly should be able to find someone who could fill those qualifications!

For those that are wondering what Ms. Fairbrother's job description might be, here is a link to it on the Oneida County Civil Service website.

This is the same job description we were given by the Town Clerk when we FOILed it shortly after Ms. Fairbrother received the overtime payment. Notice the Jurisdictional Class according to this job description...EXEMPT!

Pat Tyksinski, Don Backman and Richard were all there at the town board meeting in 1999 when Resolution #200 was adopted giving Ms. Fairbrother a pay increase to compensate her for taking on the payroll function of the town and clearly stating that she is not entitled to overtime and/or compensatory time because she is EXEMPT. Don and Richard voted "aye" for the resolution that clearly says:
...As a civil service exempt employee, the Forty Thousand Dollar ($40,000) salary for Ms. Fairbrother shall encompass all necessary hours to complete bookkeeping and payroll functions and Ms. Fairbrother is not entitled to earn and/or receive overtime and/or compensatory time effective June 7, 1999.
The town clerk has signed a certification that states:
...I did not locate any Resolution adopted by the New Hartford Town Board that amended, repealed, rescinded or otherwise changed No. 200 of 1999 as it relates to Carol Fairbrother's job duties and associated salary.
And even after the payroll functions were taken away from Ms. Fairbrother, sometime between 2006-2008, she did not see any less pay then when she was doing payroll. Same pay for less work!

Given the timeframe in which Ms. Fairbrother received the unauthorized overtime and the date of Ms. Fairbrother's "retirement", one can only surmise that the ultimate goal was "pension-padding" for the best case scenario; or was something else really going on? According to the Attorney General's website, pension padding is "the manipulation of salary and overtime payments that leads to inflated pensions at the expense of taxpayers".

Pat was the town comptroller back in 1999 when Resolution #200 was adopted specifying that Ms. Fairbrother's employment was exempt from overtime and compensatory he is the Town Supervisor and Ms. Fairbrother is his appointment; meaning that she did not have to take a civil service test for the job and the town supervisor is the only person that can ask for her resignation with no explanation given because Ms. Fairbrother serves "at the pleasure of the town supervisor". The town board is powerless when it comes to whether Ms. Fairbrother goes or stays. Prior to her employment with the Town of New Hartford, Ms. Fairbrother was the New York Mills Village Clerk.

Perhaps Pat might want to think over his options...sticking it to the people and leaving the rest of the town board in a position of having to sit and watch from afar whilst their constituents "reel over" this revelation could come back to bite him right in the behind at some point in time; perhaps sooner rather than later!

Sorry Pat, we're not with you on this one!

Have an opinion? Contact the town supervisor's office by dialing (315)733-7500 x2332 or sending him an email. We are sure he would like to hear your thoughts.


The Attorney General’s office urges individuals with knowledge of any questionable pension padding practices to contact the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau by telephone at 212-416-8090 or by email.

Strikeslip at Fault Lines also has some thoughts on this mess...Come Clean, New Hartford...


Anonymous said...

Our new town supervisior seems to be the second coming of E.Reed. The only difference is in their degree of incompetence Earle scoing a`10+ and and Mr.T a cirrently scoring an 8 but climbing all the time.

Anonymous said...

I think it is prophetic and appropriate that Reed and Tyksinski are pictured together in the editoral page of today's OD. Pat is working hard to be the second worst Town Supervisor in New Hartford History.

Anonymous said...

If she is doing the job well Whats the difference? the dif is that she is a double dipper State pension, social security, and a town position at top of her grade that's three checks every month that's GREED! there are plenty of New Hartford people out of work! that could do this job. and save their home if given the chance!S.O.S

Anonymous said...

So Dave Reynolds is now "troubled" that the board didn't know that Fairbrother retired. Dave, you were the Deputy Town Supervisor when all of this occurred. If you knew about it, then you are complicit in the corruption. If you didn’t know then you were incompetent and negligent. Which way is it Dave?

Anonymous said...

What is that SMELL when you drive by Butler Hall? OH that must Be the Town Board! They should all resign they all smell the same.

Anonymous said...

If someone would dig deeper into the common practices occurring in the town of New Hartford they would find many more examples of double dipping. There are people working 2nd jobs at the same time they are on "the clock" for their 1st jobs!