Fredonia Trustee Joseph Cerrie had a lot to say about a recent OBSERVER editorial at the end of the regular village board meeting.
"I hate doing this, because one thing that (former Mayor Frank) Pagano told me is never get in a fight with a company that has a million rolls of paper and gallons of ink, but on July 1, (the OBSERVER) wrote an article, "How does this rehire control expenses," Cerrie said, and read the editorial.
The editorial stated, "Clerk work, part-time, at $20.38 per hour. And, not only will the worker collect that rate per hour, but she also will be collecting a pension on top of whatever work she does for the village. Sound like a bargain?"
Cerrie said the expense is small and justified. "As a senior board member for the village, one thing we do is support our employees of the village, and I don't like seeing misinformation out in the paper, especially when it's one of our employees," he said.
The facts, Cerrie said, are in dispute.
"A couple facts as stated in this ... we hired a clerk back at $20.38 an hour. That is correct. The reason is that we have a payroll clerk retiring, and a water and sewer clerk retired on June 11. At this time, we currently have three full-time employees in the clerk's office, and that includes our administrator, Rick St. George," Cerrie explained.
"The individual that we hired back was ... our payroll clerk. The payroll clerk does many reports to the state of New York, and that is mandated by the state of New York, and that includes pension costs and taxes associated with it," Cerrie continued.
Cerrie said the expense is justified, because while the hourly rate is high, the hours will be few. "The person we hired back will work quarterly, and maybe a one-day work week, and maybe only four hours at that. That equals about $328 for the year, so it's kind of misleading," he said.
Other cuts have been made, according to Cerrie. "We reduced our staff down from six and a half employees down to ... four and a half employees. ... I guess what I'm saying is back in April, when we were doing our budget, we should have had a tax increase for the $328 increase we're going to be paying this 30-year plus employee," he said.
"I apologize to the residents that we do have to hire this person, but it's a person that we (hired to train another employee). If you have any questions for board members, our numbers are in the book, but that's our explanation and I'm sticking to it," Cerrie concluded.