Jerusalem debates on overtime, time clock go on

Gary Pinneo

The town of Jerusalem has not received any petitions to force a referendum on the matter, so the office of

Jerusalem Town Assessor is now legally an appointed, rather than elected position. ?Now, the town can advertise the position. But once again, the issue of the acting assessor’s refusal to use a time clock has resulted in conflict on the town board.

Saying he wants to be fair to all hourly employees who are required by code to punch a time card, Supervisor Daryl Jones does not wish to set a precedent by exempting one from the rule.

At last week’s board meeting, Councilman Max Parsons explained Alan Comstock, the former elected assessor, has retired, but agreed to stay on until the town can appoint a qualified assessor. Having worked the salaried position for so many years, Comstock is willing to fill out time sheets, but not punch a clock.

Ultimately, the board voted to allow Comstock to fill out time sheets. From the public, Elden Morrison suggested “throwing the time clocks in the creek,” describing them as “dehumanizing.” In a telephone interview, Comstock said, “I’ve done this work for years with no question about time, and I’m continuing to do the same job at an agreed amount of $300 per week.”

Morrison also commented on Mike Folts’s previous vote on the appointment of Larson Design Group (which employs Folts’ son) as an engineering firm for the town;  “It defies common sense that there isn’t a conflict of interest.” But it does not defy New York State law, according to town attorney Philip Bailey.

Overtime pay for part time employees working more than the standard eight or 10-hour day for exceptional or emergency duties, threatened to become just as heated as last time, until it was agreed to table the matter for discussion by the personnel committee.

County Chairman Taylor Fitch reported the county is considering selling the Home Health Care Agency and the sole certificate it holds.  He said the certificate is a valuable commodity, and outside providers may prove to be more economical, given that they work more hours per week.

Fitch also answered questions from  Councilman Neil Simmons regarding the share Jerusalem pays for elections. Fitch explained that the 31 percent quoted by Simmons is not an extra bill. It is just a breakdown of what the town’s share of the costs are, and like all other county costs, is based on assessment; Jerusalem pays 31 percent across the board for sheriff’s services, highway maintenance, etc.

In a lighter moment, when explaining the state cuts to the Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol and increased costs to the county, Fitch pointed out to Simmons that since Jerusalem has more shoreline than any other town, it is getting more than its 31 percent share of Marine Patrol services.

In other business;

• Highway Superintendent Robert Payne is worried about the fuel budget. They are now paying $3.42 per gallon for diesel, far above the projected cost of $2.60.

• Town Engineer Wayne Ackart reports that progress is being made on the townhouse project.

• Accepted the resignation of Mary St. George from the Assessment Review Board, and appointed Ed Webb in her place.

• Appointed Patricia Powers as Deputy Court Clerk.

•  Set town “Clean Up Day” as June 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.