Over the past several years, the Village of Corfu has hired police officers without the Board of Trustees ratifying the new hires.
The apparent oversight came up during a discussion Monday night of Mayor Ralph Peterson hiring two part-time police officers.
Peterson acknowledge that he hired the officers. He said the village department will need more manpower in July because Darien Lake has a packed concert schedule for the month.
Mark Boylan, attorney for the village, said that in the past week it's come to his attention the police officers hired in recent years were hired without being properly ratified by a vote of the trustees.
Those past hires without board approval do not justify new hires by Peterson without board authorization, Boylan said.
Trustees expressed concern that the two new officers were hired without interviews, filling out an application form or passing a background check.
Village resident Greg Lang said he saw the two new officers working on Sunday and Officer Gene Nati said he worked with one of the officers on Sunday.
Before the end of the meeting, the trustees agreed that seven officers had been hired without proper board authorization and passed a resolution authorizing all seven hires.
Peterson is expected to interview the two new officers and ask that the board ratify their employment at a future board meeting.
Trustee Art Ianni expressed frustration that Peterson hired two officers -- an expenditure of $5,000 or $6,000 -- without board discussion.
"Can't we have a little discussion here?" Ianni asked.
Peterson said the new hires were within budget.
Lang accused Peterson of trying ram through the hires and once again being "dictatorial."
"Don't say I've got to stop talking," Lang said. "I'm a taxpayer in this community. One of the highest taxpayers in this community and this is ridiculous. What's going on, Rosie? You keep just going and going and going. What's going to be the next meeting, Rosie? I can't stand it any more, sitting here looking at this. It's absolutely ridiculous."
The meeting started with an update on the joint Pembroke-Corfu sewer project.
Bids have been received from contractors and the cost of Corfu's part of the project will run $750,000 more than budgeted.
Both Corfu and Pembroke have received Department of Environmental Conservation grants for the project -- for Corfu, grants to help pay for upgrades to the sewer treatment plant and for Pembroke grants to help pay for transmission lines.
The state favors the project moving forward as a joint facility because of the potential economic development in the area, which is why the Genesee County Economic Development Center is putting in more than $800,000 into the project.
Bids for Pembroke's share the project are approximately $750,000 less than budgeted, so if the DEC and Comptroller's Office will approve the transfer, some of Pembroke's grant money will go to Corfu, plus a portion of the money pledged by GCEDC will help offset the higher-than-anticipated bids.
As part of the deal, rate payers in Pembroke's sewer district will pay 3 percent less than the rate originally set. The decrease will mean that both Corfu and Pembroke rate payers will pay $6.24 per thousand gallons of sewage.
The issue of Peterson trying to get former Trustee Al Graham banned from the sewer treatment plant was also discussed.
Peterson said he had an agreement with the owner of Camden Group, Graham's employer and contractor that runs the sewer plant, that Graham be barred from the facility.
Trustees were unanimous in telling Peterson that they thought Graham should be allowed on the property and that his expertise would be necessary during the sewer project.
Peterson said it's always been his position that if Trustee David Bielec, who is the trustee in charge of overseeing the sewer project, wanted Graham involved, than Graham could have access to the sewer property.
Bielec said he did want Graham to participate.
The board also voted 3-0, with Peterson and Trustee Keith Busch abstaining, to authorize Boylan to take legal action to recover more than $10,000 in alleged missing funds from former village justice Robert Alexander.
Peterson tried to question whether it's been proven that the funds are missing. Boylan said the village has a Comptroller's audit showing the funds are missing. He said that by law, Alexander is obligated to pay the village back for the missing funds, regardless of how the funds went missing.
Busch said he abstained because he wasn't a trustee at the time the missing funds issue first surfaced.
Peterson wasn't going to vote at all on the motion -- until goaded by village residents in attendance to say what his vote was.
Top photo: Trustee Ianni with Peterson, while Ianni complains about the lack of discussion for hiring two new police officers.