Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update on Fire Department Investigation

There are 2 developments on the investigation into allegations involving the Fire Department and its leadership.

First, the New York State Comptroller's Office has announced that they will assist District Attorney Holley Carnright's office. Apparently, the Comptroller will conduct a full and complete audit and review of the entire department. Their assistance brought about the charges in the Police Department matter. Hopefully, their involvement will lead to closure either with the filing of charges or an acquittal of those involved.

Second, we now know more information about the nature of the allegations against former Chief Rea.

It seems the Daily Freeman made a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for records involving the investigation. The Freeman now reports, "In refusing to release Rea’s records, City Clerk Carly Williams said requested paperwork regarding the time Rea spent teaching at a firefighters’ training facility in Montour Falls was part of the investigation."

This means that part of the allegations against Mr. Rea involve whether Mr. Rea actually taught the course or may have been somewhere else instead. This is similar to the allegations and charges still pending against retired Police Officer Vandermark.

I urge all readers to continue to keep in mind that only allegations currently exist against members of the Fire Department. There are no charges formally filed, and all of the people that are the subject of these allegations are innocent until proven guilty.


Anonymous said...

Rich, The deputy chiefs are racking up to OT. The 3 of 4 deputy chiefs (combined) earned over 75k above there base salary in 2011. As you go down the chain of command its just about the same. 15k a year seems the average in the fire dept.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the freeman run a story one year about overtime in the county?The Freeman printed the names and the amount of overtime employees were raking in. Why can't the freeman do the same thing with the City.

Anonymous said...

Wow 9:51,
That is huge amount of money. Something is amiss there for sure. The same seems to be going on at the DPW as well. The two senior plant operators at treatment plant (Ed Herwig and Allen Winchell) made aprox 18k each, a whopping 32k of overtime combined for 2011 and similiar numbers for the year before. The assist superintendant Ed Boyle made 15k for 2011 in O.T.

This MUST be looked into, these numbers cannot be ignored.The daily freeman should post in their newspaper the disparaging high overtime pay paid out to high ranking fire and dpw personnel, which adds up to massive amounts of money for a handful of people. The average employee within the Fire dept or the DPW or REC depts and Cityhall do not make that kind of money in overtime pay. You have 4 or 5 high ranking firemen and three DPW workers that are pulling these unbelievable amounts of overtime.

Anonymous said...

With ALL of these new jobs being created. Is Civil Service Law being followed?

Anonymous said...

Ed Herwig retired a few weeks ago so look for overtime totals to increase for Allen Winchell. We should be thankful that the City has such a loyal and dedicated employee. The treatment plant is a 24-7 operation. If CAMO cannot be there thank God we have employees who can.

This is not as big a drain on the taxpayer as the fire department is. All non profits and churches help pay for this service, through a user fee. The employees at the treatment plnat are only doing as they are told. Procedures have been put in place months ago to avoid what is going on at the fire department.

Employees must punch in and out and sign for there overtime now, as well as the supervisor who oversees the operation. All overtime must be pre approved by the department head.

The overtime at the treatment plant seems like a lot of money, but if we had to hire another shift it would cost 2 or 3 times as much. Hiring just another operator would cost the City over 70k salary plus benefits, and there would still be overtime on the weekends to the tune of 40k plus.

Anonymous said...

Rich the overtime at DPW shows that the foreman make 10 to 11k above there base salary. Laborers at rec and the treatment plant about 5 to 6k. Really does not seem all that disparaging. This is what happens when you downsize a department.

Work still has to get done with a lesser workforce and the only way to do this is with overtime.

Lets not forget the City is saving over 1 million dollars a year in salary and benefits from the workers who were laid off 3 years ago.

The Treatment plant runs 7 days a week and contractually requires overtime every weekend and Holiday.

One senior plant operator must be there to oversee the operation. Its no wonder they make a few thousand more. What would happen if they all declined to work it?

Anonymous said...

5:28 The police are the same way. The City of Kingston has downsized so much that OT is needed to get the work done.

DPW is always working OT.

The firemen thou have overstepped there bounds. Havene had any really big fires that would generate that much OT. With the state comptroller now involved they will get to the bottom ofit.

The Police, DPW and Rec are so understaffed that its the only way they can get the job done is on OT.

Investigate all you want. You wont find a thing out of place.

Anonymous said...

Counselor, me thinks you read too much into Ms. Williams response. All she said was the records are part of the investigation. As you know, investigaors ask for documents for all sorts of reasons. Patience, and all will be revealed in good time . . .

Anonymous said...

state comptrolers office are keeping a lid on a boiling pot. racketeer and corrup orgenization, and sottile at the top...

Anonymous said...

CSEA 111, I mean broadwayjoe, I mean 7:14 and 3:35--making " a few dollars more" couldnt be further from the truth. More like 18k is NOT a few thousand more than the rest of the DPW foremen who truly do make only only a few thousand more and make reasonable overtime. The treatment plant overtime is being paid out at 3 hour callouts,which is wrong no matter how you attempt to lamely spin it. (you were always very poor at doing so, you should stick to bingo on monday nites) The contract is being exploited and all of the overtime is SCHEDULED overtime and needs to be paid out at an hourly rate. Virtually everyone knows that the overtime at the plant needs to be brought under control except for you. Alas, I dont know why i am wasting my breath with you, an individual that once chose to pee his pants on Broadway to make a statement of civil disobedience! LOL! Somehow i dont think thats what Martin Luther King or Thoreau had in mind...

Anonymous said...

3:35, your "loyal and dedicated" employee was caught with his hand in the cookie jar recently, something you know nothing about. Now all thats left is to make sure the man on the Hill gets the news and then LOOK where they need to and we will be better off. Sit tight...

The ex-mayor is up to his chin when it comes to shady shenanigans as well. All good things come to those that wait.

Anonymous said...

Rich: Two years ago during budget hearings the union president talked about the overtime at the treatment plant. Corporation Council was at the table.

The Comptroller was there also and sat directly across from him.

Aldermen then went down and investigated the treatment plant and reported back to the finance committee that there was nothing wrong with the overtime at the treatment plant.

Wheather you like it or not "PM check up" it is now contractual. It has always been the practice of the City to pay 3 hours. This is a thiry year past practice and if the City ever tried to change that practice the union whould have to defend or risk getting sued.

It was also discussed that changing the shifts to avoid that overtime would cost 50% more and the Comptroller agreed with the numbers CAMO presentd.

The Comptroller saw nothing wrong with how the overtime was being done.

Corporation Council saw nothing wrong with the overtime situation at the treatment plant.

The Aldermen and women who went to the treatment to investigate PM check up saw nothing wrong.

9:46 What do you know that they don't??? All you are doing is running your mouth about something you know NOTHING about.

I know you are having fun and I am sure you have no "REMORSE" LOL You know history "Neopolian"

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


I am sick of you Sottile administration sycophants who think you are entitled to taxpayer money and try to justify your behavior through tortured lines of so-called logic, blatant and obvious lies, and highly questionable legal interpretations of the contract.

Unions are necessary to protect workers' rights, but they were never designed to allow its members to abuse overtime and union privileges.

The Council never conducted a detailed investigation of overtime of the treatment plant. The issue was raised first by me and then by Alderman Turco-Levin. We were both ignored by Mayor Sottile and the majority of the Council.

The fact is CAMO is unnecessary. We can run the plant ourselves and save over $75,000, and the second shift change would save $100,000. There is no question about it. As for the contract, it is up for negotiation this year and can and should be changed.

I am hopeful that Mayor Gallo will continue his thus far solid start and have Comptroller Tuey conduct a full investigation of the department and its overtime practices. When this audit reveals abuse of overtime, I am confident that Mayor Gallo will do the right thing, suspend and fire those involved, and refer the matter to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution.

The gravy train has reached its final station.

Anonymous said...

Rich YOu really need to do the math. PM check up costs less than $30,000.00. But, I agree CAMO is not needed.

When employees on your second shift use vacation, sick and personal time Overtime will need to be paid to cover that shift. Costing the taxpayers far more than the $30,000.00 saving. This was brought out at the council meeting.

The comptroller is very capable of doing the math. So why don't you believe him?

Anonymous said...

Rich: The majority of the overtime at the treatment plant is performed on the weekend and Holidays (70%).

An operator and laborer are there for 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The same overtime is worked in all treatment plants in the area. Town of Ulster does the same thing, they are smaller and may only require one person, not quite sure about the safety requirements, I'll get back to you on that.

Simple Math 2 employees for 5 hours each day on the weekend is 20hours of overtime per weekend. 52 weekends in a year is 1040 hours of overtime.

Average overtime rate $35 an hour per employee, is $70 an hour for the 2 workers. Times the 1040 hours needed is $72,800.00. This number does not include Holidays or the added social security payments. Maybe you can find out how much the other areas are paying to use our facility and have them pay more??

No matter what your plan is the overtime still has to be worked on the weekends and holidays..

Anonymous said...

Hear,hear Rich!

Well said on your rebuttal to 10:04's lame excuse for the treatment plant overtime and his poor attempt at spin to justify the abuse of the contract with overtime.( like I said,you were never very good at it, Im not kidding when I urge you to stick to Bingo). 10:04 is fibbing when he says that "aldermen" in the plural, "went down to the treatment plant to investigate". The only alderman that did was former alderman Hayes Clement, who was in the pocket of CAMO and a buttkisser to Sottile. He didnt even look at the time cards of the employees to see if they were punching in and out for overtime and you say that he "investigated"?? I also dont want to hear that crap about past practice when it comes to abusing the overtime clause. It is very clear, overtime is paid out on an hourly basis when it is SCHEDULED a head of time, which is what the treatment plant does . However, the employees under the guidance and direction of Allen winchell and CAMO are paying the employees a three hour callout minimum every nite of the year. (a three hour minimum for overtime only comes into play in the event of an emergency, not for schuduled O.T.) That means they are being paid three times more than what they should,everynite of the year! That is wrong and a blatant miscarriage of the contract, no matter how long it has been going on. IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW,AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO DEFEND IT PERHAPS YOU TOO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. I am a union member myself, but that kind of practice is what gives unions a bad name. The elections for officers in the union cant come quick enough. Big B, you seem to pick and choose arbitrarily what "the union" will defend and not defend...I firmly believe that drug testing should be a factor for employment in the city. The city should press hard for that at the bargaining table,that way we can be rid of those that pose a threat to their coworkers and the city at large. Drug use is against the law.

Anonymous said...

Rich: here is a pertinent fact about the obnoxious overtime at the treatment plant: the so called "P.M." checkup is no longer needed. The senior plant operator has had in the last year or so an alarm system installed, at the taxpayer's expense, a direct line to his home to alert if there is an emergency at the plant in the middle of the nite. Therefore we no longer need to have any employee do a P.M. checkup that was put in place years ago before the alarm system was put into Wichell's home. eliminate the p.m. checkup and you will see a signifant decrease in the 100k overtime budget at treatment plant that is being mismanaged by CAMO and winchell.

Anonymous said...

Rich, I don't always agree with your political ideology but you are spot on with your response to 10:04. I think those individuals who agree with 10:04 are the past administration's failures who are now trying to cover butt before the axe comes down on their shenanigans. I didn't vote for Gallo but he has my support as he tries to root thru the sewage that seemed to permeate certain aspects of government. The past Mayor has to take some blame as he was a "strong" Mayor of which he advocated for. Sottile wanted the title so he was beholden to act like an ethical individual who seeks to bring a sense of rules and order to the city. He fell short. Truman, he wasn't. No buck stopped on his desk....
This needs to be a bi-partisan effort. NO drawing party lines. We all live here and we taxpayers are all victims of this deceit and greed.

Anonymous said...

Rich, 10:04 fails to mention that an alarm system was put in place last year to reach both senior plant operators on holidays and in the evenings in the event of an emergency at the treatment plant. Why do we need personnel to continue to go down and conduct the outdated method of P.M. check-up? How does one defend that stupid yet costly practice? It is a cashcow.

Also, was 10;04 attempting to spell NAPOLEON?? LOL!! Can he spell, SPELLCHECK?

Anonymous said...

just put the sewer plant on a work schudle that would give coverage tuesday thru saturday and sunday thru thursday put hours up for bid by seniorty no overtime pay for weekends. weekends part of work week.

Anonymous said...

9:11, that is great idea--problem solved. get rid of Camo, they are not needed and a drain on the taxpayer, and eliminate the P.M. check-up because the alarm system is in place,and you have just eliminated 100k of unnecessary overtime.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think that the investigation or Rea is centering around whether he was double dipping. When he taught the courses he was not supposed to be paid by the City FD; the State paid him during those days he was teaching. If he was on duty in the city while also accepting payment from the State for teaching a class, he is double dipping, which is actually like Mathews, not Vandemark.He can't be working for two people at the same time.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


Many of the comments I am getting involve bickering back and forth with accusations about people's work ethic, allegations involving union grievances, and claims that someone intentionally peed their pants to make a point.

Frankly, I have had enough.

I am no longer going to post these comments. I will delete them without comment.

If people want to offer opinions about the overtime lines, that is fine. Legitimate opinions on politics and policy are always welcome no matter how poor the argument may be. This "tit for tat" back and forth is coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

Rich-hopefully ALL departments will be looked into, the DPW as a whole department, not just one division of it. The city and state comptroller should be carefully sorting through the mess that the Sottile Administration created. Who knows, perhaps Sottile's hands are dirty too. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

9:11 YOur idea has twice as many workers Tues. Wed and Thurs. than needed. Isn't that a waste of money also. Town of Ulsters treatment plant also operates seven days a week. Six hours on Saturday and Sunday all overtime. Holidays are double time. Only difference is they use one operator and no laborer.

If there was a different way of doing this someone would be doing it.

Anonymous said...

5:45 no people were added for any work day same people only would have half the work force on duty on weekends. nice try to blurr the real issue. no need to pay overtime for weekends when you can split the work force. time to reduce all the gravey for a job that can be done with the people on staff.