The Kingston Times wrote a story about Sottile's involvement with the Salzmann case, though they did not mention the affidavit allegedly signed by Sottile.
In the article, Mayor Gallo is quoted as follows:
“There was an agreement between the prior mayor and the former fire chief to be able to literally take time off, to be paid for time off that he did not earn. I had no knowledge of that and if I had I would have advised that mayor, ‘What you’re doing is unlawful.' "
The District Attorney confirmed that Sottile had been interviewed during the investigation. He would not say whether Sottile confirmed Salzmann’s claim that he had been instructed to file the way he did.
Sottile said that Mayor Gallo’s claim that he had acted unlawfully was “ridiculous.” However, he refused to discuss the rest of the matter. Sound like he has been advised to keep quiet??
Now comes the really interesting part. No charges are being brought against Salzmann for being overpaid as alleged by the report from the State Comptroller. Instead, the charges relate to subsequent filings. When Chief Salzmann was asked to explain the discrepancies, he filed new documents in an attempt to hide the truth. His misdemeanor charges relate only to the later filings. He is charged with the cover up and not the crime.
The District Attorney was quoted as saying that the improper payments will not be prosecuted. Apparently, the claims of Salzamann that Sottile authorized him to do it is being accepted as a proper defense. Put another way, if your boss orders you to file false papers dealing with taxpayer money, this is not a criminal matter in Ulster County.
I have always supported and respected Holly Carnright, but must strongly disagree on this one. This entire matter should be submitted to a Grand Jury to consider charges against Salzmann, Sottile, and anyone else who either engaged in this conduct or authorized it. To do nothing sets forth a terrible precedent. Basically, where a city department head receives payment to which he is not entitled, no criminal prosecution will result in Ulster County so long as the Mayor or other supervisor told him it was okay. Be careful though. If you later try to cover up something that is apparently not criminal, then you have committed a crime. The person who authorized you in the first place never gets prosecuted.
Does any of that sound fair or just?? Should the prior administration get away with this charade? Those of you who railed against the County Jail prosecution ran by former ADA Schreibman, where is your outrage now?
I say put this entire matter before the Grand Jury. Let them hear all of the evidence and testimony. Let them make a decision. If they decide to drop it after hearing all of the evidence, fine -- that's our system of justice. But to do nothing and allow potentially guilty parties to get away with this abuse and waste of taxpayer money is wrong.