The Fredonia Village Board officially chopped several positions from the payroll, while adding a few more spots at the same time.
During a recent meeting, the board followed through with eliminating one street department laborer, one water treatment plant operator trainee and one full-time assistant clerk to the justice (reducing that position to part-time), all as part of the first of several waves of layoffs due to the impending closure of Carriage House and the phasing out of its 425 local jobs up through February.
The village's layoffs are retroactive to the start of the new fiscal year, June 1. Trustee Marc Ruckman voted "nay" on letting the employees go.
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
The Fredonia Village Board recently made a number of staffing changes, including eliminations and additions. Pictured, from left: Trustees Susan Mackay and Phyllis Jones, Village Administrator Richard St. George and Mayor Stephen Keefe.
The village faced a nearly $1.5 million gap in its initial budget proposal, including property taxes and water and sewage revenues, as a result of the Carriage House closure announcement in March.
"What we're trying to do is cut that deficit in the first year," Mayor Stephen Keefe said. "These staffing cuts are the beginning of it. Carriage House operations are still at 100 percent, so at this point, we haven't lost anything. We're trying to prepare as phases of the closure begin."
Additional layoffs should include another street department laborer, as well as four positions at the sewer plant. The street department also lost all seasonal employees and the police department scrapped two part-time officers.
In an effort to add an alternate revenue stream, two part-time employees were hired by the board to join the fire department and sustain a paid emergency medical services program; Benjamin Siracuse and Alexander Kurgan, both of Fredonia, will take on the roles of firefighters/advanced emergency medical technicians at $12.25 per hour, not to exceed 20 hours a week.
In a related matter, the board also awarded the handling of the ambulance billing service to Enhanced Management Services Inc. of Danville, Pa., at a rate of $20 per trip leg and subject to receipt of the contract for review.
"They were the lowest bidder and, in addition, they've worked with Brooks Hospital before and are the same carrier that Dunkirk has, so there's a few good incentives here," Keefe pointed out.
Ruckman voted against both measures dealing with paid emergency transport.
"The way I look at it right now is we're able to charge now for what we're already doing, namely emergency transport, and we can bring in revenues, plus save the deductible for the residents of the village and the town," Keefe explained. "I think that's the positives (of the new paid ambulance service)."
Other staffing changes were also approved by the board, including the appointment of James Hobbs of Fredonia as part-time seasonal Russell Joy Park attendant at $8.50 per hour for the summer season. Christine Decker of Fredonia was appointed to the new part-time assistant clerk to the justice position at an hourly rate of $15. J. Christopher Dean was permitted to act as an electrical inspector for the village.
The following people were appointed to seasonal positions for this year's summer recreation programs: Jacob Dulski, Brianna Garland, Samuel Leone, Angela Mackowiak, Nicholas Miller, Kirsten Reinhardt, Daniel Siracuse, Kayla Sullivan, Francesca Sysol, Eric Vara, Julie Arnold, Vincent Ippolito (coordinator) and Emma Ouweleen. Everyone, with the exception of Ouweleen, are returning staff. All individuals, except Ippolito, will earn $8 an hour; Ippolito will earn $10.50 an hour.
Combined with the town of Pomfret, the number of seasonal employees for the recreation program dropped from 34 to 23 this year.
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