Tempers Flare At Cassadaga Meeting

CASSADAGA – The day was hot and the meeting room was not air-conditioned.

Discussion between the board and Street Supervisor Thomas Fetter added to the heat at the recent meeting of the Cassadaga Village Board.

When Fetter gave his report, the discussion, while conducted without raised voices, became contentious.

Fetter did receive praise from board members for his actions during the water emergency caused by a car hitting a fire hydrant on Dale Drive.

Matters became strained when Fetter demanded Trustee Michael Lehnen apologize to some workers. When Fetter began naming names, Mayor LeeAnn Lazarony stopped him, and said the matter belonged in executive session.

Lehnen agreed with the idea of an executive session. Lazarony asked Fetter to go on with the report.

Fetter continued past the item. He said he didn’t have time for some of the items the board wanted done. In one case, the board agreed to offer compensatory time to the laborer in the village so that a task involving the beach could be done.

The board told Fetter to buy paint for a project that might be assigned to a person doing community service.

Fetter said, “I don’t want to get the paint if the guy’s not going to show up.”

Trustee Culverwell said, “We are going to need to paint the building, so we should get the paint.”

Lazarony said, “I bought paint and left it over the winter. It was fine.”

Another problem surfaced during Trustee Ronald DeChard’s report.

He said, “For the past three years, the board has been asking you (Fetter) to give more details about how you are spending your time. … I also do not want to see any comments about people on this sheet. These reports are FOIL-able. (subject to the Freedom of Information act).”

Fetter asked whether other village employees had to fill out this information.

Trustee Valerie Culverwell said, “That doesn’t matter. Different types of reporting may be appropriate for different types of employees.”

DeChard added, “It works both ways. This is protection for you, too.”

DeChard described situations where documentation would be helpful. He also said that if an activity takes significant time, it would be all right to indicate that by drawing an arrow through several time blocks on the form.

Trustee Jeffrey Frick said that he would be happy to work with Fetter to design a form that would be easier for him. He also made an appointment with Fetter to work on the type of documentation needed for doing periodic checks of fire hydrants.

At the end of the meeting, the board did go into executive session to deal with a personnel matter.