Living arrangements for SF employee questioned, board members call for change

Members of the Seneca Falls Town Board say the time for change is now in two different areas.

One involves a rental-waiver situation involving a Town employee, identified as Chief Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Joe Tullo; and the way debris left alongside area-roadways is treated.

“We’re definitely going to be drawing documents for [Chief Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator] Joe [Tullo] to review and start charging rent,” Ferrara explained. “Hopefully this will be resolved, but unfortunately as a Town we shouldn’t be in the business of renting houses.”

He added, “I believe we should advertise and sell this property. I believe a long time ago the person who ran the plant would live there, rent free, to be on-site, but times have changed.”

Douglas Avery, a Town Board member said the issue was a unilateral decision to suspend a rental agreement between the Town and Tullo. “The result was, in essence, a $6,000 per year raise,” he explained. “Joe had been paying $500 per month.”

“Whether or not Joe deserves the raise is not an issue here,” he continued. “He works hard, but so does everyone else. Salary adjustments for other employees this spring have been very contentious,” he added, pointing to the Town Supervisor’s record of voting against employee raises. “What’s important to note, however, is that these salary proposals were always debated publicly, and then voted upon by the entire Town Board. In this instance, the Supervisor acted unilaterally and behind closed doors.”

Ferrara added that things have changed significantly over the years. “The operation has changed, too, and we should sell this along with other properties that we have and maintain.”

Avery said that he hoped it would simply make it to a public discussion, where everything could be considered. “My hope is that we put this officially on the table, and decide as a board whether or not the situation warrants a pay adjustment of this magnitude at this time,” he concluded.

It’s unclear if this issue will come before the full-board at next month’s regularly scheduled meeting.

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