Village OK’s emergency road to school

CHATHAM–The Village Board has approved paid leave and vacation time for the clerk, deputy clerk and police chief.

The board adopted the policy at its regular meeting last Thursday, August 14. All three positions are part time, with the police chief working 20 hours a week and the two clerks working 30 hours a week each.At the meeting the board also adopted a motion allowing the Chatham School District to build a gravel roadway from Shore Road through park lands near the village water pump house and intersecting the existing road to and from the elementary and high school campus. “This is an alternative route,” district Business Administrator Michael Chudy said at the August 14 meeting.

Mr. Chudy also stressed that this was one step in a long process leading to construction of the road for emergency vehicles. He said that the Board of Education would have to look for funding for the road as well as seek state approval, since the road will go through parkland. “This allows us to start moving forward,” he told the member of the Village Board.

Mayor Tom Curran said there would be gates up at the entrances to the road so that only authorized vehicles could use it.

“At least it’s another access,” said board member Lenore Packet.

The meeting started with a public hearing on Local Law # 1, which would place a moratorium on subdivisions and commercial or industrial construction projects in the village for one year while the village Comprehensive Plan Committee finishes its work on a new plan for the village. Lael Locke, who sits on the committee, was the only person at the meeting who commented on the law. She said the committee is working as fast as it can to create the plan.

A similar moratorium adopted by the board last year expired in June. The board will vote on the new law at the next meeting, August 28.

As for the new benefits for village employees, Mayor Curran told the board that adding the vacation and sick time to for the employees was “a small incentive to say thank you.” He also said, “It’s a way to keep good employees.”

The part-time employees do not receive other benefits from the village, and the paid leave was adopted based on what members of the unionized bargaining units receive. These three employees are not covered under union agreements.

“We were going to part-time clerk… to cut down on expenses,” said Trustee Jay Rippel, who voted against giving the employees the time. He told the board, approving this was a step toward hiring a full-time clerk with full benefits.

Until recent years the board did have a full-time clerk/treasurer and a full-time police chief for many decades. The board made the positions part-time two years ago, and for a short time had a village administrator and a clerk. Recently the village administrator, Barbara Henry, moved into the position of clerk/treasurer and the board hired a part-time deputy clerk.

A majority of the board approved the paid sick leave and personal days, and approved earned vacation time that is capped at three weeks a year.

The board also talked about getting ready for the Columbia County Fair, which starts August 27 and ends September 1. The board approved having No Parking signs placed on one side of Washington Avenue during the fair. Police Chief Paul Volkmann said he would have extra police stationed by the Chatham Plaza intersection. He did not know whether fairgoers would be able to park there, since the old Price Chopper supermarket in the plaza is now closed.

The next board meeting will be a special session Thursday, August 28 at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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