GERMANTOWN—Last month the Town Board approved the hiring of Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt, retired New York State Police superintendent, as a consultant to “conduct a management and feasibility study of the Germantown Police Department.” But the department has already changed.
Supt. Corbitt’s report is expected later this month or in early July, town Supervisor Robert Beaury said after the June 12 Town Board meeting. A discussion of the study is scheduled for the board’s July 10 meeting.
Officer-in-charge of the two-person GPD, Brian DuBois, is on paid administrative leave. Mr. Beaury wrote in a June 19 email: “no further comment.”
Officer Damon Filli was axed at the June 12 meeting, his appointment rescinded because, the supervisor said, “he didn’t take an oath of office.”
Reached after the meeting, Mr. Filli said he thought he was still on the GPD until a day after the Town Board meeting, when he received a letter informing him of the change. Mr. Filli confirmed that he had served “for a short while” in 2006 and then returned in 2016 after being offered a job with the GPD. Things went “smoothly,” he said, until January of this year.
“I took the oath when I was hired,” Mr. Filli explained. In all of the police jobs he had worked “we were sworn in when we were first hired, not yearly. Mr. Beaury initiated that we be sworn in every year.”
The Town Board, at the request of Mr. Beaury, also abolished the Board of Police Commissioners. Councilmen Ron Moore II and John Kukon had served on that board, along with Martin Lueck. “We had more commissioners than officers,” Mr. Beaury said in proposing the change. Instead, the Police Department will report to the entire Town Board.
At Mr. Beaury’s request, the Town Board also authorized him to enter into an agreement with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for coverage during court sessions. Previously, the Germantown Police Department provided that coverage.
In other business:
• The board tabled until July a proposed Local Law regarding “Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate Members.” During the five minutes allotted for a Public Hearing on this new law, it became evident that the law was at best confusing in the way it was written. Despite the law’s having been vetted by the Columbia County Planning Board, Mr. Beaury and town attorney Tal Rappleyea had to explain twice what it actually meant until Mr. Beaury said, “Yes, there is a disconnect between what’s written and what we meant.”
When Ellen Jouret-Epstein asked why they wrote it all, Mr. Beaury said it was because the ZBA hadn’t been able to “get a quorum” for several meetings, “but the law has to apply to both boards.”
In response, ZBA member Joseph Guida said he couldn’t remember the last time the ZBA did not have a quorum. After the meeting Mr. Guida commended ZBA secretary Jami Del Pozzo for routinely calling ZBA members to make sure that enough would attend to constitute a quorum.
“I stand by my statement that [the law] was intended to get a working quorum for the ZBA,” Mr. Beaury wrote in an email Tuesday
• The board authorized a repair of approximately $8,000 to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. After a May 16 inspection of the plant by the state Department of Environmental Conservation that called the plant, overall, “marginal,” the board decided that this particular repair, to the backup system, could not wait for the planned renovation of the plant, which is still a year away. The DEC did not give the town a deadline for the repair, but the board moved ahead with hiring a contractor recommended by Delaware Engineering
• Amy Davison was appointed alternate to the ZBA
• Roy Brown, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, and Michael Lawson, department chief of Germantown Hose Company No. 1, made a presentation on the company’s need for a new fire truck. District residents will vote on the new truck, but a date has not been set. The fire company is preparing to host 42 fire companies, in and out of county, Saturday, July 28 for the annual firefighters’ parade and convention. A public presentation on the new truck will be scheduled at the firehouse in August
• Sign-ups for Camp Palatine continue through Saturday, June 23.
All board members and about 40 residents attended the meeting. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.