Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Come Clean, New Hartford . . .

It seems like a week can't go by without some revelation suggesting corruption in New Hartford.

Late last week it was the Town Bookkeeper collecting retirement while collecting her regular salary.  In December 2008 we found out that the same bookkeeper was paid overtime even though she was an exempt employee. Of course, these two stories are connected and cumulative because today we find out that the Bookeeper's pension suddenly increased 29% -- more than likely due to the overtime.

The weird goings-on in New Hartford are not limited to the Bookkeeper.  We still do not have a satisfactory explanation on how The Hartford office building ever got the permissions to be built because it was located outside the New Hartford Business Park.  We still do not have an adequate explanation on the Fees In Lieu of Mitigation situation, where fees were collected and seemingly transferred from mitigating impacts of one development to others that were unrelated.

As noted on New Hartford Online,
Ms. Fairbrother supposedly retired on Friday, June 1, 2007, and according to Attorney Green's invoices, one day after she met with him to discuss "accounting/bookkeeping concerns".
This suggests that the former Town Attorney may have the information the public is looking for. The former Town Attorney certainly seems to have been involved in all of the situations where questions remain.
The Town paid a lot of money to the attorney for advice, including a lot of "memos" that he billed for in his invoices.  Where are the memos?  What is in them?  One may expect that the memos could reveal the key plays and players in all the questionable goings-on that are surfacing.

While the attorney cannot release this information on his own because of the attorney-client privilege, the Town as his client can DIRECT him to do so.

For some reason the Town Board has been reluctant to authorize release of this information to the public.

At this point, without a Town Board authorization to release this information, the public is justified in assuming that the individuals on the Town Board were somehow involved.


Anonymous said...

There are a number of separate issues here. Pension padding - or the possibility of it - is a serious matter and should be investigated, now. If the taxpayers of this state are being swindled to the tune of $9540 a year by a scheme to increase Ms. Fairbrother's state pension by giving her unearned overtime, we need to have it stopped, the unfair payments repaid, and those involved in allowing it to happen held accountable.

In the OD's editorial that concern is being buried in a discussion about how she is collecting both retirement and a salary - like that is intrinsically bad. How many retired people out there are receiving retirement program payouts and also receiving a paycheck? Lots. It's not even unusual.

Okay, the number of those people working after retirement that are holding the same job as they did BEFORE they retired is probably pretty small. That part of this is a bit weird. But the state's pension program rules make it acceptable so Ms. Fairbrother having taken advantage of the rules isn't contemptible. If she was doing a good job when she retired and continues to do a good job, there really is no reason to condemn her just because she makes what is pretty good money for these parts. She's still only receiving her salary for her work for the town. Her pension is compensation for work done over many years. She earned it under the rules.

The question New Hartford Online brings up, though, about the quality of the work that is and has been done, are serious. Since she serves at the pleasure of the town supervisor, I assume only Pat Tyksinski can tell us the answer.

Greens and Beans said...

It sounds that the Town of New Hartford’s political corruption has not waned. Town Supervisor Tyksinski shows his approval of this rather unethical double dip when he said that he “. . . has no intention of removing Fairbrother from her job because of the situation. “If she is doing the same job and doing it well, what is the reasoning?” he said. “Just because she is collecting her New York state retirement?” Ah . . . Do you think ethics could have something to do with it?

Wow! Tyksinski is setting some kind of unethical leadership example. With an “exempt” employee being allowed to illegally collect overtime, sanctioning their surreptitious retirement that resulted in an undue burden to the New York State taxpayers, there is no wonder that town taxes have risen through the roof.

He is behaving as if we have a perfect 100% employment in this faltering recessionary economy. Who is he trying to kid? If New Hartford were to advertise for Fairbrother’s replacement, at the present $58,714.00 salary, we would see a line of applicants that would wrap around Town Hall. Instead of calling for an independent investigation into this matter, one gets the feeling that Supervisor Tyksinski and company would rather sweep this mess under the Town of New Hartford’s big political rug.

Anonymous said...

The underlying questions relating to the Bookeeper is why she was given what is obviuosly special treatment, who authorized it and who knew about it? Illegal or not, there is no question that the arrangement was not ordinary. The overtime payout was the highest I've ever heard of in a government circumstance around here and the "retirement" with no retirement process very unusual in the way it was carried out. Finally, in the small town of New Hartford, it seems highly unlikely town board members were in the dark. Of course, those same members were also inthe dark about a disappearing couple of $ million. A Bookeeper knows where the money is. One must assume the towm money issue was part of whatever went on. The OD is soft balling the matter. A full public airing and investigation is warranted.

Silence Dogood said...

Like a full public airing and investigation is going to happen lol. How many others like this are out there in a lot of other towns, villages and cities. The practice of padding OT and double dipping has been going on so long nobody wants to investigate it because it would screw up their chances to get in on the action someday

Mango Man said...


These two website addresses pretty much tell it all. Carol Fairbrother was NOT authorized the overtime nor compensatory time.

Why then was she paid $71,544? Plain and simple, to keep her mouth shut re: all the accounting irregularities.

Go to:



Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how working for a paycheck while collecting a retirement income that took years of earnings to obtain is inherently "double dipping". I agree that there are issues here that need to be examined but it's wrong to cloud them with indignation about a person, any person, collecting a paycheck for current work while also collecting an income from a retirement program they contributed to through an established process for many, many years. That's like telling the elderly folks who greet you at Walmart that they have to give up their jobs or stop collecting social security.

Let's stick to demanding clarification of the truly suspicious activities.

Mango Man said...


The person was deceitful and did not follow the Town's Handbook on what was necessary.

Too, there was obviously someone else helping her (i.e. town personnel officer?)

The town bookkeeper could not have done this by herself. She had help and we will soon find out who the parties were to this "assistance?"

Lastly, the $71K was ILLEGALLY earned. Click on the websites given above. Read the 1999 Board Resolution, then tell me that she was just doing her job?

Anonymous said...

There seems to be confusion for some. Many double dip and there is nothing wrong or illegal about it. The issue in New Hartford has nothing to do with double dipping. It is that of questionable and extreme overtime compiled and the approval process that enabled it, the retirement process itself and the lack of controls and knowledge by those overseeing the town's finances.

Anonymous said...

Is that why several "interim" superintendents and school attorneys were forced, by the state attorney general to return millions to the school districts for double dipping?

Anonymous said...

I think it's called "hush money". She knows where the bodies are buried.

Anonymous said...

Again, double tipping is not illegal if carried on within the rules governing earnings limitations. These apply to those under 65. Pension padding and double dipping are separate matters.