FULTONVILLE — The village has hired town of Mohawk bookkeeper Tina Sweet to handle the bookkeeping and treasurer duties for the village’s 2017-18 fiscal year.
Acting Village Mayor Linda Petterson-Law said Sweet has been hired on a part-time basis for a salary of $12,000. She will serve for the remainder of the year.
Sweet’s salary will be less than the $27,900 the village had paid former deputy clerk and bookkeeper Kathy DiMezza for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
A controversy over $18,000 in proposed raises for former village clerk/treasurer Tom DiMezza and his wife, Kathy, preceded the resignation of the DiMezzas on May 3, along with Mayor Ryan Weitz.
Petterson-Law was voted acting mayor by the village board of trustees to replace Weitz on Monday and village trustee Robyn Rose was named deputy mayor.
Tom DiMezza had served as the village’s clerk/treasurer for 24 years and his departure represents a major sea change for the village, as he was largely responsible for the writing of the village’s annual budgets and many other aspects of the day-to-day operations at the village. Phone calls to the village are still answered by a system that uses Tom DiMezza’s voice.
Petterson-Law said she is separating the offices of clerk and treasurer, giving the treasurer duties to Sweet as the new bookkeeper/treasurer. She said she envisions the clerk position will be about a 20-hour per week part-time job.
“This is how we’re going to start and we’ll make an adjustment about that a little bit down the road when we see how we’re operating,” she said. “We don’t have a clerk yet, but the clerk will be the one who is here during the days when we have our office hours. Filling the clerk position is our next priority. We have some qualified people who are interested, and we’ll go through the process, and we’ll make a decision.”
Petterson-Law said the village will also be bringing in a private accounting firm, Fonda-based VanNostrand & Company, to review the village’s books, and help the village develop procedures and processes to help “streamline our operation.”
She said VanNostrand & Company will be paid $100 per hour, with hours approved by the mayor and the village trustees.
One of the bones of contention during the tenure of the DiMezzas was the desire by some members of the trustees to establish regular office hours for the village clerk. One of the barriers to that had been mold that has apparently developed inside the clerk’s office in village hall, which former mayor Ryan Weitz said was an unhealthy environment; he said he was uncomfortable assigning the clerk to work there.
The DiMezzas had established a practice of performing most of the village’s clerk duties off-site, with village permits available by download from the village’s website, fultonville.org.