I’ve saved Berne money, sharing services with Rensselaerville

To the Editor:

They say “Let sleeping dogs lie”; well, I’m not going to take this lying down!

Imagine my disappointment to receive only an email on Jan. 2, 2020 that I was terminated from my position of 12.5 years with the town of Berne. The email was sent by the town clerk, Anita Clayton, and cc’d to the town’s attorney, Mr. [William] Conboy, with absolutely no explanation or advanced warning.

On Jan. 4, 2020, Highway Superintendent Randy Bashwinger reached out to me to see why he was getting phone calls about my termination. I explained the email.

He offered to make a few calls to find out what happened. When he got back to me, he explained that the town has an old policy to hire residents first. Really? In my 12.5 years, no one has ever said anything to me about this policy. If that’s the case, wouldn’t you think this would be a yearly issue?

I have worked under three supervisors during my employment with the town of Berne, with the last two years being under Supervisor Sean Lyons. Why is this an issue now and not before?

I understand Mr. [Jody] Jansen has lived in the town of Berne for a long time, maybe all his life. I must ask why all of a sudden he wanted my job? It appears based on this old policy he could have taken my job at any time during my 12.5-year career.

So why now? What experience does he have? Why has the town of Berne decided it no longer need an experienced dog control officer? Or is this just a “job grab” based on an old policy?

My employment with the town of Berne also saved the town money. I have my rabies shots; I have all my own equipment, or it belongs to the town of Rensselaerville.

The town of Rensselaerville also has an approved holding facility/shelter that the town of Berne used with the shared-services agreement that is required by New York State at a fraction of the cost of the contract with Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, which has been our only other option. Doesn’t this matter either?

I have received many calls and Facebook messages from residents asking me about what will happen to their dogs if they’re lost and get picked up. I have no answer for them. Will the town of Berne be using Mohawk Hudson Humane Society as its approved shelter? If not, then who’s shelter?

I hope the town of Berne realizes what it’s lost.

Cheryl Baitsholts


Editor’s note: On New Year’s Day, the Berne Town Board — without a Democratic majority for the first time in decades — made the 2020 appointments without any discussion in public.

See related story.

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