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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 13, 2011

Building administrator convicted of harassment, not re-appointed

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — Peter Schaming, the town’s building administrator, was found guilty this week of harassing his neighbors, and as a result was not re-appointed at the town’s 2011 re-organizational meeting last night.

However, since the town is legally required to have a building administrator, Schaming will continue to hold the position until board members have decided whom they want to appoint.

Both Schaming, 56, and his wife, Teal Schaming, 54, were convicted on Tuesday of second-degree harassment, a violation, which took place between Sept. 13, 2008, and Nov. 29, 2009, according to New Scotland Town Court records. As a result, they were charged a $150 fine.

Donna Hanlon, one of the harassed neighbors, addressed the board at its meeting Wednesday night.

“I do not believe Mr. Schaming exemplifies the kind of person that we of the town of Berne want making our bureaucratic decisions,” Hanlon said. “He’s shown very poor judgment as a neighbor…I am asking the board and Supervisor Gebe tonight to not rehire Peter Schaming.”

Schaming did not return a phone call for comment.

The Schamings, “with intent to harass, annoy, and alarm Donna Burkins-Hanlon and David Martin, did engage in repeated conduct that served no legitimate purpose,” wrote arresting officer Tracy Henry of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department in her statement to the court. “Actions by the defendant include, but are not limited to, hanging of offensive material along a dividing fence line (including dead animals and animal skulls), playing loud music whenever the complainants are outside, and allowing garbage to blow onto the complainants’ property.”

According to the incident report, the Schamings were playing “the same song on a constant loop” when the victims were outside of their home. The report goes on to say that the victims “feel that this ongoing behavior is a retaliation against them because they had gone to the Berne animal control officer about a barking dog complaint a few years ago.”

Last April, the Schamings’ attorney, Louis R. Neri, sent a letter to the town of Berne, requesting that the case be transferred to another court in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, as Schaming is a town employee. In May, Albany County Judge Stephen Herrick had the case transferred to the New Scotland Town Court, and New Scotland Judge David Wukitsch found the Schamings guilty on Tuesday.

Other business

In other business at its January meeting, the town board:

— Heard a request from Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board member and town resident Helen Lounsbury that the town board look into televising future meetings.

“As we age, on nights like tonight,” Lounsbury said in the midst of Tuesday’s snowstorm, “I would like to have been at home watching this exciting event”;

— Heard that there will be a meeting on Friday between Councilman Joseph Golden, former Supervisor Kevin Crosier, and comprehensive plan review committee member Victor Porlier, to plan for the formation of an emergency action committee.

“We’re talking about communication improvement,” Golden said, emphasizing that he was not intent on infringing on the responsibilities of the fire departments; and

— Heard that the town had concluded its collective bargaining with the highway department, and that workers will not be getting a raise this year.

Elected and appointed officials

Town Board: George Gebe Jr. (supervisor, term ends Dec. 31, 2013), Joseph Golden (deputy supervisor, Dec. 31, 2013), Wayne Emory (Dec. 31, 2013), James Hamilton (Dec. 31, 2011), and Peter Vance (Dec. 31, 2011);

Planning Board: Gerard Chartier (chair, term expires Dec. 31, 2015), Katherine Hill Brown (Dec. 31, 2011), Timothy Lippert (Dec. 31, 2012), Alan Rockmore (Dec. 31, 2013), and Michael Vincent (Dec. 31, 2014);

Zoning Board of Appeals: James Fallon (chair, term expires Dec. 31, 2012), John Carsten (Dec. 31, 2013), Terry Adams (Dec. 31, 2011), Ronald Jordan (Dec. 31, 2014), and George Christian (Dec. 31, 2015);

Assessment Review Board: Emily Wright (chair, term expires Sept. 30, 2011), Philip Stevens (Sept. 30, 2012), Wilma Warner (Sept. 30, 2015), Debra Flagler-Williams (Sept. 30, 2013), and Robert Conklin (Sept. 30, 2014);

Conservation Board: and Randy Grippen (chair, term expires Dec. 31, 2011); Tom Conklin (Dec. 31, 2012), Kathy Moore (Dec. 31, 2011), Nancy Engel (Dec. 31, 2012), and Jon Kusler (Dec. 31, 2011);

Library Board of Trustees: Mary Kinnaird (chair, Dec. 31, 2011), Marion Burkhardt (term expires Dec. 31, 2012), Joel Willsey (Dec. 31, 2013), Joan Mullen (Dec. 31, 2013), Marsha Descartes (Dec. 31, 2015), Joyce Besha (Dec. 31, 2012) and Nancy Lendrum (Dec. 31, 2014);

Deputy Supervisor: Joseph Golden;

Director of Emergency Management: George Gebe;

Highway superintendent: Kenneth Weaver;

Liaison to the Highway Department: Joseph Golden;

Liaison to the Berne Library: Joseph Golden;

Liaison to the Planning Board: Wayne Emory;

Liaison to the Zoning Board of Appeals: Wayne Emory;

Liaison to the Conservation Board: James Hamilton;

Liaison to the Senior and Youth Programs: James Hamilton;

Liaison to the Sewer District: Peter Vance;

Liaison to the Town Properties: Peter Vance;

Director of Emergency Management: George Gebe Jr.;

Marriage Officer, Registrar, Deputy Tax Collector: Patricia Favreau;

Town Attorney: William Conboy II;

Zoning Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer: Joseph Whipple;

Dog Control Officer: Cheryl Tefts-Baitsholts;

Chairman of Assessors: Brian Crawford;

Deputy Town Clerk and Deputy Registrar: Anita Clayton;

Bookkeeper: Andrea Cornwell;

Court Clerk and Highway Clerk: Patricia Boice;

Secretary to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals: Anita Clayton;

Secretary to the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee: Lorraine Donovan;

Secretary to the Sewer District Committee: Lorraine Donovan;

Town Historian: Ralph Miller;

Assistant Town Historian: Erin Bradt; and

Custodian: Kathy Stempel


The board approved these annual salaries for 2011:

Supervisor: $13,300, to be paid monthly;

Town Justices: $8,700, paid monthly;

Councilmen: $3,325, paid monthly;

Town Clerk: $36,900, paid bi-weekly;

Highway Superintendent: $49,200, paid bi-weekly;

Tax Collector: $6,400, paid monthly;

Assessors: Chairman, $12,000, paid monthly; Assessor 1, $11,100, paid monthly; Assessor 2, $7,000, paid monthly;

Building Administrator: $11,900, paid monthly;

Zoning Administrator: $15.37 per hour, bi-weekly;

Attorney: $175 per hour;

Dog Control Officer: $5,700, paid monthly;

Deputy Town Clerk: $15.37, paid bi-weekly;

Secretary to the Planning and Zoning Boards: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Secretary to the Sewer District Committee: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Secretary to the Comp. Plan Review Committee: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Bookkeeper: $15,000, paid bi-weekly;

Court Clerk: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Highway Clerk: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Registrar: $1,300, paid annually;

Highway Employees: $18.79 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

New Highway Employees: $17.79 per hour, bi-weekly;

Seasonal Highway Employees: $13.50 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Parks and Cemeteries Caretaker: $13.50 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Seasonal Park Employees: $10 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Compactor Assistant 1: $15.37 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Compactor Assistant 2: $13.50 per hour, paid bi-weekly;

Planning Board Chair: $2,300, paid annually;

Planning Board Members: $1,650 each, paid annually;

Zoning Board Chair: $450, paid annually;

Zoning Board Members: $250, paid annually;

Jurors: $10.00 per day; and

Custodian: $15.00 per hour, paid bi-weekly.

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