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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 9, 2011

Town and village to share inspection services

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The village of Altamont has decided to eliminate its building inspector position and enter into a shared-services agreement with the town of Guilderland.

Donald Cropsey has served as chief building inspector for the town of Guilderland, and separately as the building inspector for the village of Altamont, for many years. He received a separate salary for each job.

In March, Mayor James Gaughan said the village’s building inspector position would be eliminated, according to Cropsey. Guilderland Supervisor Kenneth Runion said he had a discussion with Gaughn in March about the town providing inspection services to the village.

“We came to a final agreement on the price the village would pay for the services last Thursday,” said Runion. At a town board meeting on Tuesday, he said the village would pay the town $10,000 annually.

The town board voted 3-to-1 to approve the shared services agreement; Runion, a Democrat, Democratic councilmember Patricia Slavick, and Republican councilman Mark Grimm voted in favor, and Republican Warren Redlich voted in opposition. Councilman Paul Pastore was absent. The Altamont Village Board voted unanimously to approve the agreement, also on Tuesday.

“ I find Warren’s objections to be somewhat hypocritical, since he is always talking about consolidation and shared services,” Runion told The Enterprise yesterday.

Redlich said it wasn’t the consolidation he was against, but the process by which the agreement and monetary figure were settled on.

“We had hardly any notice, there was no public notice, and I think it’s a bad idea for the government to make decisions without informing the people,” said Redlich.

Runion said public notice and a public hearing were not necessary, because the residents will not notice any difference in services.

Cropsey works 40 hours per week for the town of Guilderland, and was working six hours per week as building inspector for the village. The work he was doing for the village will be absorbed into the town’s building department and split among its staff.

Runion said he believes the amount of work required in the village will amount to no more than four hours per week, and will easily be completed during regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours.

“We are going to track the hours. I think it might exceed four hours,” said Cropsey. Cropsey was being paid a $19,000 annual salary for his position of building inspector in the village.

“This is something the village was paying $20,000 for, and we’re only getting $10,000 for it. We’re not just getting extra money, we’re getting extra work. This wasn’t adequately explored,” said Redlich. Cropsey will not be compensated extra for the town’s taking over the village inspections.

“Compensating Cropsey isn’t necessary because there is no additional time, or duties required. We’re just doing routine building inspections,” said Runion.

“We felt we were paying more money than the service was worth,” said Gaughan yesterday.

“I think this was a classic Ken Runion backroom deal. He and the mayor got together and just decided on a figure,” said Redlich.

“This was not something that was done in secret; we discussed this proposal as part of our budget workshops. We based the amount on the mutual analysis of what it would cost for the services,” Gaughan said. He added that the amount was enough to ensure the town would get a fair deal and the village would save money.

“I hope that this will go along smoothly and we can offer the same amount of services as we did before,” concluded Cropsey.

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