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April 11, 2013 - 12:43am

Apparent blow-up between Corfu mayor and employees has village administration in jeopardy

posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

The big worry on the minds of a lot of people on Corfu tonight is, will their village office open in the morning?

An employment dispute between the mayor and the village clerk/treasurer and her assistant blew up this afternoon and depending on who you believe, the two employees were either fired or walked out.

Mayor Rosie Peterson would prefer to call the incident a misunderstanding, but people who say they were witnesses to whatever happened claim Peterson fired Sandra Thomas and Denise Beal.

What is certain by all accounts is that Thomas and Beal cleaned out their desks and turned in their keys this afternoon.

The event led Peterson to call an emergency meeting of the village board to try and figure out what to do.

Without a clerk and a treasurer, the village has no way to pay bills, issue paychecks, collect bill payments or deal with residents issues.

Three trustees and Peterson met at 7:30 p.m. and immediately went into closed session.

An hour later they emerged and Peterson said, "The result of our executive session is that we agree there was a misunderstanding today and as a board we reconciled the situation and we would like the office personnel to return to work."

Trustee Art Ianni said the board agreed that Thomas and Beal can come back to work, knowing that they will have jobs through the remainder of Peterson's term as mayor.

When asked if Thomas and Beal had agreed to stay on, Ianni said they had no choice under civil service law.

When a citizen pointed out that if they were fired, any such law wouldn't apply, Ianni said it was his understanding that they weren't fired and that it was just a "misunderstanding."

Trustee Ken Lauer said he attempted to contact Thomas and Beal during the closed session, but couldn't reach them.

So the board really doesn't know if Thomas and Beal will come back to work in the morning.

Former Trustee Al Graham said he witnesses the exchange between Peterson and the employees.

He said Peterson arrived at the village hall and asked both women to go into the conference room with him. When he attempted to close the door, Beal wouldn't let him, Graham said.

When Peterson asked why, Beal said, "I don't trust you."

Peterson then said, "Well, you might as well know, I am not going to reappoint you."

Under village law in New York, the mayor must reappoint certain key positions each year.

Beal asked, "are we being fired?" and according to Graham, Peterson said, "yes."

Thomas and Beal then began packing up their stuff and Peterson, he said, "started to back track," telling them they weren't fired and that they needed to say on the job.

About two dozen residents attended the emergency meeting and all of them seemed upset with Peterson.

Several citizens demanded that Peterson better explain his actions, but he said he had and that as he said, the whole affair was just a misunderstanding.

Peterson is only a few weeks into his new job as mayor after narrowly beating former mayor Todd Skeet in the last village election.

Lauer said his understanding of what happened was much like Graham explained, but he also knows that Peterson explained it as a misunderstanding.

"Rosie is definitely learning and moving along," Lauer said. "It's not an easy process and unfortunately, it plays havoc with people's lives.

"The thing is," he added, "we need to play together better. We have to learn to get along better and we're going to do that."

John Roach
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Looks like Corfu will be a regular item here for awhile.

Kyle Couchman
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You beginning to get that feeling too John? Why's that just because the judge, the mayor, and the sheriff and now the town clerk and treasurer have been at each other's throats?
Looks like almost all the issues seem at some point to center around money.

David Horning
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More drama.

nicholas skeet
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I'm proud to be from and live in the village of corfu ,but what is going on is very important to me and my family and other famlies..what is going on in the village is not right and I'm doing everything possible for what I think is right for the village.wouldn't it be "DRAMA" if you got fired from your job for no reason. The new mayor says that's life and says he is running our village on a gut instinct. He also told me that for the first two years on the village board he wasn't paying attention.

Lisa Falkowski
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A learning experience or not, it seems to me that the new Mayor should suck it up and 'play nice' until he actually has learned more about this new business he's in. It seems unusual that when the cart is rockin' and the common denominator is 'one' person, that the rest are at fault. I've no personal issues with Mr. Peterson and actually have admired him, but he needs to back off before he destroys a Village and the hard work of many. He's already pushed two very trusted and loyal employees to the brink of quitting their jobs and others to a fragile state. This is a crying shame.

nicholas skeet
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No one that currently works for the village has quit there jobs..they were FIRED .I hope for the village of corfu that the ladies come back..

tom hunt
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A couple of months ago it was a pi$$ing contest between the Oakfield town board and the firemen, now this. The seems to be no end to the small town drama in Genesee County.

Dave Olsen
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Times are getting tougher, TP, all levels of government are looking for money and can't or won't agree on where to save or eliminate.

Al Graham
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Something for you all to realize, Everyone that Petterson has attacked since taking office. The court clerk,the two village clerks, He had me banned from the treatment plant and fired the atty we had. all of us are potential witnesses in the investigation of the missing money.

bob hilchey
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tp, it was the oakfield village board that was behind the fire dept fiasco. the town of oakfield board has been very supportive and professional , good luck in Corfu !!

Paul Witkowski
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Patterson........Alexander......Nati...... connect the dots!

Brian Graz
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Don't you just love this horseshit?

"When asked if Thomas and Beal had agreed to stay on, Ianni said they had no choice under civil service law."

THEY HAVE NO CHOICE... really?!!!

I think it's time that public officials, just like politicians, better get the message that we the people are getting a bit pissed off with their arrogance, abusiveness, and tyranny.

Mayor Bloomingidiot is setting a bad example.

David Horning
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How does this change the potential witness status. What charges have been filed?

Al Graham
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The status change is thier unemployeed, No charges yet the investagation is ongoing

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