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Hamburg Town Councilman Joseph Collins seeks to have liaison assignments reinstated

Hamburg Town Councilman Joseph Collins threatened to file an order to show “just cause” as to why he was removed from his liaison assignments to the town’s planning and zoning board of appeals back in December during Monday’s (April 8) board meeting.

Collins told Supervisor Steven Walters and Councilwoman Amy Ziegler that if he was not reinstated to those assignments then he would file the order.

“If you have to file, you have to file,” Walters said.

“I’ve been out of the loop with planning and zoning,” Collins said.

During the Dec. 10 town board meeting, Collins was censured for a pair of violations.

Under the first violation, it read “On or after October 13, 2012, Brian Doyle, human resources consultant was tasked with conducting an investigation involving the inappropriate dissemination of confidential information discussed at town board executive sessions which occurred on or after Oct. 13, 2012.”

Doyle concluded in his report that Collins violated the confidential nature of executive sessions by “disclosing to a Town of Hamburg employee the nature and substance of discussions” which it stated caused undue stress, anxiety and fear of job loss.

Collins was told in the public censure that he must cease and desist from any further such conduct and must attend appropriate training provided by the Association of Towns or a like association.

In the second resolution read by Ziegler, it stated that Doyle filed a claim of harassment against Collins on June 8, 2012 which claimed that Collins violated the “Town of Hamburg Non Harassment Policy.”

As a result of the second public censure, Collins was advised under the Town of Hamburg Employee Assistance Program and/or the Town of Hamburg Human Resources Department, that Collins must comply with the provisions of the policy.

The resolution also said that because this is Collins’ second violation, he be removed as department contact for departments assigned to him until he has successfully completed “appropriate training” directed by the Town’s Employee Assistance Program or the human resources department.

Both resolutions passed by a 2-1 count, with Ziegler and Town Supervisor voting in favor, while Collins voted against the resolutions.

Collins accused Ziegler of being responsible for his removal form the assignments. This is something Ziegler denied.

“It wasn’t Ziegler doing anything,” she said. “Councilman Collins was censured by a majority of the town board on Dec. 10, 2012.”

She said this was done following two independent investigations.

“Both complaints were found to be meritus,” Ziegler said. “To date, it is my understanding that Councilman Collins has yet to receive any training.”

Collins called the censure’s “ridiculous” and sought to be reinstated. He did not say whether he had taken the training required by the board in order for him to be reinstated.

Collins announced last month that he is not seeking reelection to the town board in November.

In other news, Collins questioned a resolution to create two new laborer positions within the buildings and grounds department.

Walters told Collins that Highway Superintendent Thomas Best Sr., asked that these positions be created and that it would mean two higher classification positions in the town would not be filled and would instead be filled by the two lower classification laborer positions.

The supervisor said this initiative would actually be a cost savings to the town.

According to Walters “there’s no money being appropriated” to create additional positions.

Collins then insinuated that the positions were being created to hire Town of Hamburg Republican Committee members.

“Nice try bud. That’s incorrect. That’s a gross misstatement,” Walters said.

Walters said the resolution to create the positions was due to civil service requirements.

The Hamburg Town Board will hold its next meeting beginning with a work session at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 22. A regular meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

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2013-04-11 | 14:33:38
Tonawanda School tax increase
If the Tonawanda School Board under estimated the cost for the improvements; then it is too bad and live with it. The property owners are getting hit with increases by the City and now the school District has their hands in the taxpayers pocket. The families with children attending the school should pay for any increases; those are the ones getting the benefits. Homeowners without children are paying school taxes they get nothing out of it. I will be voting "NO" tax increase.
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