Fredonia DPW worker hiring approved

A new worker for snow removal has been hired for the Village of Fredonia Department of Public Works, but the decision was not unanimous.

Two positions are open in the DPW, and one pending hire completed requirements by the village to begin employment, including providing documentation he is fit for employment according to a doctor.

During a village board workshop session before a special meeting Monday night, Trustee Mark Ruckman questioned the need for the additional hiring, citing budgetary issues. “Do we really need two workers?” he asked.

DPW Supervisor Jack Boland said a total of 15 DPW employees are necessary for snow removal operations, and the department is currently down to 13 employees.

“It takes that many to move snow. … As soon as someone is sick or unavailable, then (snow removal) doesn’t happen,” he explained. He said four workers man the day shift, four work at night and two work an additional shift.

Ruckman asked if the union required a certain number of workers in the department, and Mayor Stephen Keefe said they were “not obligated by contract” to fill the two vacant seats.

Discussion followed regarding qualifications workers would have to meet to perform snow removal duties. Boland said a sidewalk snow removal machine does not require operators to have a commercial driver’s license, but two people are required at a time for its operation.

During the special meeting, Ruckman was the only nay vote on a resolution to hire the worker, Zachary Smith of Fredonia. He will begin full-time employment subject to civil service rules at the current union approved rate for a probationary period of six months.

The special meeting was originally called to change the village elections, held in March per local law dated 1917, to coincide with federal and state elections in November. The move is expected to save money, but must first be approved by voters at the regularly scheduled election in March. The resolution passed unanimously.

Under normal scheduling, the village board holds regular meetings on the second and fourth Monday of each month, in addition to workshops as needed, so a regular meeting is scheduled next week. Village Attorney Sam Drayo called for the special meeting on Monday Jan. 7 because changing the election date requires 60 days notice to the public before the scheduled election.

Despite a meeting scheduled at the regular time next Monday, the special meeting agenda included regular business items in addition to the election change resolution and required public hearing for it and the hiring of a DPW worker.

In other business, reappointments for registrar and deputy registrar of vital statistics for four year terms were made. Village Administrator Richard St. George will continue to serve as registrar, and Samuel Zafuto III was reappointed as deputy registrar. Members were re-appointed to the Cable Advisory Board and to the zoning board of appeals.

Chief Building Inspector John Monaco was approved to travel to the Niagara Frontier Building Officials Annual Conference in Buffalo from Jan. 28-30 for required training certification hours. The cost is set to not exceed $617 to be paid by the village.

A request from Nathan Greene was granted to tap into the village water distribution line at 395 Eagle St.

Festivals Fredonia was granted use of Barker Common on July 19 and 20 for Fredonia History Days, Sept. 6 and 7 for Red, White and Blues, Oct. 18 and 19 for the Harvest Moon Cemetery Tour and Dec. 7 for Miracle on Main Street. $1,000 was also contributed to the organization for promotional expenses associated with the Harvest Moon Cemetery Tour and Miracle on Main Street.

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