Johnstown’s supervisor Jack Wilson enters dispute

JOHNSTOWN — Town Supervisor Jack Wilson has entered a dispute involving a state political candidate and a town councilman, publicly acknowledging the latter never approached him to review the former’s non-existent town personnel records.

State Assembly candidate Robert Smullen recently filed a complaint with the Fulton County Ethics Board against Johnstown Town Board Councilman Donald VanDeusen.

VanDeusen had publicly called for Smullen’s ouster from the Johnstown Town Board of Assessment Review.

Smullen’s complaints alleged VanDeusen in his “official capacity” at the May 21 Johnstown Town Board meeting violated the “employee confidentiality” of Smullen when he made a public case to remove Smullen from the Board of Assessment Review.

“The basis for Councilman VanDeusen’s allegation was to question Colonel Smullen’s residency and in the course of the discussion disclosed information which may have been obtained from Colonel Smullen’s personnel file in the town of Johnstown,” the release said.

Wilson issued a public statement on official town of Johnstown stationary last Friday, addressed to “whom it may concern.”

Wilson wrote: “The town of Johnstown has no personnel records on any of our volunteer board members. This includes Robert Smullen. At best we have a resume only on file! Mr. VanDeusen has never been in my office asking to review any records!”

Asked Wednesday if he cared to elaborate on why he issued the memo, Wilson said he would have no further comment.

In a continuing controversy over Smullen’s residency, VanDeusen voted May 21 to have Smullen removed from the town of Johnstown Assessment Board of Review. But he was the only one in favor of removal and that vote failed 3 to 1.

Questions in this election have been raised concerning Smullen’s primary residence and his use of veteran’s exemptions.

Smullen of Johnstown was arrested by state police July 24 and charged with a felony for allegedly filing false paperwork to get a reduction in property taxes on a home he owns in Niskayuna.

In the news release regarding VanDeusen, Smullen indicated he was filing “ethics and misconduct” complaints against the councilman, a former Gloversville police chief.

The release states that VanDeusen — under the “guise” of his official capacity — was attempting to tarnish the reputation of Smullen for the political benefit of Smullen’s Assembly opponent, Patrick Vincent. The release says that under the Johnstown Town Code of Ethics (Section 26-3), confidential information is not to be discussed in public session and should be discussed in closed-door, executive session.

Smullen previously said a misconduct complaint was filed with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department as the appropriate agency since misconduct is a violation of the state Penal Code.

The office of Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino subsequently last week clarified it referred Smullen to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.

A separate complaint had been filed by Smullen alleging an individual trespassing and possibly stalking his family in the town of Johnstown.

“This was investigated by our agency and it was determined that the individual was actually a sub-contractor working in the area and there were no known connections to any candidates seeking the Assembly position,” Giardino indicated in an Aug. 8 release.