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Hayner questions water board actions

JOHNSTOWN — A city councilman recently questioned some of the actions of the Johnstown Water Board regarding finances and personnel.

First Ward Councilman Bradley Hayner made his remarks during liaison reports given at the Common Council’s monthly meeting at City Hall.

Hayner, council liaison to the Water Board, noted the board met Feb. 8 and made purchases, But he also questioned the board’s $13,175 fee to pay attorney Bryan Goldberger, who has filed a legal petition against city officials. Goldberger filed a complaint on behalf of the Water Board, which alleges Mayor Vern Jackson and City Treasurer Michael Gifford have violated the City Charter in dealing with Water Department issues.

Hayner questioned the legal expenditure from a “department within” city government suing city government.

The councilman also questioned the Water Board’s hiring Jan. 11 of typist Susan Miller as clerk of the board. The board listed both a $45,500 base salary and $25 per hour rate for Miller.

Hayner claimed Miller is an ex-Gloversville official being “investigated,” although he didn’t elaborate.

“In my opinion, her being under investigation … are we comfortable with her being employed?” Hayner asked.

Third Ward Councilwoman Amy Praught said some of the Water Board finances have not been in order.

In another liaison report, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti reported on the city Assessor’s Office. It was noted exemption filings are due March 1. She said the office continues to work on the city’s 2021 tax roll.

Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico, liaison to the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board, said that body continues to plan for a visit by local state and federal officials. A tour of the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility is being planned for U.S. Rep. Elise Stefank, state Sen. James Tedisco and state Assemblyman Robert Smullen.

Talarico, a sewer board member, said the sewer plant needs a sludge dryer and is seeking outside funding for the purchase.

“We’re going to try to really get them to go to bat for us,” he said.

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