When she cut Animal shelter manager Marie Post’s salary in half earlier this month, supervisor Kelly Myers thought she was just doing her job. Post is a part-time employee and she hadn’t been working lately. But the action caused a backlash among Post’s friends and several members of the Town Board, who explained that the longtime employee and former Town Board member was in the hospital and working from her bed, so Myers reversed herself after sending out one reduced check. Post will receive the balance in a subsequent check, said Myers.
Post is in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. Relatives say she’s continuing to do her job from the hospital bed, speaking to town officials, fielding questions about dogs from fellow towns, and talking to transfer station workers. Her son-in-law, Bruce Fellows, submits her time cards.
Before the situation was resolved, it provoked a strong response from councilman Bruce Leighton, who believed the board should have been consulted.
“This decision is unconscionable,” Leighton wrote to Myers. The action is ill-thought-out, and “it may even be illegal,” he wrote. “I would reverse this as soon as possible, and if you don’t I’m sure there are enough votes by the board that will.”
Myers said she was following the town’s employment policies, which specify that part-time workers are paid only for the time they actually work. Based on her assumption that Post was unable to work, she believed she should not be paid. “I checked with both the accountant and a town attorney, and they agreed with the interpretation. Our disability insurance covers 50 percent of pay, and it covers all employees, so that’s what she was paid.”
However, after discussion with other board members and Post, Myers was made aware that she is working from her hospital bed. Myers noted that several cats had been adopted, and Post had kept in touch with shelter employees, and it appears that Post is continuing to work, and that she intends to continue.
Myers cited the deadline for having payroll completed and the press of other business as reasons all the board members were not consulted prior to the action.
Deputy supervisor Jimmy Bruno said Myers had the impression that Post was not doing her job, and as a part-time employee the supervisor was free to adjust her pay accordingly. “She understands that this is not an action she can take on her own,” he said. “She is on a learning curve, and I would give her that she is willing to listen and learn. She wants to do what is best for the town.”
Bruno noted that he has a lot of respect for Post, as she is dedicated to her work and gives the town her best. He was award that she was staying in touch with her workers and others from the hospital, and was on the job despite the recent surgery.
As a part-time worker, Post is paid a flat rate for a job that sometimes demands 40 hours of work in a week, Howard Post, her son, said.
Marie Post was not notified of the change in pay, and in fact did not know about it because Fellows had picked up her pay check.
Post’s salary is fixed at $24,514 for managing the animal shelter and the town landfill.
Howard Post said he is glad the situation was resolved and that his mother received her full salary.