Prompted by recommendations issued by the Town of Gardiner’s Board of Ethics following its investigation of a complaint filed against the town supervisor, Carl Zatz has been relieved of his supervisory duties over the Gardiner Transfer Station through the end of this month, when his current term of office ends. After a protracted executive session that delayed the start of the December 8 Gardiner Town Board meeting by more than half an hour, deputy supervisor Warren Wiegand announced, “The Town Board accepted the Gardiner Ethics Board’s report and agreed to appoint a three-person management team to manage the Transfer Station between now and December 31…. It’s a response to the ethics investigation.”
The ethics complaint was filed in June by recycling coordinator Wendy Toman, who has alleged that Zatz carried out a campaign of deliberate harassment against her and withheld information necessary for her to do her job properly. Tensions between the two have been very high over the past year, with shouting matches erupting several times in the midst of recent Town Board meetings.
“The Ethics Commission came back with a finding that required us to take this action,” councilman John Hinson elaborated. “By state law, the Town Board can pick three people to oversee [a town department] if there’s a conflict with the supervisor doing it. One person is being taken out of the process.”
A second executive session at the end of the Town Board meeting resulted in the appointment of Hinson and his fellow councilmen Mike Reynolds and David Dukler to serve as the ad hoc oversight committee, according to Reynolds.
Though the chastisement from the Board of Ethics wound up the current Zatz administration on a sour note, the year’s last Town Board meeting did not end without a round of applause from the audience and some warm words of appreciation for the outgoing public officials. “It’s a very thankless job, so I want to say thank you, especially to those who are leaving,” said Mike Kruglinski, chair of the Gardiner Democratic Committee, which had endorsed the failed reelection bids of both Supervisor Zatz and Councilman Wiegand. “I don’t know why anyone would agree to do it.”