New Paltz plans reimagining of comptroller job after current comptroller fails civil service test

Jean Gallucci

Town of New Paltz officials are in an interesting pickle: the person who’s heading up financial matters in town hall failed the civil service test intended to measure one’s ability to do the job. Rather than kick the town’s first comptroller to the curb, they are seeking to modify the official description of duties to reflect what comptroller Jean Gallucci is actually doing on a daily basis. It’s the latest twist in a story that dates back eight or more years.

When Susan Zimet ousted Toni Hokanson from the supervisor’s seat in 2011, it was discovered that town finances had problems flagged in a preliminary state audit, including money from the general fund being improperly used to shore up deficits in water and sewer districts. A town supervisor has the responsibility for the finances, and Zimet’s colleagues gave her more money for the time she spent resolving those issues. Council members, including Gallucci, worked to create a new civil service position of town comptroller to prevent problems like that arising again. Gallucci was the last person to serve as clerk-treasurer in the village before that position was split in two, and is believed to have contributed significantly to writing that new job description. She resigned from the town council in early 2015 after some months of low attendance, citing job obligations, but once the town comptroller position was approved by county officials, she applied and was hired for the job later that year. Council member Dan Torres cast the only vote opposing that hire, although Marty Irwin — who had been appointed to finish out Gallucci’s term — did express misgivings.

The existence of the comptroller was used as justification by Zimet to cut the pay for her successor with the final budget she prepared before leaving the supervisor’s office. While that decision was eventually rolled back, new supervisor Neil Bettez has been outspoken in his praise of Gallucci’s performance. All this time, however, she was serving in an interim capacity because the test for her new position was not yet available. When the test was finally given this summer, Gallucci failed it. Civil service rules call for the job to be given to someone who passed the test within 60 days, a deadline which passed on August 12 without anyone on the new civil service list even being canvassed as to whether they’re still interested.

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Instead, a new description of Gallucci’s job has been submitted to the county personnel department for approval. According to the paperwork filed, this would be a new civil service position, for which a new test would then be created. According to Bettez, a discussion with Gallucci revealed that her day-to-day tasks do not, in fact, reflect the official duties statement filed in 2015 and that she does a “whole lot more” than simply filing financial reports. Per the new statement, the job is about 60% management, and only six percent of the total time is devoted to filing the annual report with the state comptroller’s office. Another ten percent is given over to internal audits, compliance and advising on matters of salary and benefits. Gallucci oversees the finance department as well as financial functions throughout the town, manages human resources and participates in collective bargaining.

The new position duties statement was included on the consent agenda during last week’s Town Board meeting, meaning that no member of the town council considered it worthy of discussion, including Torres and Irwin, the only ones who were on the board when Gallucci was first hired. A copy of the current description was not immediately available for comparison.

There are 9 comments

    1. Dave Van Schaack

      You miserable anonymous coward. You could not be more ignorant. Do you have any knowledge of the particulars of this situation? Of course not. You just sit behind your keyboard, read a headline, then say “DEEEERRRR CORRUPSHUN!!!!!” Pathetic and sad coward. Your comment has no value.

      1. taxpayer

        Your response to the comment makes YOU look like the hypocrite. Your life has no value if you want to be name calling with all this hateful speech. Do you even live in New Paltz? Or do you still reside in Cohoes, Clifton Park, or Albany? Its sad and pathetic when certain individuals that don’t even live here think they know whats going on

      2. Comedian

        This paper won’t let me use my real name. Whenever I have signed it along with my comment to be posted, I don’t get on. Somebody at the newspaper decided that was policy for me, and in a way, they are protecting my ass. If it applies to other people, I can’t say, but then, there’s always the except which proves the rule. So much for the “anonymous” commenter.

        As to the funds of the coffers on New Paltz, they were abused to the tune of $2million, the $2 million was never accounted for, and to this day, nobody knows where the money is. In 2003, a different $1.25 million lawsuit ended up with the Village Mayor Nyquill and Supervisor Sue both having their names scrapped off the bottom of the metal sign that states the State of New York has contributed money to the village/town park and pool all because the village and town lost a lawsuit to a private contractor working at that sight, and the deal went bust and not in the village town’s favor. Thus, the elected officials removed their names to avoid a lifelong implication of financial ineptitude and unaccounted for monies. If you come to the upper entrance of the park, the sign still stands, and you can run your hands over the area that the names were scraped from where bulges belie what is barely visible to the eye.

      3. Not going too tell you, na, na, na-na, na!

        Attack the author, when you disagree with the body of the comment, is the most common form of attack, by of idiot in chief. It is a very ignorant stance, and a dangerous slippery slope that our nation and the world is sliding down. Label the architect of the opinion, and attack them on a “personal” level, not discuss the actual story, nor comment, but attack. And, they think that, they are the proper responder, adding nothing but labels and hate too the discussion. This is where social media is getting you, Orwell’s Big Brother, and it is not the government, but society labeling and shaming, stifling any who might disagree, that will quell freedom. Picking sides and attacking is much easier if you “label” all those whom you wish to lump into one group and engage. Choose peace.

  1. FunkieGunkie

    Last week the town attorney resigned for not knowing what he was doing and is part of a NYS disciplinary action. This week this. I’m so glad I don’t have to pay taxes in the Town of New Paltz. And Mohonk in all their forms runs the town. What a circus!!!

      1. Ulster Cat

        Lake Mohonk Resort with 505 acres by the lake is solely in the Town of New Paltz. Gardiner used to be part of New Paltz,but was sold off in the 1850’s.

  2. Town Taxpayer 9

    Comptroller is a public official who audits government accounts and sometimes certifies expenditures. If the job is that, the exam is about that, and that is that, then we have the same comptroller who couldn’t account for the $2 million the two previous supervisors one lost and the other didn’t hire an independent (i.e. non-public official) to find.
    Well, you can’t outlaw sentimentality?

    9

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