Supervisor: ‘Harsh discipline’ forthcoming amid internal probes

05/20/2011 5:18 PM |

BARARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall.

There is currently more than one investigation going on in Town Hall into the conduct of Riverhead Town employees, the News-Review has learned.

And Supervisor Sean Walter told the paper Friday he expects harsh discipline to be forthcoming. He declined to offer any details.

As the News-Review reported last month, Riverhead Town is investigating whether the town’s chief financial officer, William Rothaar, and others in the accounting department’s Pulaski Street offices used town equipment to conduct private business.

While that investigation has yet to be concluded, some others are under way, officials said.

“The ethics committee,” Mr. Walter said in an interview, “I don’t want to say that they’re working overtime, but I am referring things to the town attorney, saying you’ve got to look at this and you’ve got to look at that.

“We all have to be held to the highest of standards.”

Two town officials, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and deputy supervisor Jill Lewis, were overheard by a News-Review reporter after Wednesday night’s Town Board meeting having a conversation about an ongoing ethics probe, and the possibility of a female employee facing termination.

Councilman George Gabrielsen confirmed Friday that there is a probe, but that “it has nothing to do with Rothaar.”

“I really, honestly, can’t comment at this time,” he said. “But I’m sure sooner or later somebody has to say something.”

He also said the accounting investigation is not yet complete, and that he has urged an outside lawyer hired by the town to investigate the matter to ask some specific questions, and to examine activity dating further back than the initial allegations.

“If I’m not satisfied, believe me, there is going to be a stink,”Mr. Gabrielsen said of when the lawyer’s findings are presented to the Town Board.

Mr. Walter acknowledged that more than one town employee has been reprimanded this year. “Oh, yes,” he said. “We have had a couple letters placed in personnel files. And there’s going to be some much harsher discipline on the horizon for things that have happened. I will not tolerate this stuff.”

Speaking generally, he said he believed some employees think they can get away with unacceptable behavior, such as insubordination, because elected officials come and go.

But, he insisted, he’s “going to flush out anything and everything that may be inappropriate.”

“It’s not without it’s political risks,” he continued. “It’s a small town. These people are our neighbors.”

Matt Hattorff, president of the Riverhead Civil Service Employees Union said when asked for any details, “There are some investigations going on, but I’m not really going to get into it.

“I represent 170 people, and you know what? They’re all really good people,” he continued. “And my members will be represented to the fullest extent.”

Ms. Giglio could not be reached for comment.

mwhite@timesreview.com

Staff reporter Vera Chinese contributed reporting to this story.

Comments

comments

8 Comment

  • Smoke and mirrors. This is just Sean’s way of diverting attention away from his buddy, Rothaar. You think the Town would have come as far as it has if no one ever got disciplined before Sean took office? Read between the lines of what Sean is saying, and that sums up his management style – fear and intimidation. He prays on the weak, which is why nothing will happened to Rothaar (who while incompetent at his job, has strong ties with the Republican Party.) The female employee in question is well-liked and respected by all. Sean’s treatment of her and others has sealed his political fate. No Town employee will be voting for him this November. One last thing, Sean, hold yourself to the same standard you say you hold your employees to. And you taxpayers out there, don’t be fooled into thinking he is running a tight ship. He is running the ship into the ground.

  • Ethics commitee?? That’s hilarious… what ethics?

  • Lord_Of_The_Lies…….. Your name indicates that you are the leader of those who lie. Do you really know what the truth is or do you live your life by being negative? It’s too bad that Sean has had hardly any support from the day that he was elected. We can almost come to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy against him from day one. At least he didn’t give away what Cardinale did when the Grumman infrastructure was sold for 17 million, or try to bring to Riverhead what we didn’t need or want. Supervisor Walter may not be the best communicator and it’s too bad that people are still being judged by their looks, instead of their knowledge.

  • I think the moniker refers to Sean, so you are just as clueless as your comments. I think people did have hopes for Sean, so that is not true. He proved them wrong, and has continued to lose support from everyone once his true colors were revealed. Conspiracy??? What world do you live in Alonzo?? He was still trying to close the deal with Riverhead Resorts, even when everyone else said to pull the plug. Being a poor communicator is the least of his problems, and his lack of knowledge is his worst………. or maybe it’s his lack of integrity. You say Phil was so bad, well he looks GREAT in comparison to Sean. Ask him why the financial administrator is not held to these so-called standards as noted by “Lord”!!!!

  • If the name Lord_Of_The_Lies refers to Supervisor Walter, then the name Alonzo refers to Phil. Here’s a clue for you and your partner— get out of that dark tunnel and maybe the negativity will turn positive. I refuse to respond to your negative comment that will be forthcoming. Bless you both .

  • Alonzo,

    As for your “almost” conspiracy conclusion: Do you write press releases for Newt Gingrich?
    And Sean believes some Town employees can get away with “insubordination” because supervisors come and go?

    Sounds like the Walter administration really is the can of worms we’ve been hearing about.

  • Alonzo, at first I didn’t want to dignify your comment with a response. But let me set the record straight. I am about as honest as they come. Hosed1 is partially right about my name, but it refers to all those who lie, not just Sean. Your conspiracy theory is hilarious!! I am sorry if you suffer from a persecution complex, but your boy, Sean, is the one who persecutes. Ask the people he layed off last year. We have all heard enough about his threatening comments to the other Board members to know that he is the one who goes after others. And as far as judging people by their looks, I never said anything about his looks. But you must think they are lacking in some way or you never would have assumed my negative comments about him had anything to do with his looks. Alonzo, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing if used to fulfill a personal agenda that has nothing to do with the “good of the many”.

  • No persecution complex here but I certainly think that you have one. Come to think of it, we better fire the Superintendent of the Riverhead School district too. There was a tremendous amount of employees who were terminated there also. And lots were let go from the County and State too. Peace and Blessing to you.