2018-05-03 / Letters

Strange events surround dismissal of clerk Cruz

To the editor:

The dismissal of Empire Village Clerk Traci Cruz seemed to come from a pattern of reckless and brutal behavior by certain village council members. Traci was appointed Empire Village Clerk in August, 2016. In November of that year two new council members were elected and one council member changed places with the president. I feel that during the following months those four created an almost untenable work environment for Traci.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, via telephone, the village president suspended Traci and immediately requested the DPW superintendent to change the locks to the village office doors. This seemed alarming to me. Were there misdeeds? During that time and over the next couple days, unbeknownst to the three other councilmen, the budget was reworked. Could that have been a violation of the Open Meetings Act?

There were no misdeeds on Traci’s part, yet council member Teresa Howes requested a forensic audit which seemed to imply criminal financial misconduct which was misleading to the public. This request was later mitigated to a discussion of hiring a CPA to look at the books and finally to hiring a bookkeeper who was the former president’s preferred candidate for clerk before it became clear that a majority of council preferred Traci. Presumably this bookkeeper has been hired for a short period of time. Will this short-term bookkeeper eventually be permanently ensconced in the village office? It seems to me certain council members have railroaded a set-up for the personnel of their choosing and the process began right after the November 2016 election.

At Traci’s April 18, dismissal hearing I listened astounded while two council members who voted to fire Traci expressed plaudits about her. How could they say those things yet seemingly have worked to obstruct her rather than support her on the job?

Mary Sharry
P.O. Box 95

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