Town residency exceptions on agenda

Rotterdam officials are considering a pair of local laws that would allow the town attorney and conf

Rotterdam officials are considering a pair of local laws that would allow the town attorney and confidential secretary to the supervisor to live in other communities.

One law would remove the residency obligation for the town attorney established in 2005, while the other would absolve the confidential secretary from adhering to the requirement. Deputy Supervisor Robert Godlewski said the changes would allow the town get the “biggest bang for the buck” from both positions.

A public hearing on both changes is set for the Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In the case of the confidential secretary, Godlewski said the candidate for the job is highly qualified and has connections at the state level. He said the candidate —Darlene Mullady of Rensselaer —was involved in state government for roughly 30 years.

Mullady would replace Kim Bruhns, who was appointed to the position in 2009. Bruhns earned $39,618 with full benefits, according to a resolution passed during her appointment.

“We have an individual here that has outstanding credentials,” he said of Mullady Thursday, declining to say whether Bruhns is still employed with the town.

Godlewski said the town needed to look outside the borders of Rotterdam for municipal counsel because the previous administration gutted the budget for the position. The previous board reduced the initially budgeted $99,000 to $65,000 in November, despite protests from the incoming board.

Members of the new board agreed to hire Joseph Liccardi of East Greenbush to serve as town attorney during their organizational meeting. He is slated to earn $22,000 with partial retirement benefits.

We’re forced to go out into the marketplace and get the most for that tax dollar we can get,” Godlewski said.

Rotterdam repealed the residency requirement for the municipal counsel in 2002, according to the town code. However, the board re-inserted a stipulation that the town attorney live in Rotterdam — three years later during the first term of Supervisor Steve Tommasone’s administration.

Godlewski said the requirement was written back into law because the Republican majority was trying to remove then-town attorney Andy Brick from his post. At the time, the Republicans argued the town would be better served by a local law firm instead of one attorney.

Since 1977, most municipal positions in Rotterdam carry a residency requirement. In 2001, the requirement for the town assessor’s position was changed to allow residency anywhere in New York.

The town comptroller has been allowed to live outside of Rotterdam since 1998, but must live in Schenectady County. Likewise, the town engineer — a position that hasn’t been funded for years — can live anywhere in the county.

Categories: Schenectady County

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