In his 43 years living in Rotterdam, Remo Santuccione said he’s found a person he can trust in Eunice Esposito.
He said the 11-term town clerk has always been quick to greet him on the street and has always treated him fairly. He scoffed at the notion that Esposito may have violated state law in her duty as a notary, characterizing her as an upstanding resident of the town always looking out for the best interests of others.
“She’s one of the most honest people I’ve met in my life,” Santuccione told members of the Town Board .
And he wasn’t alone, either. Several residents spoke glowingly of the 83-year-old clerk during the board’s meeting, their comments occasionally drawing applause from a crowd of more than three dozen gathered at Town Hall Wednesday.
Esposito has recently come under fire for apparently notarizing official documents without having people sign them in her presence. She is expected to appear at a state Department of State hearing next month to determine if her license should be suspended or revoked.
In an interview last week, Esposito acknowledged that she approved some signatures without the person being present. But she said she did so as a courtesy to senior citizens who have a difficult time coming down to Town Hall and said she only did it if she knew the person. She dismissed the case against her as a political attack.
Some of the residents speaking at the meeting agreed. Resident Ron Severson described Esposito as a town official who performs her job with virtue and blasted the complaint against her as an ongoing effort to attack her credibility.
“It’s deplorable, and I think we owe Eunice a tremendous amount of applause for the work she has done over the years,” he said.
Resident Lisa Dufek described Esposito as a faithful servant of the town. She said the clerk is always welcoming to the people she sees at Town Hall.
“Anyone who approaches her is met with a warm smile and a cheery voice,” she said.
Carl Constantino took issue with a Gazette editorial faulting Esposito’s role as a notary. He said such a faithful town employee didn’t deserve such criticism.
“And we’re sorry for it, Eunice,” he said.
But not everyone offered kind words. Resident Frank Salamone blasted Esposito for breaking the law and offered criticism to any town official who thought the matter didn’t need to be brought before the state.
“The idea we should keep arguments against our public officials who may have committed crimes in-house is ridiculous,” he said.
In other business, board members unanimously adopted an agreement with Duanesburg to provide dispatching services for the next year. Duanesburg will pay the town $10,000 so that Rotterdam police dispatchers will provide their dispatching services starting in March.
Duanesburg depends on state police dispatchers in Princetown to take emergency calls. Next month, these dispatchers will be relocated to the new state police facility in Colonie and will no longer be able to direct fire or emergency calls for the town.
The board also approved an agreement between the Rotterdam Little League and the Challenger Tri-County Baseball League. The two leagues will split the use of the fields at Woestina Park in Rotterdam Junction for one year.