Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs city clerk discipline hearing goes to second day

An administrative hearing that could end with the firing of a clerk in the city’s Accounts Departmen

An administrative hearing that could end with the firing of a clerk in the city’s Accounts Department started Thursday and will resume this morning in City Hall.

The city suspended real property clerk Mary Zlotnick without pay in late August and is taking disciplinary action against her for alleged acts of insubordination and misconduct.

The so-called “termination hearing” started Thursday morning and continued through the day well past 5 p.m.

City Deputy Accounts Commissioner Sharon Kellner-Chille was the first person to testify. She was questioned at length by Mark T. Walsh of Gleason, Dunn, Walsh and O’Shea, the Albany-based attorney representing Zlotnick.

The city is being represented by Mark McCarthy of Harris Beach, the city’s labor counsel.

Zlotnick has claimed that the city’s assistant assessor, Anthony Popolizio, provided an unfair advantage to businesswoman Diane Young, who attempted to reduce her client’s condominium assessments for a fee.

Walsh asked Kellner-Chille if she reported Zlotnick’s claims to Accounts Commissioner John Franck.

Kellner-Chille said she reported the concerns to Franck after hearing complaints about Zlotnick having inappropriate conversations while at work.

During a private meeting with Franck, Kellner-Chille and Zlotnick in 2011, Zlotnick said Young had “an unfair advantage” regarding assessment cases, according to Kellner-Chille.

Among the disciplinary charges being brought against Zlotnick are that she “unlawfully removed from the Office of the Commissioner of Accounts tax assessment and related records.”

The city’s charges against Zlotnick also accuse her of contacting members of the media to “spread untruthful allegations of misconduct on the part of assistant assessor Anthony Popolizio.”

Christopher Nicolino, an outside hearing officer, started the administrative hearing Thursday morning. The hearing is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today in the City Council meeting room in City Hall.

McCarthy said Walsh’s lengthy questioning of Kellner-Chille and later assistant assessor Popolizio revealed “nothing new.”

McCarthy said the city will ask for the termination of Zlotnick’s employment at the end of the hearing.

He said it will be up to hearing officer Nicolino to make this decision or an alternative decision.

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