Schenectady County

Ethics board to hear complaint against Rotterdam deputy supervisor

The director of Rotterdam Emergency Medical Service’s complaint against Deputy Supervisor Wayne Cald

The director of Rotterdam Emergency Medical Service’s complaint against Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder will go before the town Ethics Board tonight.

The public meeting is set for 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

In the complaint filed in early December, REMS Director of Operations Dean Romano alleged Calder repeatedly voted on issues related to emergency services when his son-in-law works for Mohawk Ambulance, a for-profit group that has sought to be the town’s emergency service provider for more than a decade.

“I think they need to investigate him, and he needs to be disciplined for what he’s done,” Romano said at the time.

Calder previously said his voting on such issues wasn’t a conflict because he hasn’t received any financial benefit or gift from Mohawk.

Romano also asked that town Supervisor Harry Buffardi sign an emergency services contract as defined in a request for proposals issued by the Town Board in December 2013 and that Calder be removed from the board “to prevent further unethical behavior.”

The Town Board voted 3-2 to award the contract to REMS, the town’s longtime nonprofit emergency service provider, over Mohawk, but negotiations have been ongoing ever since. Calder and Buffardi voted against giving REMS the five-year contract.

In a letter to Ethics Board Chairwoman Maria DelMonico dated Monday, Romano expressed his “confusion and concern” with how the board has handled the complaint.

He wrote that he was invited to attend a Jan. 29 meeting, but was instructed not to bring his attorney, adding that the town attorney dominated the meeting’s conversation. At a second meeting on Feb. 11, Romano wrote, Calder objected to his attendance and Romano was dismissed before the meeting began.

“I have not had an ample opportunity to present my situation to the Ethics Board,” he wrote.

DelMonico could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Donald DeAngelus, the board’s attorney, confirmed Romano was dismissed from the second meeting, at Calder’s request. He said it was justified, however, because Calder wasn’t present when Romano spoke to the board Jan. 29.

“I don’t know what he’s got to say,” DeAngelus said Tuesday, referring to Romano. “He can say it tomorrow if he wants to.”

DeAngelus said the board could vote on the matter Wednesday night, but would have to do so in executive session after comments are heard at the meeting. He cited a section of the Town Code that says “no meeting or proceeding of the Ethics Board shall be open to the public, except upon the request of the town officer or employee under investigation, or as expressly provided otherwise by the Town Board.”

In his letter, Romano said he did not expect the Ethics Board to recommend that Calder be removed from the Town Board.

“I do expect that the Ethics Board would find his behavior unethical,” he wrote.

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