Fulton County

Court dismisses lawsuit from former clerks

Pair sought payout for unused sick time
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GLOVERSVILLE  — State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Sise has dismissed two civil lawsuits seeking a combined $22,000 in unused sick pay for former city clerk Susan Semione and deputy city clerk Cindy Ostrander. 

Sise ruled that Semione and Ostrander were not eligible for sick time buy-backs because Gloversville passed a resolution in 2011 to prevent such payouts for unused sick-time upon termination for non-union city personnel. Sise said in his ruling that Semione and Ostrander had a four-month time frame in which to file a lawsuit challenging the legality of the city resolution after it was passed. They didn’t challenge the law within the time limit and, “to date, the statute of limitations to do so has long expired.” 

Sise ruled in favor of the city’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuits.

Semione and Ostrander sued the city for the value of the sick time they had not used during their tenure as city employees. They were not reappointed by the Common Council after the end of 2016. Semione was seeking $12,911 for 299 hours of sick time, at a pay rate of $18.47. Ostrander had accrued more hours of unused sick time, 591 hours, but at a lower rate of pay, 16.16 per hour, for a total of $9,564. 

Mayfield attorney Ronald Schur Jr., who represented Semione and Ostrander in the case, said his clients could seek to appeal the ruling, but they haven’t decided yet whether to risk the cost of doing so. 

“According to this ruling, they were supposed to have known a long time ago, in 2011, that a resolution passed by a board that doesn’t notify anybody who it affects, that they had four months after the passing of that resolution to sue the city, while they were still employed by the city and they had suffered no damages yet. You’d have to be let go and then not paid, before you could sue them. It’s ridiculous, why would they have sued the city while they were still employed by them,” Schur said.

“Gloversville has one of the worst reputations of any city in New York state, and stuff like this is why. If you want to know why people are disillusioned by the government and the court system this is a prime example of why.” 

Mayor Dayton King applauded the ruling in a news release. 

“Since the time that these allegations were first brought, the city has maintained that there was no merit to these lawsuits and that the city complied with all applicable  laws and procedures,” King stated. “The summary judgment decisions serve as validation that the city acted legally and properly at all times in connection with these matters. As always, we will keep moving forward!”  

 

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