The Gloversville Common Council is set to vote Tuesday on the resolution to appoint of Donald Schwartz as Temporary Assistant Director of Public Works, in preparation for him to take over for current director Chris Perry on Jan. 15.
“The City has created a temporary position, Temporary Assistant Director of Public Works, to allow Donald Schwartz to train with the incumbent DPW Director prior to the incumbent’s departure,” reads the council resolution to appoint Schwartz, sponsored by 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski.
According to the council resolution to hire Schwartz, he will work for a maximum of forty hours per week in this new position – effective Dec. 29 – being paid at an hourly rate of $33.65.
The resolution to hire him also includes an $800 budget transfer from the city’s DPW contingency account to pay his employment during 2021, and a $2,693 budget increase for the city’s 2022 budget to cover his employment until Jan. 15.
If the council chooses to appoint Schwartz as Perry’s permanent replacement, his salary for 2022 will be $70,000.
Perry announced his intentions to retire from the position in November. This was the second time in 2021 that Perry had announced he would be quitting the job. His first resignation, or rather retirement letter, to the Council was in January – shortly after he was reappointed at the city’s organizational meeting.
His January resignation letter sparked months of controversy involving Republican mayoral candidate Councilman-at-large William Rowback, Jr. In the letter, Perry alleged Rowback, and some of his more boisterous supporters, had created a hostile work environment for Perry, often threatening that he would not be reappointed once “Rowback became mayor,” and making statements attacking DeSantis.
“Residents parrot back to me the same insults and degrading comments – almost verbatim – regarding Vince DeSantis that Bill Rowback has made repeatedly to me during my time here,” wrote Perry in his January resignation letter. “Nearly every discussion inevitably went down the path of Vince DeSantis character assassination – which I found deeply troubling to say the least.
“In addition, I have residents now tell me [or tell (my wife) Brittny] I should be fired and/or I will ‘be gone when Rowback is mayor,'” the letter continued. “The fact is, Bill Rowback has mentioned twice now to people/employees that I should be fired – which of course he will and has denied [insinuating that the people that told me are liars] – obviously, I see the writing on the wall for me.”
Perry, also an arborist, has been credited by DeSantis and the majority of the Common Council with helping to improve the city’s approach to snow plowing, street repaving, catch basin repair, manhole repair, dangerous tree removal and new tree planting, among other initiatives.
DeSantis defeated Rowback in the November election – meaning Perry would have been reappointed to the city’s DPW director position, a one-year appointment, in January – had he not chosen to retire.
DeSantis said in November that he believes the harassment Perry continually faced from some of Rowback’s supporters played a role in his desire not to continue on in his role as DPW director. He also said he was committed to finding a replacement for Perry who would continue many of his initiatives that have improved the performance of the department.
“I don’t want to go back to the way the DPW used to be,” the mayor said. “I want to keep this productive, highly motivated DPW that we have now. My goal is to keep that and preserve the step forwards that Chris has done for us.
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