Tupper Lake’s Town Hall is filled to capacity on Thursday for what would have been a routine budget hearing.. Except for some apparent bad blood between the Supervisor, Roger Amell, and the Highway Superintendent, Bill Dechane. For the second time in his history as Town Supervisor, Amell finds himself forced to answer questions as to why he would take it upon himself to target the Town’s Highway Superintendent Bill Dechane. One of the first to speak at the Town’s Budget Hearing is Randy Bedore.
“So it was a 3 to 2 margin, so the majority wanted to give Mr Dechene some kind of raise?” Bedore Asked of Amell, who responded by saying “We didn’t discuss that. As a supervisor, I did.” Bedore then inqured as to whether he was alone and Amell said he did.”
Town Councilman Patricia Littlefield took advantage of the opportunity to speak as a board member at the Public Hearing… “I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people since this happened in the last few days. Hopefully we’l, bring this to the regular meeting and it’s my intention to hopefully get some action taken on this to fix the error.” Following the meeting, Littlefield tells WNBZ ” During the work sessions they reviewed all of the appropriations in the budget, which included an across the board 2% Salary increase for town employees.” she said “That figure changed outside of most of our knowledge. We’ve done this before with Billy two years ago. I was a member of the crowd at that time and he deserves the raise. Everyone was going to receive a 2% raise and he shouldn’t be an exception.”
The Supervisor changed the salary of Dechane without the board’s knowledge prior to the public notice.. and this isn’t the first time Amell has attempted to reduce the Highway Superintendent’s Salary by making the adjustment himself prior to posting the public notice..
Bedore, during public comment at the regular meeting asked Mr Amell to step down saying “He has abused his position by disregarding the majority of his board, misleading statements and his inability to set aside personal vendettas since the day (Dechene) won the election.” Later Bedore said he didn’t understand how decisions can be made by one person on the board. “I don’t agree with it, I don’t think it’s democratic, I don’t think it’s legal and I object to it wholeheartedly and I don’t think the taxpayers of this town expect decisions to be made by one person and one person only.” Said Bedore at the Public Comment, “We’ve elected everybody here and I think the majority of this board should have the say, not one person.”
The process for elected officials, much more complicated for the board to repair is just one of the reasons some in the audience are very upset with Mr Amell and his decision to personally reduce the salary of Dechane. The Board, during the regular meeting, voted to begin the process of returning the Superintendent’s Salary to the number they had agreed upon, apparently with the exception of Amell.
A Public Hearing will be held following notice to discuss this issue and following that the majority of the board appears in favor of setting the numbers right through a local law giving Mr Dechane his 2% raise.