The Block Island Times

Ziegler laid off as Sewer and Water Depts. clerk

Terms of separation are “amicable”
By Lars Trodson | Nov 22, 2013

A few months of discussion about the future of Water and Sewer Department Clerk Janet Ziegler came to a quiet end on Monday, Nov. 18, as both sides signed a settlement agreement that was described as “amicable.”

According to Sewer Commission Chair Pete McNerney, Ziegler will be officially laid off on Nov. 1. She had been suspended from her job previously.

“It’s amicable for all parties,” said Sewer Commissioner Brad Marthens. The decision was unanimous. Water Commission Chair Sandra Finizia was absent from the meeting, which began at 1 p.m. at the Firebarn.

Ziegler waited in the small lobby of the firebarn as the attorneys for the two sides, Blake Filippi for the town departments and Mark Hagopian for Ziegler, hashed out the final details in closed session with the members of the Water and Sewer Commissions. Ziegler said she was satisfied with the outcome. The terms of Ziegler’s settlement agreement were not released.

In other developments, both commissions held off on any discussion regarding monthly financial reports because Town Finance Director Amy Land could not attend the meeting. Water Company Superintendent John Breunig apologized for the lateness of the reports, saying that he and Sewer Superintendent Chris Blane were at fault.

McNerney said he appreciated Breunig and Blane shouldering the blame, but he said that “blame is most assuredly shared” because the reports were late coming from Town Hall.

“I don’t think it was all my fault,” Breunig amended, but he added that Town Hall had a staffing shortage and that Land had been inputting numbers on her own, which slowed things up. Breunig said the staffing issue had been corrected.

In a letter to the commissioners, Land reported that Water Company revenues through October were $356,875 compared to $350,678 for the same period in 2012.

Year-to-date revenues for the Sewer Department were $808,431, compared to $809,216 for the same period last year.

New billing clerk

Breunig also wanted the public to know that the Water Company had a new billing clerk in the finance office. Karen Leroy is available during the week, except on Tuesdays beginning at 2 p.m. On those days, Leroy could return to the office between 4 and 5 p.m.

In other business, a rebate of overage penalties totaling $1,777.92 was approved for Ocean Avenue resident Anne Teschner. A leak in her bathroom caused the overusage, and the rebate was unanimously approved providing a letter from a plumber is provided saying the leak has been repaired.

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