Massena official shares concerns over part-time hiring

Robert Elsner

MASSENA — The Massena Town Council has agreed to hire a part-time office worker to assist the assessor, but not without some concerns from one of the board members.

“I’m not opposed to the position being filled. It was the process that was followed,” Robert Elsner said during a special board meeting.

Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said the position, which has flexible hours and days, had been included in the budget to assist Vern Brand with general duties such as filings, answering phones, copying documents and assisting with inquiries from the public. The position pays $16 an hour, and applications were due by 4 p.m. May 14.

But no applications were received by the deadline, and Mr. Elsner said he disagreed with the actions that were taken to fill the position.

“We posted the position. Nobody applied. I was then told by the deputy supervisor about somebody who might be qualified,” he said.

He said that person was then “recruited” for the job.

“At the same time, I believe he said there was a second candidate that submitted an application, but it was late and not accepted because it was late. That’s the first problem that I have,” Mr. Elsner said.

He said his second concern was that Mr. Brand was a member of the evaluation team in hiring the person he “recruited” for the position after no applications were received

“I don’t think the recruiter should be sitting in on the evaluation. I think he should have excused himself,” he said.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy said he was never told about a second applicant.

“We talked about it in executive session. It was mentioned. But I never saw a resume or anything. They submit resumes to the town clerk, so that would let me know, I would assume,” he said.

“That’s what we were told,” Mr. Elsner said. “I’m just saying this is a little different than our discussion in executive session last week. He submitted the name. He encouraged the person to apply. That’s recruiting.”

“He said ‘you should apply,’ so she did. But there was nobody else in the queue,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.

Mr. Elsner suggested that if they advertised a position in the future and received no applications, they should “have some sort of defined process for filling those positions. We should have rules. Just have a process in place. Make sure that it’s open and fair.”

The hiring was approved, with council member Susan Bellor voting against it. Deputy Supervisor Samuel D. Carbone Jr. was not in attendance.

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