Montezuma Meeting

The Montezuma Town Board discusses Highway Superintendent Dennis Lapp's resignation at a special meeting Wednesday. 

MONTEZUMA — Roughly one week after being accused of double dipping, the Montezuma highway superintendent has resigned. 

Dennis Lapp Jr., 25, was elected as the highway superintendent in the town of Montezuma in 2015. A registered Republican, Lapp had worked for the highway department full time for roughly 18 months, earning a $36,000 salary and $6,000 in benefits in 2016.

However, last week, Republican Supervisor John Malenick said Lapp took on a second full-time position — this time with the highway department in the town of Brutus. 

Malenick said Lapp had begun "double dipping" in Brutus, where he was hired as a full-time motor equipment operator June 19. As such, the town board called a special meeting to discuss the Lapp's position in Montezuma.

But, as it turned out, there wasn't much to discuss, as Malenick said Lapp handed in his resignation late Tuesday night. 

At the board meeting Wednesday, Malenick said Lapp had delivered a letter to the town clerk stating that he wished to resign as highway superintendent. 

"May I say it has been an honor to be elected by the people of the town," the letter said. "Thank you for the opportunity to serve the community." 

Councilmen Lee Brew, Tom Hitchcock Jr. and Tom Fitzsimmons joined Malenick in accepting Lapp's resignation; Councilman Joel Glimpse had a prior engagement and missed the motion. Lapp did not attend the meeting. 

Following Lapp's resignation, the board voted to appoint Dustin Roach as the interim highway superintendent. Roach has worked with the town's highway department since 2011 and plans to run for the position in the election this November. He will run as a Democrat against Republican candidate Bill Futrell.

But that's not all the taxpayers will be voting on this fall, Malenick said, as the board hopes to introduce another proposition to the ballot. 

According to the board, the town has two options — it can pass a local law adding stricter requirements to the position of highway superintendent or it can change the position from elected to appointed, allowing the board to hire someone at its discretion. Both would provide a better description of the job, Malenick said, ensuring that the candidate is truly qualified for the full-time position.

"This is bigger than Dennis Lapp," he said, noting that it is not illegal for an elected official to work in another town or village in New York state. "The law needs to be changed. That's the issue." 

The board agreed to meet again next week to further discuss the issue of the highway superintendent's position. That meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 5, and will be open to the public. 

"We will discuss whether or not we will put a new local law in place, which will establish more stern guidelines for the next superintendent, or we will put it up as an appointed position," Malenick said. 

Staff writer Megan Blarr can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or megan.blarr@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenBlarr. 

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Crime and Courts Reporter