POUGHKEEPSIE | A Hudson Valley a city official was absent from his $160,000-a-year job for more than four months during a 19-month period in which he spent much of his time off at his Auburn-area home, a newspaper reported Sunday.

An examination of email alerts sent to city department heads by the mayor and his staff revealed that Michael Long, the city of Poughkeepsie's former chief administrative officer, wasn't available to perform his duties for 133 out of 578 calendar days between Jan. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2012, The Poughkeepsie Journal reported. Thirty-seven of those absences were vacation days.

Long worked in Poughkeepsie for a little more than four years before leaving on Sept. 19 for a post in Oneonta. Long previously worked at Auburn City Hall.

He told the newspaper he performed his job well and was reachable by phone and email when he was away.

Long told the Journal that for much of that time, he traveled between or was at his home in Auburn, a four-hour drive from Poughkeepsie. Most of Long's missed days occurred on long weekends, when he worked half-days Fridays and returned after 1 p.m. Mondays, which he said were not vacation days.

With Poughkeepsie facing a $4 million budget gap, some are wondering if the city can cut Long's former position to save money. The city administrator, Poughkeepsie's top full-time city employee, is supposed to assess threats and manage resources to address problems.

"It's around the clock," Mayor John Tkazyik said about the administrator's job. Tkazyik plans to propose eliminating the administrator post.

"You have to be out there, talking to your department heads to see what's needed," he told the newspaper. "You do what it takes to get the job done and resolve the issue. Storms occur on weekends."

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