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April Weedsport village board

Weedsport's village board looks over the agenda during a regular meeting on Aprill 11.

WEEDSPORT — The Weedsport Board of Trustees has rescinded a resolution made last week that had effectively terminated a village employee.

A special meeting was called Sunday morning to discuss a particular employee's probationary status and any other business that comes before the board. Mayor Jean Saroodis, all four trustees, temporary Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Goodell and the Village Clerk Jeanine Powers were present.

The board entered executive session after the meeting was called to order. Midway through the executive session, Saroodis exited the meeting and said "a bunch of (expletives)," referring to the trustees, before she exited the building.

Saroodis did not return when the public meeting resumed. At that point, a motion was made to rescind a decision the board had made Wednesday to not extend an unnamed female public works employee's probationary employment status.

The Citizen has confirmed that the DPW employee in question is Carson DiRisio, who is currently employed by the village as a laborer, but was hired in July for a full-time motor equipment operator position — with the contingency that she needed to obtain her commercial drivers license in order to keep the job.

DiRisio said that Saroodis and Trustee Harry Hinman met with her Thursday morning and informed her that April 25 would be her last day working for the village, since she hadn't yet obtained her CDL.

When DiRisio applied for the job over the summer, she was aware that she didn't have all of the required qualifications, but went for it anyways. Initially the village hired someone else, but apparently that person didn't last long, and the village then asked DiRisio for a second interview, she said. Within hours of the interview, she was offered the job over the phone.

DiRisio said she took the CDL test once and failed. She rescheduled to take the test at 10 a.m. Friday, March 16, but since her shift on Friday ends at 11 a.m., DiRisio said, Saroodis forced her to cancel her test, as the village refused to pay her overtime to take it. DiRisio then rescheduled her test for April 30.

In January, DiRisio received a three-month extension of her probationary period, and she thought that April 30 was within that extension. She said she didn't find out that her probation was measured by days instead of months until after she'd rescheduled the test, even though the village was aware of her test date.

"It is a requirement of the job, I understand that completely," DiRisio said Thursday. "I think since I was forced to (cancel my March test), they should have at least given me the chance to have even a five-day extension to take the test. ... Road tests, especially for CDLs, are very hard to get."

But then in Sunday's meeting, after rescinding the previous resolution from last week, a motion was made to extend DiRisio's probation until May 10. Additionally, the village unanimously passed a motion to put out an advertisement for a full-time MEO position in the village. 

"Who really wants to work for the village at this point, if this is going to keep going on?" Wayne Newton, a meeting attendee, asked.

"We have to put it out there," Trustee Chere Perkins responded.

Newton then proceeded to ask Trustee Chris Lukins if he was "covering for somebody ... because you're all about a particular employee keeping her job."

Lukins asked why the question was directed at him, and stated his stance hadn't changed since the last board meeting, when Lukins was the lone board member to vote against ending DiRisio's probation.

Perkins said the mayor left the meeting early because "she recused herself." Perkins said she did not believe the recusal was related to the previously passed motion which precluded the mayor from certain discussions related to the superintendent of public works position. Her son, James Saroodis, is currently on paid administrative leave from that job for reasons the village has not publicly disclosed.

Mayor Sardoodis could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Staff writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or megan.ehrhart@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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Towns Reporter