When the Lysander Town Board convened Jan. 2 for its first meeting of the year, Town Clerk Lisa Dell swore in two new councilors — Roman Diamond and Bob Geraci. Before the meeting ended, Diamond and Geraci had joined together to oppose a resolution that would have reimbursed five town officials who routinely use their personal cell phones for town business.
Diamond agreed with Geraci’s suggestion to postpone a decision until after putting an official cellphone policy in place. “But to reimburse people for their use of a personal cellphone did not make sense,” Diamond said.
“Last year, this board raised taxes by 36 percent, and now they wanted to reimburse? The reason I opposed it was because it was not budgeted for. It would have cost another $3,240 a year. I just didn’t think it was fair to the taxpayers,” Diamond said.
The proposal had called for monthly reimbursements for town business-use of personal cell phones, including $75 for Highway Superintendent Eugene Dinsmore and Supervisor John Salisbury, and $40 each for Recreation Director Ann Smiley, Engineer Allen Yager and Codes Enforcement Officer Timothy Wolsey $40. “The higher amount for the highway superintendent and the supervisor is based on the required business use for these positions,” the resolution stated.
“This is a classic example of the kind of stuff I won’t stand for,” Geraci said. “I first learned about this when I was handed an agenda before the meeting. I had no clue where these numbers came from. If it’s important for people to have a cell phone to do town business, then have the town give them a cellphone.”
The vote was 2-2, with councilors Andy Reeves and Melinda Shimer in favor and Diamond and Geraci opposed. Supervisor Salisbury abstained because he was listed as one of the beneficiaries of the proposal.