PARISH — The current Parish Town board is suing former town supervisor Mary Ann Phillips, demanding the return of approximately $2,000. the payroll clerk quit in response to city council’s call for a comptroller to replace her.
I asked Mary Ann Phillips why should the city council deserve this money?
“They shouldn’t,” she replied, “but they don’t care. They didn’t give me permission to pay me. It was after the third pay period that I called the AOT (Association of Cities) and found out that I had to transfer the funds to the line of the budget holder. And when I asked the board members (permission to do this) at the next meeting, which would have been the fourth pay period, they said no. So at that point I couldn’t pay myself for the last six (pay periods) I worked. But they think they deserve the other three back. So they’re taking me to small claims court. I have no idea what is… I’ve never been to court, so I have no idea what it’s going to be like.
How were you supposed to get paid to keep the books and do the payroll then?
“What the board needed to do,” Phillips explained, “according to the AOT, was to transfer the money from the accountant and payroll clerk line to the budget officer line. It’s me. Once it’s in that line, I can indicate that I get paid for those positions. But when they voted no, they wouldn’t let me transfer it, so I was stuck. So I couldn’t after that.
She was never paid for six more pay periods.
“They didn’t want me to get paid,” Phillips said. “In fact, Doug Jordan said in that meeting, ‘I think you’re overpaid anyway.’
“Once she (the former accountant/payroll clerk) quit, someone had to do the job,” Phillips said. “Well, there was no one else who knew accounting. I knew some of it but not all. And the payroll, I knew all about that because I did that with Samantha (the former accountant/payroll clerk) every two weeks. Nobody else could do it. So I had to. I had to get up and do it. They didn’t care. They wanted me to hire a payroll company, and I said, “No way. We just paid, I think it was between $2,000 and $4,000 for the payroll program (computer software) through Williamson Law.
“We brought it in-house so we could do it in-house and not have to pay someone else to do it. So I had to pick up the ball and do it. Otherwise nobody would have been paid.
Phillips said she tried to hire a new accountant, but no one would take the job.
“I circulated it through Oswego County City Supervisors in an email and it was announced as well,” she said. “No one was going to apply. I asked a girl to apply, then she never came for the interview.
What did the board base the no vote on?
“Because it was me,” Phillips replied. “They wouldn’t approve of it because it was going to come back to me. They just said, no, they wouldn’t allow me to move the money.
Phillips said she told the board: ‘Common sense, someone has to do it, and if someone was in there, someone would get the money from the accountant and the clerk. pay. Since there is nobody and I have to do it, I think I should be paid for it.
Phillips said his time “went from maybe four hours a day to nine to five, because I had to learn accounting, I had to close the books every month, I had to reconcile statements before I could do one of the board reports, and I had to get a lot of help with that. Thank goodness Williamson Law has people who were willing to work with me and help me. A supervisor from another city and their accountant also came to help me, but otherwise I had no one. And I had to do the work, otherwise the checks wouldn’t have been cut if I hadn’t done them. Nobody else I don’t know how to do it. And at the same time, accounting, I didn’t have anyone who knew municipal accounting who could do it. So I was stuck.
“The money is there (to pay the bookkeeper/payroll clerk),” Phillips noted. “It was budgeted the previous year. Someone would have been paid as usual and received the money. So it’s not like the taxpayers are hurt, not at all. The money was budgeted for this in the accountant and payroll clerk lines, but the board had to give me permission to move it to the budget officer line, i.e. me , supervisor, and then I could put it up so I could get paid. And they just said no, we’re not going to do it.
Have they (the advisers) been paid?
“Yes, counselors get paid $4,000 a year,” Phillips said. “They are paid monthly. The people who work there full time, like the roads department, get paid every two weeks. »
She paid the board members every month. “I was just cutting the checks as usual. Those who needed to be paid, I paid them.
Regarding the lawsuit: she cannot counter-sue. She should have filed a complaint against the council within 90 days of the non-payment. But there is no time limit as to when the board can choose to pursue it.
“I want people to know that,” Phillips said. “I want the public to know this, what happened and why. Common sense would have said that whoever does the work gets paid. They don’t do it for free. It doesn’t matter who it is. But in this case, he did. Everything is political and personal. I don’t believe I was wrong.
“I hope the case goes in my favor, but if it goes against me, I still want people to know what they did, what happened and why it happened,” said Phillips.
If the judge rules against her, she says, “I will appeal. I was told that. My lawyer, Tim Fennell, didn’t tell me that, but other people said to me, “Mary Ann, you don’t have to accept her decision.” If it goes against you, you can appeal.
Jim Bernys is the parish town supervisor and voted with council members to file the lawsuit against Mary Ann Phillips. I asked him why he thought that was the best course of action.
“I voted yes because the facts were in front of me,” he said, “and I thought it was done wrongly, not intentionally, but it was definitely not something you were supposed to. do, according to multiple sources.”
This could continue over and over throughout the calls.
“Yes,” he said, “and if that’s the case, then we’re there.” Unfortunately, the majority council thought the taxpayers deserved to get that money back, and we decided to continue down that path. Unfortunately, this is news. We will see what the courts say.
“Unfortunately, that’s the way it is,” Bernys concluded. “We’re just protecting taxpayers, and the council has chosen to do what it’s about to do. It’s like that.”
Parish City Attorney Robert Genant will represent the city against Phillips in this case.
He appeared, along with Tim Fennell and Mary Ann Phillips, in Oswego Municipal Court before the Hon. Thomas A. Reynolds September 14.
After holding in-chamber discussions with the two attorneys, Reynolds ordered “the attorneys to present in factums, their arguments regarding the questions of law.”
He ordered that briefs be submitted by October 19, with the next appearance for all parties in Oswego Municipal Court scheduled for October 26.
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