By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO January 12, 2001 - On Monday, January 22, the Village of Monticello will hold a public hearing on whether or not Mayor Gary Sommers can add to his mayoral duties by working in the villages Grant Writing Department. Mainly, those duties would consist of overseeing the Main Street Redevelopment Project and to help market Monticello.
But its not going to happen without controversy.
The resolution to hold the public hearing passed at this past Mondays village board meeting, although Trustee Michael Levinson was against it. The hearing will allow the public to voice their opinion on whether or not Sommers should assist the current grants writer and village treasurer, Robin Seward.
A similar position in the Town of Thompson receives $48,000. Sommers salary, if he gets the job, will rely on how much grant money the village brings in.
The main objective would be to assist or to write, plan, and administer grants. If the law passes, it would only apply to Sommers. It would not be a requirement for future mayors.
Some in the community have expressed outrage, accusing the mayor of creating a job to replace the job he is about to lose, that of village manager. According to the mayor, this is not true.
The timing is just bad, Sommers commented. If I did the job, it would save the village a lot of money. It is the boards option if they want me to do it.
Sommers went on to point out that it is illegal for a government official to hold two government jobs at once. He said he is simply asking that these duties, which he feels he is qualified to do, be added to his job as mayor.
In the last seven years, the village has secured almost $10,000,000 in grants. Sommers wrote some of those grants. He explained that he wishes to continue to help the village and save the taxpayers money.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Afterwards, the board will decide if the village will allow the mayor to take on the additional duties.