By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO June 21, 2005 A public disciplinary hearing involving two of the charged Sullivan County Department of Public Works employees will occur this Thursday at 9 a.m at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello.
The two reportedly requested the hearing be made public.
Formal charges were filed by the county in late May against Public Works Director of Operations/Deputy Commissioner Phil Nicoletti and Director of Parks, Recreation and Beautification Richard Caraluzzo. The charges are not criminal.
Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Chris Cunningham has refused to divulge the nature of the charges, as has County Attorney Sam Yasgur. Yasgur said yesterday that he would not comment on any aspect of the case. Sullivan County Manager Dan Briggs denied knowing any specifics about the investigation or the proceedings.
Sullivan County Freedom of Information Officer and Public Relations Director Lee Bosco rejected a FOIL request in writing after the county attorneys office declined to hand over the information.
Yasgur referred any questions to Jonathan Lovett of Lovett and Gould in White Plains, who is representing both employees.
According to Lovett, the charges revolve around the accusation that the employees entered the county personnel office and made copies of personnel records. Lovett did not dispute either claim and stated that the employees were authorized to enter the office, and routinely did so. However, he also said the county refused to give them a key to the office, but that the employees had a master key.
Furthermore, Nicoletti was charged with using county equipment to fix his motorcycle. Lovett said there are other charges against the two, which he declined to detail. He said they would be made public on Thursday.
DPW Commissioner Peter Lilholt and Senior Fiscal Administrative Officer Amy Winters have also been under investigation. Lilholt retired on February 25 the same day that Nicoletti was placed on paid administrative leave.
Nicoletti and Caraluzzo were both suspended without pay for 30 days in late May while they await their hearing.
Winters was placed on paid administrative leave on April 18. Her salary is $58,503. Nicolettis salary is $75,606, Caraluzzos is $58,934 and Lilholts was $83,249.