BusinessThe Putnam Examiner

Carmel Supervisor’s Wife Hired as Accountant Raises Eyebrows

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Eyebrows were raised last week when the Carmel Town Board voted to approve Doreen Cazzari, wife of newly elected Supervisor Mike Cazzari, as Senior Account Clerk in the town’s Accounting Office.

Supervisor Mike Cazzari and his wife, Doreen Cazzari.

During public comment at last week’s meeting, Mahopac resident Jean Hopper asked the board if they were concerned with the optics of appointing Cazzari’s wife to the position of senior account clerk and objected to the resolution that formally appointed Mrs. Cazzari.

“I’ve gotten an awful lot of texts and emails over the last day regarding resolution number five,” Hopper told the board. “In order to maintain transparency and ensure integrity, I’m certain that the town supervisor and the town board want to share with the residents the reasoning behind this appointment as well as share the particulars.”

Hopper, who ran unsuccessfully for a Town Board seat in 2019, went on to ask, “Will the town supervisor recuse himself from voting on resolution five? What about workplace ethics?”

Supervisor Cazzari thanked Hopper for her comments but didn’t respond to her questions, even though Hopper strongly suggested that a public discussion about the appointment should take place before the vote.

“We’re not going to be explaining or talking back to the people at the podium,” Cazzari told Hopper.

Cazzari later explained that he wanted to end the practice of board members responding to public comment to avoid getting into arguments. “We want this to be professional,” he said.

All board members voted to approve Doreen Cazzari to the senior account clerk position for the Town of Carmel except Supervisor Cazzari, who abstained from the vote. The resolution’s job description was a “CSEA Group 5 Step 2 salary level effective immediately, subject to the provisions of Civil Service Law and the Civil Service Rules and Regulations.”

Although the town resolution didn’t state what the salary was for the senior account clerk, according to the New York CSEA website, a Group 5 Step 2 salary level is $32,677.

After all resolutions on the agenda were voted on by the board, Supervisor Cazzari left his chair to speak privately to his Chief of Staff and Town Board Assistant Anne Pasquerello. When it came to board member comments, Cazzari gave up his comment slot and gave the mic to Pasquerello.

Pasquerello said she had been the Human Resources consultant for the town for the past eight years. She explained how the town had to follow civil service rules and regulations to fill a staff vacancy.

“We also have three collective bargaining unions and one of them is the CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association). Mrs. Cazzari was a previous employee here and she was an exemplary employee. She also worked with the school district,” she said.

Mrs. Cazzari submitted her letter of intent to apply for the position before she and three other candidates were interviewed for the position in the beginning of September, according to Pasquerello. Mike Cazzari had been running unopposed for the position of supervisor since June 2021.

After the meeting Supervisor Cazzari defended the resolution that approved his wife to be a senior account clerk for the town.

“Doreen received this job on her own merits and her own work experience,” he remarked. “Nobody was getting a favor and people shouldn’t be penalized or precluded from getting a position because of my position. There was no undue influence here. The right person was selected for the position.”

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