In two last minute resolutions, the Allegany County, NY, Board of Legislators yesterday afternoon appointed a new Department of Public Works Superintendent for a four-year term, and approved a new $1.13 million contract for medical services for inmates at the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office NY Jail, both despite state Open Meetings Law requirements that actions by a local government body be noticed to the public at least 24 hours in advance.
Both actions take effect today.
Thomas Windus of Little Genesee, who has been the county engineer since 2017, was designated as the head of the county Department of Public Works at a new salary of $130,000, to replace Justin Henry, who resigned suddenly on June 17.
Henry had been paid at a rate of $92,611 annually, with the engineer earning $98,785. The former superintendent, however, was eligible for overtime which won’t be available to Windus, according to Brenda Rigby Riehle, county board clerk and public information officer. Henry’s overtime costs weren’t immediately available.
Windus tells Allegany Hope that he actually started with Allegany County as a helper in the highway department during the summer immediately after graduating from Scio Central School. He then entered Alfred State College for engineering science and later graduated from the University of Buffalo with a civil engineering degree.
From 2001 to 2017 he was the director of public works for the City of Olean.
Windus said he “loves to be able to take a project from start to finish and see it all the way through.”
The new medical services agreement of $1,132,674.67 for the first year, with an option of two additional one-year terms, is with PrimeCare Medical of New York, Inc., a subsidiary of a Harrisburg, Pa., company, to enable compliance with the state Correction Law which requires appointment of a jail physician or, as an alternative, a private provider.
The company, on its primary Pennsylvania website, says that it “provides comprehensive healthcare services to county jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers throughout the Northeastern United States.
“PrimeCare Medical specializes in correctional healthcare management through the significant contributions and strong moral values of our employees” and provides services at 70 sites in five states, according to the company.
Little information was able to be discerned immediately in regard to the major expenditure of funds.
County Attorney Allison Carrow indicated to the board yesterday that she hadn’t yet reviewed or approved conditions of the contract, although it was going into effect today.
The Board of Legislators met yesterday morning as a Committee of the Whole and after an executive session of approximately an hour approved a motion to place the action on the agenda for a vote at its regular board meeting some two-and-a-half hours later.
Allegany Hope has advised county legislators previously of the state Open Meetings Law which provides that “any proposed resolution, law, rule, regulation, policy or any amendment thereto, that is scheduled to be the subject of discussion by a public body during an open meeting shall be made available, upon request therefor, to the extent practicable at least twenty-four hours prior to the meeting during which the records will be discussed,” and posted to the county’s website within the same time frame.
We received an updated agenda at 9:22AM yesterday which provided notice of two new resolutions being added to the Board’s 2PM proposed actions, but without any documentation as to what they were.
Following our request for the documents, Riehle responded that she hadn’t yet been provided with the final copies. They later were received at 12:02PM, less than two hours before the start of the regular board meeting, as part of an Updated Board Packet.
However, during the regular board meeting, the clerk said the resolution provided in regard to the public works superintendent had been further amended to add a section which alters the county’s 2022 salary schedule.
The changed resolution wasn’t read before the board voted to approved it and hasn’t been received or posted.
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