Scribner: state audit of highway likely

Brian Rozell’s response to the Whitehall town board was quick.

He resigned.

Rozell, the now former highway superintendent who is at the center of an investigation into the use of fuel oil at the town highway garage, sent in his letter of resignation to the board on Oct. 31.

“I, Brian Rozell, hereby resign the office of town highway superintendent effective immediately on receipt by the town clerk of Whitehall,” said the letter from Rozell to the town.

Because of the resignation, Rozell will not appear in front of the Whitehall town board at their Nov. 6 meeting.

“I take it that way,” said town supervisor Vernon Scribner. “We cannot call an executive session to call him to talk to the board now that he has resigned.”

Scribner said that he was not sure what the next step would be in finding out the facts about the possible misuse of fuel oil at the garage.

“That I don’t know,” said Scribner. “That will be something that we will probably have to decide at the next board meeting.”

Scribner said that he felt an audit would be the best way to move forward.

“I am in favor of doing an audit and see where we stand when it is completed,” said Scribner.

In the original police report from the Washington County Sheriff’s department, which was completed on Oct. 8, stated that neither county sheriff Roger Leclaire or county District Attorney Kevin Kortright felt that there was enough evidence to press criminal charges.

Scribner said that the opinion of the duo could change after an audit is completed.

“Well, there could be a possibility of that happening if we re-open the investigation and go back further,” said Scribner. “It could all be depending on what an audit would show.”

Scribner said that an audit would also give the new highway superintendent the chance to go forward.

“We should do an audit for the sake of whoever the new man at the head of the department is so he can start fresh from day one,” said Scribner.

Scribner said that Louis Pratt, a town highway employee, was running the department on Monday morning.

“Louis is in charge because Bob Putorti, the deputy town highway superintendent, is off this week and not able to work until his doctor releases him,” said Scribner. “I talked with Bob and he’s in favor of that, Louis being in charge until he can come back.”

Putorti was also named in the investigation, and addressed the board last week concerning his involvement.

Scribner said that the town board will look to appoint a new highway superintendent as early as the Nov. 6 meeting.

Attempts to reach Rozell for comment for this story were unsuccessful as his phone was disconnected as of Friday.

 

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