Sus­pended fire in­spec­tor says al­le­ga­tions are false

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

Town Board mem­bers sus­pended town Fire In­spec­tor Deb­bie Pugliese for al­legedly fal­si­fy­ing re­ports and on Mon­day ex­pect to get an up­date whether the prob­lems have been cor­rectly char­ac­ter­ized.

Su­per­vi­sor Diane Mc­Cord on Fri­day said the sus­pen­sion, au­tho­rized dur­ing an Oct. 28 ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion, was set af­ter Pugliese was con­fronted with ac­cu­sa­tions that came from a Build­ing Depart­ment em­ployee.

“There was ... a vote to sus­pend with­out pay un­til we meet on Mon­day,” she said.

Mc­Cord said when meet­ing pri­vately with Pugliese that, “I asked her to bring me up the fire in­spec­tion re­ports and she brought me up five.” Mc­Cord added her im­pres­sion is that there are sup­posed to be “more than five re­ports a year” that have been done by the depart­ment.

“It would be like 20 re­ports a year,” she said.

Mc­Cord said she ex­pects to have a dis­cus­sion with the town at­tor­ney on Mon­day about what li­a­bil­ity there is for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“I don’t know how far back it goes,” Mc­Cord said. “This just came to our at­ten­tion.”

Pugliese, an 11-year em­ployee of the town and fire in­spec­tor for about nine years, on Satur­day called the ac­cu­sa­tions “bo­gus” and the re­sult of a vendetta by an­other Build­ing Depart­ment em­ployee.

“This is a to­tal setup and I’m fu­ri­ous,” she said. “I’m fu­ri­ous that he’s mess­ing with my in­tegrity.”

Pugliese said there would be about 20 fire in­spec­tion re­ports but she brought the five that she had in hand when asked for the doc­u­ments.

Asked if there are re­ports for in­spec­tions that were never done, Pugliese re­sponded: “Ab­so­lutely not. This is what I tried to ex­plain to (board mem­bers) ... I didn’t do any­thing wrong. I didn’t fal­sify my doc­u­ments. My God.”

She said all of her re­ports on file in the town of­fice are from ac­tual in­spec­tions she con­ducted of prop­er­ties and

build­ings. She added that the Town Board was given her per­sonal list of prop­er­ties to in­sin­u­ate that files were not cor­rectly han­dled.

“It’s a list of ... ap­prox­i­mate dates,” she said. “It’s not an of­fi­cials list ... it’s not a list that’s re­quired by the town, it’s a list I made from (the com­puter soft­ware) Works for my­self. So it’s not some­thing that I had to turn into any­body.”

Among the prob­lems is that while Pugliese has the ti­tle of fire in­spec­tor her 20hour work week in­cludes non-fire in­spec­tion as­sign­ments.

“I do build­ing in­spec­tions. I do op­er­at­ing per­mits. I do the fire in­spec­tions. I do the com­plaints. I

do the annual send­ing out of the op­er­at­ing per­mits ... so there’s a lot more to do,” Pugliese said. “Plus I have to do 95 per­cent of my own paper­work be­cause I don’t have a sec­re­tary.”

Pugliese was also an­gry the ac­cu­sa­tions are be­ing made pub­lic.

“My in­tegrity is so im­por­tant to me,” she said. “I’m some­body who feels I want to be a good model to peo­ple. I know I’m a good person, I know I’m hon­est, I know I go the ex­tra mile for any­body I can, es­pe­cially with this job.”

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