Suspended fire inspector says allegations are false
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.”