Town fire in­spec­tor re­in­stated

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

PORT EWEN >> The Esopus Town Board has re­in­stated Deb­bie Pugliese as town fire in­spec­tor af­ter nearly an hour in sep­a­rate closed-door meet­ings with her and town Build­ing In­spec­tor Ti­mothy Keefe.

The 4-0 vote for re­in­state­ment came at a meet­ing Mon­day af­ter Pugliese ex­plained her pa­per­work, which had been ques­tioned by Keefe last month.

“I did noth­ing wrong,” Pugliese said. “I was here, I held my head up high, I do my job. I’m a de­cent, hard-work­ing per­son, and ... the truth comes out.”

Pugliese was sus­pended af­ter Keefe met with town Su­per­vi­sor Diane McCord, who said there were ques­tions about whether fire in­spec­tion re­ports had been

fal­si­fied based on a per­sonal list kept by Pugliese to keep track of when prop­er­ties had been re­viewed.

McCord said her pre­vi­ous

ex­pla­na­tion that the suspension was the re­sult of a vote in an Oct. 26 ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion was in­cor- rect and that the de­ci­sion for a tem­po­rary suspension ac­tu­ally was made sev­eral days later, fol­low­ing a meet­ing she had with Keefe and Pugliese.

“We had a pri­vate meet­ing — [Coun­cil­man Les Kal­mus] and I and Deb­bie — ... and voted to sus­pend her,” McCord said. “I called [Coun­cil­man Kyle

Bar­nett], ex­plained what had hap­pened and that was his sug­ges­tion, that we sus­pend her.”

Board mem­bers said con­tentions from Keefe came to them in writ­ten form, marked “con­fi­den­tial,” but they wanted to wait un­til Mon­day to vote

as a board be­cause they did not un­der­stand the in­for­ma­tion.

Keefe was not avail­able for com­ment fol­low­ing the meet­ing or on Tues­day, when the Town Hall was closed.

Pugliese, an 11-year em­ployee of the town and fire

in­spec­tor for about nine years, em­phat­i­cally called the ac­cu­sa­tions “bo­gus” and wanted to as­sure town of­fi­cials and res­i­dents that all of her re­ports on file in the town of­fice are from ac­tual in­spec­tions she con­ducted of prop­er­ties and build­ings.

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