Town fire inspector reinstated
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.