Lake Placid Village Mayor Craig Randall defended his decision Monday to keep embattled village Clerk Kathryn McKillip working while officials probe whether to pursue charges against her.
Speaking to an unusually large crowd of 40 residents, Randall said McKillip no longer handles village cash and isn't a threat to the taxpayer.
"The clerk in her capacity as a clerk does a very good job. Suspension right now - while this investigation goes on - comes with full pay and benefits. Then I have to go out and find substitution for that period of time, so it increases our costs," he said. "The corrective actions that we've taken have removed all of the issues from the clerk's jurisdiction which she was inappropriately given back in 2008."
A recent audit by the state Comptroller's Office discovered that since 2004, McKillip has received nearly $40,000 in improper leave time accruals. The document alleges that while she was temporarily acting as village treasurer, she received about $22,000 that she hadn't even earned.
And residents like Connie Issleb aren't pleased with the lack of board oversight.
"The big thing is the time that was not entitled," she said. "I think that's the big problem that most of the people here have."
Councilman Zay Curtis pointed out that in 2008 McKillip was assigned work which she wasn't properly trained.
"She is a very good clerk, but given accounting functions. She's not qualified to be an accountant. That's where the problem comes from," he said. "The people that are here - the department heads that we have - I believe are an outstanding bunch of people."
McKillip - who usually keeps minutes at village board meetings - had been excused and was not present.
Randall and the board are pointing most of the blame for the scathing audit at outdated or unclear policies and procedures.