Five resign from Lysander Clerk's office

Aug. 21 will be the last day for Lysander's three remaining employees in the town clerk's office.

On Aug. 20, Town Clerk Gale Grice notified Supervisor Barry Bullis that she would be resigning effective at the end of business Friday. Part-time Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Conino and part-time Clerk 1 Patricia Pidgeon will join Grice. Mary Beth Peterson, who was appointed as the full-time deputy town clerk earlier this year, resigned on Aug. 17, and Clerk 1 and Records Clerk Ann Peterson resigned Aug. 20.

"{Q}It's been very uncomfortable here for me and I think my staff feels the same way{Q}," Grice said about the resignations. "They're losing some good people."

Bullis said he was in shock to hear about Grice's resignation, and even more so that it came with such a short notice and that the rest of the department was leaving as well.

"I would have liked to had a little notice," he said.

Bullis said he planned to look at resources from other towns and explore the possibility of sharing staff to keep the office open.

"Worse case scenario, the [clerk's] office may be closed for a few days until we can get some temporary employees then make a permanent appointment," he said. "I've got a lot of phone calls to make. It's not the end of the world though. We'll survive."

Grice cited internal conflicts as a reason for her departure adding she realized things were not going to change after the town set a salary of $0 for her appointment of Mary Beth Peterson as deputy town clerk.

"That appointment put me over the edge," she said.

Peterson was appointed after former Deputy Town Clerk Giselle Jellett was fired. Jellett then accused Grice of trying to increase her household income with the appointment, as Peterson was Grice's housemate. Her accusations led to the town board questioning the appointment and setting the salary at $0. Grice said Peterson had worked in her department for years and their living arrangement wasn't an issue with the board before, so why was it now?

In addition to the internal conflicts, the Republican Party did not endorse Grice this year, which is an election year for the position of town clerk. Instead, the Republican Party endorsed Lisa Dell.

At 57 and with nearly 20 years as the town clerk, Grice is eligible for retirement. She is also undergoing a career change and beginning a new position next week.

"I'm not doing anything to get even," she said. "I hope I've left a good legacy for the residents. I will miss working with [the residents]."

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