Manlius Village Board approves $3,500 more in consultant fees

When the Eagle Bulletin e-mailed Serafin with questions pertaining to different parts of the board meeting, he answered two out of three categories. Inquiries about the DeVona/Curulla matter were left unanswered without explanation, including how many other candidates were interviewed for the village clerk position; how the additional 164 hours were paid if the board did not approve them and his justification for keeping Curulla on as a consultant as well as her qualifications/skill set to train DeVona. Serafin still did not respond after repeated attempts to obtain the information.

At the board meeting, the mayor was in support of further collaboration between DeVona and Curulla.

"When Lisa estimated, in all defense, 70 hours, she had just started her job and had not had a chance to get through everything," he said. "Our problem was when she reached the first threshold, the first phase, we should have come to the board with more to approve. That was our fault that we did not see that, but that does not lessen for a minute the value that Karen has brought to the office and to Lisa..."

DeVona, who emphasized that at her time of hire she had no supportive staff, handed the board a list of accomplishments that she and Curulla have made together.

"When I took this job, there was no accounting clerk," DeVona said. "Basically, I was given the task of finding, teaching, learning, searching for everything. So when I walked in I could have easily said to the board, 'you know what, I need a part-time accounting clerk just like you had...,' but if I had given that task to somebody we hired, I would have had no idea what I would have been supervising."

DeVona said she is planning to eventually request a part time assistant for tasks such as general data entry, but said she is not ready at this point.

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