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Canton reinstates golf course employee

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CANTON — Four months after firing the superintendent of the Partridge Run Golf Course and Country Club, the village Board of Trustees voted Monday to reinstate Henry A. “Skip” Wason to the position as a year-round village employee.

The 3-1 vote came after a 90-minute closed-door session during a special village board meeting. The appointment is provisional and will be permanent if Mr. Wason scores among the top three on a civil service examination. He is scheduled to start April 1.

Contacted after the meeting, Mr. Wason said he was pleased that the board overturned his Nov. 19 termination.

“To be honest, I think it was politics and I think it got resolved,” Mr. Wason said. “I’m very, very happy about it. Now we can get right to work and have a successful golf season.”

Mayor David P. Curry said that, after considering all nine candidates who applied for the job, trustees felt Mr. Wason was the most qualified. Kevin R. Maginn will continue to serve as the golf professional for the course.

“The village felt he’s always done a good job for the course,” Mr. Curry said of Mr. Wason. “The board wanted to make it a civil service job.”

Village officials have declined to explain why Mr. Wason was fired in the first place because it involved personnel matters.

He had worked at the course since it opened in 1994.

Mr. Curry emphasized that, instead of keeping Mr. Wason as an independent contractor, the position will now be a 12-month civil service job that includes health insurance and retirement benefits. The village board will oversee the position.

The salary will be $40,000 a year, while benefits will cost the village $14,000 to $15,000 a year, Mr. Curry said. The current village budget includes an annual contractual fee of $56,000 for the job, which previously ran from April 1 to Nov. 1.

Mr. Wason said he believes making the job a year-round village employee position is a positive step. He said that during the off-season he will help maintain equipment and be involved with planning and budgeting.

“I think it gives stability to the position,” he said.

After the board terminated his contract, Mr. Wason hired an attorney, Meredith Savitt, of Albany, who has been involved in negotiations with Gerald A. Ducharme, the village’s attorney.

Trustee Mary Ann Ashley said she cast the only no vote because she wanted to uphold her personal integrity and the integrity of the village. She was among three trustees who voted to terminate Mr. Wason’s contract in November.

“One of the core things I value is excellence in public service,” she said. “I was not going to kowtow to political pressure, bullying or threats. I’m confident we can move forward now.”

Voting to reinstate Mr. Wason were Mr. Curry and Trustees Joseph J. Frank and Daniel J. McDonnell. Newly installed Trustee Michael E. Dalton abstained.

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