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Abuse of power and public trust

Gazette Reporter

GLOVERSVILLE - Kathi Hillock, the city's assistant assessor, resigned her post on Thursday and took the occasion to criticize the last city administration for what she called "abuse of power and public trust."

Hillock, an eight-year employee in the assessor's office where her title was real property appraiser, has been appointed assessor in the towns of Mayfield and Johnstown.

Today is her last day with the city. She said she notified former mayor Abraham V. Seroussi on Nov. 22 that she would be leaving.

She filed her formal letter of resignation on Thursday with Mayor Frank LaPorta, who declined comment on Hillock's remarks.

"That was something that happened before I got here," LaPorta said.

In her eight years with the city, Hillock said in the letter, "it has been unfortunate to experience the abuse of power and public trust displayed by the elected leaders of this city.

"Their deceitful actions and words have become a game of power and control where they are guaranteed winners who play by their own set of rules," Hillock said. "The citizens of this community are at a loss since they ultimately pay the price."

Hillock closed her letter by expressing hope the new administration "will be able to restore integrity lost within our city government. We need to get back to a government by the people, for the people."

Councilman Michael Rose, R-Ward 4 - also chairman of the Fulton County Republican Committee - was read a copy of the letter but declined comment.

Seroussi could not be reached for comment. A Common Council member who spoke on condition of anonymity said Hillock became embittered during negotiations with the council last year over a proposed $2,500 raise.

The council member said because Hillock had threatened litigation when the council initially declined to grant a raise, she was offered the money on the condition she sign a release pledging not to file suit. Hillock declined that agreement, the council member said, and soon thereafter took the positions in the towns.

Hillock was also pulled into a controversy involving her mother, former Councilwoman Marie Schutz, R-Ward 2, who two years ago used a document from the assessor's office in her successful campaign against then-Supervisor Anthony Cerasuolo.

The document purported to show that Cerasuolo had arranged to have the assessment reduced on a South Main Street property he was purchasing. Schutz used the document as a campaign flier.

Cerasuolo complained to the council and the city Ethics Board that he was unfairly smeared. The council invoked a provision in the City Charter and conducted an investigation. Council members said they wanted to know how the document was removed from the assessor's office. Critics of the investigation said the document was a public record available to anyone.


submitted by: Werner Hetzner

source:  Schenectady Gazette 


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