By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — Syracuse Town Council approved the resignation of Town Manger Mike Noe in a 3-2 vote during its regular meeting Tuesday night, May 18. Councilmen Bill Musser and Paul Stoelting both voted against accepting Noe’s resignation.
Vern Landis, town attorney, explained since Noe resigned without cause and did not give 90 days notice as his contract stipulated, the council also had to approve giving him 90 days pay with benefits. The council voted unanimously to give Noe his pay and benefits for 90 days.
Noe resigned abruptly after serving as the town manager and public works superintendent since December 2018. Prior to working for the Town of Syracuse, Noe served as the public works superintendent for seven years in North Webster.
Noe’s resignation comes allegedly after members of the Syracuse Town Council requested he terminate the wastewater foreman and the wastewater laboratory technician.
Noe did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
Stoelting said in a brief phone interview prior to the meeting that he, Musser and Councilman Larry Martindale did not have any first-hand knowledge as to what led to the resignation.
Stoelting said he learned of the resignation from “a secondary source.” Stating he is “not real happy with the situation,” because he believes the council should act as one body, Stoelting said he assumed the council would approve the resignation at the council meeting held Tuesday night.
When reached for comment late last week, Martindale stated “I was told not to talk to you,” saying Landis was to serve as spokesperson for the town council. Landis was out of the office until Monday, May 17.
When reached for comment, Landis explained why the council had to approve or reject Noe’s resignation in a public meeting.
When asked why the council did not issue a statement at the time of Noe’s resignation, Landis explained he was out of town and no one on the council thought about issuing a statement. Landis admitted the council could have handled the matter better, stating he learned of Noe’s resignation while on a trip out of town.
Council President Larry Siegel did not return numerous phone calls. Musser also did not return a call seeking information. However at the council meeting, Musser stated while he thought running both the public works department and being town manager was too much for Noe, Musser had high praise for him. “I thought he was an excellent town manager,” Musser said, noting the improvements around town such as the dam, as well as business expansion that occurred under Noe’s tenure.
Last week The Mail-Journal received an email from “a concerned citizen” claiming with the termination of the wastewater foreman and the wastewater laboratory technician, the wastewater treatment plant was without a certified licensed plant operator.
Clerk-Treasure Virginia Cazier said the town has hired Commonwealth Engineering, and CF Environmental to run the wastewater treatment plant. “We had this in place before this went down,” she said. Councilman Tom Hoover returned a phone call to The Mail-Journal after hours last week. In his message, he stated there were no issues with the wastewater treatment plant’s operation. “We have people down there,” he said.
During the council’s meeting, it voted to have CF Environmental Labs oversee operations at the wastewater treatment plant until August. The cost is $825 a week to have a certified operator on-site and $405 a week for lab testing.
Jeremy Harding of Commonwealth Engineering, the town’s engineering firm, recommended the town hire CF Environmental Labs since its bid was lower and the company can have an operator on-site five days a week. The vote was 4-1 with Stoelting voting against the measure.