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Town of Wheatfield fills new rec position

by jmaloni
Fri, Feb 15th 2013 09:00 am

by Susan Mikula Campbell

Several new appointments, plus policy statements for use of town-owned vehicles and cell phones, were approved by the Wheatfield Town Board on Monday.

The town's newly created deputy recreation director position was filled by Michael Ranalli, Wheatfield native and employee in the town's Highway Department for the past five years.

Ranalli played baseball at Niagara-Wheatfield High School and at the State University of New York College at Brockport, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education, and played professional ball in Belgium in 2005.

With the town's recreation program growing to a seven-day-a-week, multiple location program, another supervisory position was needed, Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon said. "It gives us a second person to send out into the field."

In another recreation move, Danielle Burns was named as a recreation leader.

The board accepted the resignation of Angela Stamm Phillips as town prosecuting attorney with thanks for her service. She is moving to a position with the Supreme Court.

David Heim and Matthew Brooks were named town prosecuting attorneys for all matters coming before the Town of Wheatfield Justice Court.

Town Attorney Robert O'Toole said both Heim and Brooks are Wheatfield residents, are seasoned attorneys and have experience as prosecutors.

Staff meetings with an IRS representative have led the town to adopt policy statements regarding personal use of town vehicles and cell phones. A policy on reporting the $200 clothing allowance as a taxable benefit awaits union approval, O'Toole said.

On the use of town-owned vehicles, Supervisor Bob Cliffe said only the highway superintendent, water/sewer supervisor and recreation director take town vehicles home due to the nature of their jobs, which often require response during non-business hours.

The town will account for commuting use by employees by adding $3 a day to its reporting of the employee's gross income unless the employee keeps personal records.

The cell phone resolution indicates that town-provided cell phones are the property of the town and are to be used primarily for non-compensatory town purposes and therefore qualifies as a non-taxable working condition fringe benefit. Cliffe said this has been the practice in the town, at least for the past few years.

In other matters:

•Before adding his vote to approve town bills, Councilman Art Gerbec questioned Highway Superintendent Art Kroening and Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon on bills for chainsaw parts and mower repairs. Gerbec wanted to know whether every effort was made to use Wheatfield businesses when possible.

•The board approved the final plat map for Aidan Estates. The subdivision consisting of 14 single-family homes is located on Nash Road across from the Adams Volunteer Fire Co.

•A free AARP income tax preparation program for seniors will be held Feb. 20 at the Wheatfield Community Center. Call Gail at 716-694-8504 for reservations.

•Arlene Mante, senior director, complimented the Niagara-Wheatfield Tribune, official newspaper for the town, on a "beautiful job" on a Feb. 7 story on Wheatfield residents John Jr. and Frances Herstek, who have been married 71 years.

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