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Keeping village clerk doesn’t make sense

April 15, 2011
Editorial by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Publisher Catherine Moore, Managing Editor Peter Crowley

It's good that the Lake Placid village board did not reappoint village Clerk Kathryn "Kook" McKillip, but it's bad that the board is letting her keep working until a replacement is hired. A state audit revealed too many payroll problems on Ms. McKillip's watch for the public to trust her with this position any longer.

To recap, she gave herself and other village managers payouts for unused leave time when there was no policy allowing these. Worse, she went beyond her own accrued leave time and paid herself $22,744 for time she hadn't even earned. There were other problems, too, like village employees' health insurance continuing past their employment times, signature stamps mixed up among offices and water-sewer bills that didn't add up.

Ms. McKillip has said there is another side to this story, but she still has not explained that to the taxpayers whose money ended up in her bank account when it clearly wasn't supposed to.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne is investigating this matter and says the crux is whether Ms. McKillip intended to steal from the public coffers. If he finds evidence that convinces him she did, he will pursue criminal charges. If not, the village may still have to sue her to get its money back. Getting that restitution for the taxpayers is crucial and shouldn't have to come from a civil suit; Ms. McKillip should have paid it back immediately.

If she didn't steal the money, why did she take it? Was she just horribly mistaken? The public, knowing what we know, can only assume she would have had to be pretty sloppy and had a strong sense of self-entitlement to make such sizable errors in her own favor. Her unearned payout total ($22,744 not counting unauthorized payouts for accrued leave time) is more than many full-time workers make in a year.

We're sad to say this, but the bottom line is that whether the money is missing due to theft or incompetence, Ms. McKillip should have been fired some time ago.

 
 

 

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