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Village cuts ties with tax administrator

LISBON — Village council cut ties with its tax administrator on Monday after she failed to show up for work and then did not return text messages during that period.

The action was taken at a special council meeting held Monday and on the recommendation of village Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner, who said part-time administrator had taken off sick earlier in the month but at least responded when Wonner texted her to find out why she had not shown up for work.

The administrator told Wonner she had the flu. When the illness dragged on into a second week, Wonner said she texted the administrator on Jan. 16 to inquire if she was coming in that day. The administrator advised she intended to, and Wonner told her she needed to bring a doctor’s excuse.

When the administrator did not show up and failed to respond to Wonner’s text, Wonner called the temporary worker agency through whom she was hired in 2018. The temp agency contacted the administrator’s father, who indicated his daughter was fine. Wonner had not heard from her since.

The administrator had taken off sick before but nothing like this, and when she cut off communication that was the final straw. “I want to say I’ve lost confidence in her ability to be here … on a regular basis,” Wonner said.

“It’s real simple: Three days and no contact, you’re gone,” said council member Jerry Cox.

Former village tax administrator Nancy Francis was hired on an interim basis for $15.15 an hour until council decides what it wants to do. Francis resigned in the summer of 2018 to become the assistant treasurer in the Wellsville school system, but Wonner said she has agreed work in the evenings to get the village caught up as tax season progresses.

Mayor Peter Wilson is a big proponent of contracting with the Regional Income Tax Agency to take over income tax collections, especially after it was shown the village could save money by doing so. Council voted down the idea of switching to RITA, saying residents preferred the personal touch of having someone at village hall, but Wilson announced in November he would like them to take a second look in 2020

Council President Dawn Thomas said they do not want to make a snap decision, and hiring Francis will give them the time they need to explore all options.

Wilson said because of tax season they need to make a decision sooner rather than later. “We need to resolve this one way or the other by the end of February,” he said.

“I don’t see any problem with that,” Cox said.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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