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Lake Placid village clerk situation remains unresolved

April 16, 2012

LAKE PLACID - For the second year in a row, the Lake Placid village Board of Trustees did not reappoint village Clerk Kathryn "Kook" McKillip at the Monday, April 9 annual meeting, but like last year, she'll keep her job until further notice.

Mayor Craig Randall said the "situation remains unsettled but is making progress." He told the Enterprise Wednesday that talks between the village and the clerk continue, but he declined to predict when the situation would be resolved.

The matter dates back to a December 2010 audit report by the state Comptroller's Office that revealed McKillip paid herself more than $22,000 in leave time payments that she hadn't earned, among other irregularities. McKillip was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing for mishandling village finances, and so far she has also avoided paying restitution.

McKillip declined to comment for this story and referred all questions to her attorney, Jim Brooks of Lake Placid. Brooks said he's been in talks with the village's attorney and is "waiting to hear back." Asked if the ball is in the village's court, Brooks said, "That's a fair way to describe it."

Randall said he can't put a timeline on when the situation would be remedied.

"We first had to let the whole criminal piece run its course, and that really did not get concluded until early in the fall," he said. "And the village attorneys, together with the counsel for the clerk, have been trying to resolve the issues here so we can come up with a determination. As much as anyone else, I'd like to be able to announce what that is, but I'm not able to do that yet."

The audit also found that McKillip and other department heads and employees received approximately $70,000 in payments for unused sick times. Such payments had been made in the past but were not authorized by village policy. The comptroller's report also cited other irregularities like duplicate check-signing stamps, utility bill errors and health insurance payments for former employees.

State auditors recommended a criminal investigation, but Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, said former Mayor Jamie Rogers may have authorized McKillip to take the payment. Rogers hassaid he didn't know the accounting details but may have let McKillip take the payments because she worked many extra hours.

Trustees have since added a staff member to oversee the village's payroll and accounting, instead of McKillip.

Randall said he's hopeful the matter can be brought to a conclusion.

"It's a difficult position for the individual that's in that office right now," he said. "She remains as a holdover; it doesn't make her eligible for any other benefit considerations or anything else we may be offering our staff."

McKillip was not among nine non-union employees who received 2 percent pay raises in March.



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