Still no report


By David Avitabile

The wait for "The Report" continues, with no end in sight.
As Schoharie County residents, elected officials and employees wait anxiously for the report into allegations of harassment, the findings still sit on an attorney's desk in Westchester.
Board Chairman Phil Skowfoe spoke to members of the law firm conducting the investigation on Monday morning and learned little on when the report will be released.
"I still don't have an answer," Mr. Skowfoe said late Monday morning.
"I hope it will be released in the next two weeks or three...I just don't have a good concrete answer for anybody."
Mr. Skowfoe does not expect the report or its findings to be discussed at the county board's regular meeting on October 20. When the findings are to be released, he expects there to be a special meeting of the board to digest it. Supervisors have agreed to have representatives of the law firm present the information to the full board.
Once the board hears the findings and recommendations, it will then be up to the supervisors on whether to release the details of the report, which cost about $280,000.
With Election Day looming, "I imagine some want it out and some don't," Mr. Skowfoe added.
Gene Milone of Schoharie, who was the proponent of the investigation, is one of the supervisors that definitely wants it released to the public.
"They have every right to know its content. I will not be part of it not being unveiled."
Mr. Milone said he is "as frustrated as anyone else with the delay," but with an investigative law firm, the question is, whether "you want it done or do you want it done right?"
Some supervisors don't want the report released, Mr. Milone said.
"They want it swept under the carpet and that's not going to happen," Mr. Milone said Monday.
He is hoping that the report will be released the second week of October and at least before Election Day.
"Everyone wants to see what's in it."
He could not reveal much, but from what he has seen, "It's not good."
After the report, findings and recommendations have been released to supervisors, Mr. Milone hopes there will be action.
New policies and procedures need to be put in place to make sure this wrongdoing "never happens again," he added.
While some people have railed against the cost of the report, Mr. Milone answered, "We've protracted the county through all this. Think of how many lawsuits have been saved."
One supervisor who has questioned the need for the report from the beginning is Dan Singletary of Jefferson.
The report is totally political, and if it is released before Election Day and Sheriff candidate Todd Ethington loses, the county will likely face a major lawsuit, Mr. Singletary said.
Mr. Ethington's wife, Cassie Ethington, is head of the county's personnel office and has been rumored to be the target of allegations in the report.
"A first-year law student could show it's totally political," Mr. Singletary said of the report.
To release it before Election Day would "be awful" for the county. "It frightens me," Mr. Singletary added.
"It has nothing to do with harassment" and is just political.
"You can't do stuff like this in this day and age."
Mr. Singletary has gone back and forth on whether to release the report, but has decided, "It's pretty much a worthless document besides telling future boards not to do this again.
"I don't see any real worth in it coming out."