Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Retaining part-time workers bedevils village


CHATHAM–The Village Board accepted Deputy Clerk Carissa Fair’s resignation last week. Ms. Fair, who was hired in May, is leaving to take a fulltime job with health benefits, a decision that prompted the board to discuss offering health benefits to some employees to keep them working for the village.

“I think we need a stable work force,” said Mayor Tom Curran at the board’s October 9 meeting. The former village clerk left in April after taking a job with benefits. Village Administrator Barbara Henry took over the position of clerk for 30 hours a week with no health benefits. The board then created the part-time deputy clerk position, which also came with no health benefits and a 30-hour work week.

There are two full-time employees in the village who receive health benefits; both work in the Water and Sewer departments.

The board changed not only the clerk position to part time. The village also hired a part-time police chief and exclusively part-time police officers plus a part-time manager for the Department of Public Works.

“I think we are going to lose help if we don’t offer benefits,” the mayor told the board at the meeting. The board approved authorizing paid vacation time to for the clerk, the deputy clerk and the police chief at last month’s meeting.

The board reviewed some of the options for adding benefits and possibly changing the hours for the two office positions. Trustees discussed cutting the deputy clerk to 20 hours a week and making the clerk a full-time job with benefits.

Trustee Lenore Packet pointed out that when the village loses knowledgeable employees it then has to train the people who replace them. “It affects the community and the village as a whole,” she said of the time to get a new clerk trained.

The board will continue to discuss adding health benefits at a workshop meeting Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Discussed the new Chatham Police website,, where residents can find the police officer assigned to their part of the village
  • Discussed lowing the speed limit on Kinderhook Street from 30 to 25 mph. Police Chief Peter Volkmann said that the police monitored the street at different times and the fastest vehicles they observed was a car going 35 mph
  • Approved closing Kinderhook Street from Woodbridge Avenue to Park Row on Halloween, October 31, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. for trick-or-treating
  • Approved issuing a bond to pay for an air compressor for the Village Fire Department costing $49,500. The compressor is used to fill firefighter breathing air tanks
  • Approved resolution to request that the state Department of Transportation consider adding a parking spot on Main Street that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The board also wants the state to look into improving the crosswalk at Church Street and Woodbridge Avenue.

The next Village Board meeting will be Thursday, November 13 at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial.


To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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