Town of Owego Supervisor says town board is undermining its own highway superintendent

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 5:25 PM EDT
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TOWN OF OWEGO (WBNG) -- Owego Town Supervisor Donald Casteluuci Jr. discussed what he said are actions by the majority of the town board in recent months surrounding the Town of Owego Highway Department operations.

Particularly, Castelucci called out an effort to undermine newly elected Highway Superintendant Mike Roberts.

According to Castelucci, the board is denying Roberts budgeted vehicles due to a processing error that he said can be corrected with a resolution. He claimed there is a piece of equipment being withheld for, what he said, “is no other reason than spite” and that the majority of the board is trying to “exert control over the daily decisions of the highway superintendent.”

“What we need to do here is allow the highway superintendent to get the materials and equipment he needs and it’s not being done,” said Castelucci. “It’s not past practice and I have tones of meeting minutes here that show what we have done inn the past.”

Castellucci claims he overheard another council member saying, “Do you think this is a smoking gun?” in reference to the board trying to gain information to remove people from office.

In response to Castelucci, Owego Town Council members Gary Hellmers, Jonathan Mark and Craig Jochum said, in part:

“No egregious actions have been taken by the majority of the board to undermine the highway supervisor’s ability to manage his workforce. In fact, the board has been consistently trying to work with the highway supervisor on all levels with less-than a positive response. The majority of the town board is consistently working for the benefit of the taxpayers and to be fiscally responsible and to hold elected officials accountable.”