2011-02-03 / Front Page

Brewster Fires Code Enforcement Officer

Staff Reports

 

The Village of Brewster board of trustees voted unanimously February 2 to fire Code Enforcement Officer Robert Serino based on findings determined in a disciplinary hearing. Serino also is facing 10 felony charges.

Serino was arrested last September following an investigation of the village’s undocumented immigrants. He is accused of taking money from illegal aliens and telling them that he would provide them with a New York State driver’s license, although said licenses were never delivered to any of his customers. Serino originally faced six charges of grand larceny for the allegations, but four more were added in November.

“We did everything we needed to do and reviewed all the facts and the hearing officer’s report and we decided to terminate him,” Mayor James Schoenig said on Friday. “The criminal proceedings are [happening] over in the county, so that’s all we’re limited to talk about.”

Justice Joseph Spofford was appointed to “convene and conduct a disciplinary hearing” and provide the board with an analysis and recommendation of disciplinary action after hearing Serino’s testimony and the evidence presented against him.

Upon his arrest, Serino was suspended from his $72,000-a-year job pending the outcome of the case. At the time, Schoenig had told the Courier that Serino’s would be terminated if he were found guilty.

“[But] based upon the fact that Serino engaged in a pattern of plain and willful misconduct … [the board] determines that dismissal from employment with the village of Brewster is the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken with respect to this matter,” reads the adopted resolution. “[He] is not entitled to payment for the initial 30 day period of suspension which was imposed at the commencement of these proceedings.”

If found guilty of the 10 counts of grand larceny, Class E felonies, Serino faces up to six years in state prison. According to village clerk, Peter Brewster Hansen, Serino was employed by the village part-time in 2007 and became a full-time employee in 2009.

Joseph Hernandez is filling in as code enforcement officer part-time, while also holding the full-time position of assistant building inspector for the Town of Southeast. Ruth Mazzei, town clerk, told the Courier that the town is aware of Hernandez’s two roles.

 

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