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Devine resigns from village code enforcement post

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MASSENA — Peter T. Devine was thanked for his service as code enforcement officer for the village Tuesday night.

While thanking an employee upon his retirement or resignation isn’t unusual, the employee usually has held the job for more than a week.

The Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to accept Mr. Devine’s resignation, retroactive to Aug. 27. Mr. Devine was appointed to the position Aug. 20.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Devine said he was under the impression when he was hired that he would be the department head for the code enforcement office.

“The main reason for my resignation is, you hired me as the CEO of the village, which should include the role of department head,” he wrote to Mayor James F. Hidy. “I was told by you after I was appointed that you wanted the fire department to be the department heads.”

Mr. Devine said he and his secretary were continually bypassed on code enforcement issues. He also noted a conversation he had with Mr. Hidy on the evening he was hired.

“You stated to me that you knew the fire department could handle all of the code work in the village without another code officer,” he said, adding that he then asked the mayor why he was hired.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Hidy said he doesn’t understand why Mr. Devine thought he was going to be a department head.

“The way it was set up was he would work in conjunction with the fire department,” Mr. Hidy said. “The code enforcement office would fall under the auspices of the fire department,” and fire department foreman Kenneth J. McGowan “would be the department head. It didn’t make sense to me to have a part-time department head working for the village when we could consolidate the position.”

Mr. Hidy said that Mr. McGowan is now serving as the department head for both the fire department and the village code enforcement office.

Mr. Devine said Tuesday evening that he does not expect his resignation to affect his other job as coordinator of the village housing program.

“It will have no impact whatsoever,” he said.

Mr. Devine declined to elaborate on the reasons for his resignation.

“I think at this point I would just as soon not comment on the reasons until a few things are resolved,” he said. “Some things are better left alone.”

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