Stony Point townies will no longer be gainfully employed by the taxpayers
Charles and James Bruntfield were officially terminated from their jobs as irrigation technicians and groundskeepers at the Stony Point town golf course at a special meeting of the town board on Tuesday morning. The vote was unanimous 5-0, retroactive to their suspension October 30.
The Bruntfields had been charged by the town of improperly and illegally using town vehicles, to miserably fail in an attempt to extract a personal car which they got stuck in the woods, following the freak Halloween weekend blizzard. The brothers ended up getting a town pick-up truck and a town tractor stuck in addition to their own personal car.
The town said the brothers, both between the ages 25 and 33, did not have authority to use the vehicles, and James Bruntfield was arrested and charged with a felony count of burglary in the case. Charles, also known as Chicky, was not arrested for his part in the incident.
Town officials have said anonymously that the Bruntfields were known for drunken and incompetent behavior and this offense was the final straw and way over the line. The Bruntfield brothers’ position at the golf course had paid them over $55K plus benefits each.
Days before the scheduled hearing that led to their termination, the Bruntfields had Councilwoman Luanne Konopko and Councilman James White personally served with a “notice of claim,” that the town would be sued over their decision. The standard operating procedure is for the town clerk to be served, as that is her official duty. Instead the council members were directly confronted, which has led to speculation that the Bruntfields were trying to intimidate board members.
Strangely, the brothers claim says they were unfairly targeted for political reasons, due to their being cousins of the town political gadfly Stephen Cole-Hatchard, who lost in this year’s council election. Cole-Hatchard did not answer a call to his house.
On the bright side, the town will save approximately $14K or so every month that nobody fills the positions of the Bruntfields. With winter being the slow season for golf course employees, a new hire is not expected until the spring and the town board has the option of only hiring one full-time worker at that time, instead of two.