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TOWN CLERK TOLD HE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN JOBS

Amherst Town Clerk Daniel A. Longo said Monday that he spent 15 hours during business hours last week at his private sector job.

He has until today to tell Town Board members which job he plans to keep.

Republicans on the Town Board said Longo can't work both jobs, and they plan to raise his second job as a campaign issue in his race for the Town Board.

"You can't serve two masters," said James P. Hayes, a Republican council member who's seeking re-election in November. "You can't charge town taxpayers $55,000 a year and expect to duck out most mornings to go to another job."

Longo, a Democrat, said he intends to remain a candidate for the Town Board.

Longo, an information management specialist, succeeded Susan J. Grelick, a Democrat and the town's new supervisor, in January. At the time, he promised not to run for the $55,000-a-year clerk's position, which is on the ballot next month. That promise swung needed votes his way on a Town Board controlled 4-3 by Republicans.

It also left him needing a job with his one-year appointment expiring at year's end.

Longo said he accepted a job offer from Marriott Accounting and Control Center in October. He will be a manager in an office that handles the company's records and accounts for hospital and school food service.

Longo said he had agreed to work full time for the company after the Nov. 4 election, but its merger with another company required him to attend meetings last week.

"I had to spend some time there," Longo said. "The timing is the worst. It's an uncomfortable situation."

In a private meeting Monday, Amherst's personnel director told Town Board members about Longo's absences last week.

Ms. Grelick said Town Board members would discuss his status today.

"We'll discuss it after we hear what he decides," Ms. Grelick said.

Republican Council Member William L. Kindel said Longo must choose between the jobs.

"I'm not comfortable with what's going on," Kindel said. "It reflects poorly on the Town Board. He's put us in an uncomfortable position. As far as I'm concerned, we can't tolerate it."

Also on Monday, Ms. Grelick said only two of the four ice rinks planned for the town's new skating arena would be open by next September. Two of the rinks will open in November, she said.

An unsuccessful court fight to force a public referendum delayed the project and left Edgewater Ventures Co., the developer, unable to meet the original deadline for four rinks, said Council Member Jane S. Woodward.

"It put a giant hold on the project," Mrs. Woodward said.

The delayed opening also could complicate efforts by skating groups to book rinks next year, she said. Some groups may have to use ice rinks elsewhere and then come to the new Amherst arena later.

The Town Board approved by a 5-2 vote a contract with Sportservice Corp., Delaware North Cos.' ballpark and stadium concession company, to manage the ice skating arena. The Buffalo company will receive an annual fee of $100,000 under a three-year deal. The contract also calls for three three-year extensions.

Under the contract, Sportservice will be responsible for marketing the arena, collecting rental fees and other revenues, hiring and firing employees and cleaning the building.

Council Members Kindel and Thomas A. Loughran voted against the contract.

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