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Subpoena? voted in?flap over ?audiotape

Hamburg Town Board members voted in a closed session this week to subpoena an audiotape of a dust-up between a councilman and a consultant for the town that occurred in May.

It's the latest round between town officials who don't get along in the "Town That Friendship Built."

Councilman Joseph Collins, at the Aug. 20 meeting, played a portion of the tape of a fight he and Human Resources Consultant Brian Doyle had in a hallway of Town Hall on May 30. Doyle could be heard in a loud voice on the tape, but much of the tape could not be understood.

Doyle asked that the recording be made part of the official record of the meeting, and Collins was asked to provide it. He did not, and the board majority did not approve the minutes of the meeting because they were incomplete.

Supervisor Steven J. Walters said after the Sept. 10 meeting that, because Collins played the recording at a Town Board meeting, he has an obligation to provide it as part of the record of the meeting. The resolution, which Collins did not vote for, said he had "evidence he obtained in his official capacity as councilman."

The tape also is "pertinent" to a complaint filed "against an officer of this town," according to the resolution the Town Board passed, 2-1, in executive session Monday.

Doyle filed workplace harassment charges against Collins, and it is believed the recording could be evidence in that internal case. Doyle has said that Collins poked him during the incident in the hall May 30, while Collins maintains Doyle harassed him. Collins also filed workplace harassment charges against Doyle.

Collins and Doyle have had a number of disagreements, and Collins maintains that the hiring of Doyle to be the labor relations specialist earlier this year should be overturned. Doyle was the deputy town attorney before being named labor relations consultant.

The resolution adopted in executive session gives the town's Legal Department the authority "to take all necessary steps to effectuate this subpoena."

email: bobrien