West Seneca paid a code enforcement officer facing disciplinary charges $25,000 to retire.
John A. Gullo, 53, who worked for the town for more than 30 years, was accused of making renovations on his house without obtaining a building permit.
He officially retired July 21, according to a statement released by the town. He had been put on unpaid administrative leave May 4 as a result of the disciplinary charges.
In exchange for retirement, he was paid a one-time lump sum of $25,000, minus deductions. He also is being given the least expensive single health coverage plan offered by the town until he turns 65. The pending disciplinary charges against him were withdrawn. The town pays health care for retired employees, including Medicare supplements, said Town Attorney John Fenz. But Gullo will not receive town health care after he is 65, under the settlement.
"We're pleased with the resolution," said Andrew Fleming, the attorney for Gullo.
Gullo was placed on leave May 4 because of administrative charges placed against him by the town.
Two sources with knowledge of the charges who did not want to be named said a discrepancy in the size of Gullo’s house was discovered when Gullo was preparing to sell it. The house was advertised as 400 square feet larger than what the town had in its assessment records.
Assessors generally review building permits and may adjust the assessment for houses depending on the value of the work that was performed.
Gullo’s property is assessed at $98,600. Property in West Seneca is assessed at 40 percent of its market value, which would translate to a market value of $246,500. The house was sold for $297,000 June 26.
"Throughout its disciplinary review, the Town Board continued to consider all of its legal options and obligations related to the disciplinary charges against Mr. Gullo and determined that a settlement agreement was its best option. This settlement avoids significant legal costs for the disciplinary hearing and related legal services," the town's statement said.
Gullo was suspended as town emergency manager and will not be returning to that position, the town attorney said.
Fleming said Gullo, who is a member of Vigilant Fire Department, looks forward to serving the West Seneca community in any capacity he can.
This is the second time in less than 10 years that the town suspended a code enforcement officer amid allegations of wrongdoing, and then agreed to a settlement.
William P. Czuprynski was suspended without pay in December 2009, after it was found he drew many of the building plans he was supposed to approve or reject, and charged residents and developers fees for his drawings. The town agreed to drop the charges in 2010 in exchange for his retirement.