Harassment complaints from Town of Union employees led to Sotak investigation

TOWN OF UNION, N.Y. - More information is coming out about the harassment investigation of Town of Union Supervisor Rose Sotak.

The investigation began when a number of town employees came forward to report verbal harassment.

At Wednesday night's board meeting, Sotak held over a number of resolutions regarding the findings of the investigation, turning over the results to the Town's insurance carrier along with retaining a local law firm to assist with removing Sotak from office.

According to a 5-page report produced by Coughlin & Gerhart law firm, 22 witnesses comprised of Town employees were interviewed with the majority indicating Sotak as "volatile, erratic, unpredictable, unstable and paranoid."

The report also indicates Sotak threatened to fire employees.

Sotak allegedly used profane, offensive and humiliating language toward Town employees as well.

She allegedly told one employee that "they belong in a mental institution."

Other quotes include "I have the votes to remove you", "You better retire" and "I'm the only thing between you and the Town Council."

Town of Union Board Member Tom Augostini says the Town is committed to protecting its employees.

"It's a difficult situation. It's not a sin to have a problem, but it's a sin to not address a problem. When we're notified of a problem, we're obligated to address it," said Augostini.

A number of residents discussed the timetable of the allegations as well as financial concerns about paying for attorneys.

"Now, it appears we're taking on some type of legal trouble. We've had to retain attorneys at $250 per hour, and we may also have to pay for Rose Sotak to have an attorney to defend her. The Council hasn't said where that money is coming from," said Town of Union Resident Heather Staley.

Other complaints on the report describe conversations with Sotak as "a one-way uninterrupted tirade of yelling and screaming."

Sotak is not addressing the media but did release a statement Wednesday dismissing the claims.

The held over resolutions will be on the agenda for the Town's March 1st meeting.

However, they could be tabled, but only if a majority of council members approve that decision. 


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