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Village decides to cut ties with clerk, now seeks replacement

April 13, 2013

LAKE PLACID - A two-year-long saga involving village Clerk Kathryn "Kook" McKillip reached at least partial closure Thursday, March 28 when McKillip was told the board would seek to replace her.

"She was advised that she did not have the votes for her reappointment," village Mayor Craig Randall told the News, "and that the request of the board that the mayor post the position and seek candidates would be going forward.

"She remains on the payroll for a period of time, but effectively she is not in the office."

Randall asked McKillip for her key to the office, said village Trustee Jason Leon, who said the mayor informed him of the situation.

There weren't enough votes among village board members to reappoint McKillip the last two years, either, but she was kept on as village clerk as a "holdover," as Randall called it.

He was vague about what is different this year.

"It seemed to the existing board members that this was an unfinished piece of business that should not be allowed to go forward into the next term, which will actually start on Monday," Randall said.

The board hasn't advertised for the position before now. In June 2011, Randall told the News that he was holding off doing so because he wanted to wait until negotiations were completed over money she might owe the village. At the time, he said he hoped to seek out a new clerk by the end of that summer.

McKillip was cited for paying herself more than $22,000 in leave time that she hadn't earned, among other irregularities, in a December 2010 audit report by the state Comptroller's Office. She was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing for mishandling village finances, and so far she has avoided paying restitution.

"We haven't been able to resolve it," Randall said.

Randall said potential restitution is still on the table, but declined to comment further about it, saying questions should be directed to the village's attorney, Janet Bliss. A message left for Bliss Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.

Leon said he's going to try to get McKillip to pay the village back.

"I feel like the village still needs to be made whole," Leon said.

The News tried unsuccessfully to contact McKillip Friday afternoon. Her lawyer, Jim Brooks, said, "There is no status of that," when asked the status of the negotiations.

Brooks said he doesn't expect McKillip to make any restitution payments and argued instead that the village owes her money. When asked for what, he said, "for what they haven't paid her," but declined to further explain, saying he was in the middle of a real estate transaction and hanging up.



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