Weekly Feature

2011-02-10 / Letters to the Editor

Loyalty to town, not AmeriCorps

With all the articles that have been in the news lately concerning WNY AmeriCorps and its director, I felt compelled to write a follow-up.

In 2007, several employees were dismissed from the Youth Bureau/AmeriCorps by Mark Lazzara, including myself. As you read, four of the employees received compensation through the courts. Hoping that the situation at the Youth Bureau would change, I opted not to file a claim within the prescribed time limit. That proved to be a mistake.

We complained to the existing board but our cries fell upon deaf ears. It is my belief that [Supervisor Paul] Clark was not the only one at fault for tolerating Lazzara’s unconventional ways of doing things at the Youth Bureau/AmeriCorps.

Between the end of 2007 through 2008, and in 2010, I attended many Town Board meetings. Two of the former board members were staunch defenders of Lazzara when many citizens spoke against Ameri- Corps.

I believe, along with many other people, that AmeriCorps is a good program when directed properly.

At one of the meetings when I was speaking against Lazzara, a board member accused me of being “sour grapes.” I want the people who attended that meeting and others to know that Lazzara did let me go and escorted me out of the building on May 23, 2007, without any explanation.

His alleged reason for dismissing me was insubordination when I refused to do any AmeriCorps work that was asked of me by his assistant, who was not my immediate supervisor.

Nine years of being an employee of the Youth Bureau and getting paid by the Town of West Seneca — not AmeriCorps — it was time for me to prioritize my allegiance to my employer.

Dolores Stefanacci

Organ Crescent

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