Press-Republican

Local News

February 21, 2013

DOT engineer forced out for talking to press

(Continued)

But, Fayette said he’d already spoken with the reporter by the time the email directive was issued.

“If you (Fayette) are found guilty of the charge brought against you, the penalty exacted against you will consist of termination,” Dilella wrote.

DISCIPLINED EARLIER

The letter from Dilella said a notice of discipline that Fayette received in early 2011 would also be taken into account, but Fayette said the DOT’s own rules prohibit that.

The reference stemmed from his relationship with a woman he worked with at the agency’s Essex County headquarters in Elizabethtown, Fayette said.

He was suspended for 10 days without pay for using state equipment and work time for the personal relationship.

“Since it’s an unrelated action, and since it took place over a year prior to this situation, NYSDOT rules stipulate that it cannot be cited,” he told the Press-Republican. “For me personally, it was an embarrassing moment in my career. Rather than fight it, I accepted what probably were excessively harsh charges. I just wanted it to be over with. Never would have thought that it would be used to hammer me.”

ALLOWED TO RETIRE

At that point, Fayette got an attorney, and he said DOT finally relented and agreed to allow him to retire instead of being fired.

He resigned and activated his retirement, effective Feb. 8, 2013, to settle the charges.

“I chose to retire because I had no other alternative,” Fayette said. “I was forced into a corner, not of my doing, by the DOT.”

SPOKE AT MEETING

Before his retirement date arrived, Fayette made a presentation about his radio-watch program at the November 2012 meeting of the Essex County Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee. The program was his effort to have someone take calls and dispatch trucks 24 hours a day during snow season.

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