Wappinger highway superintendent primary controversial

TOWN OF WAPPINGER – Vincent Bettina, the Town of Wappinger’s highway superintendent is involved in a Republican Primary against one of his employees, Mike Sheehan, who is vying to replace his boss.

Sheehan is a 30-year employee of the Town of Wappinger Highway Department.

On January 12, 2015, former Highway Superintendent Graham Foster had a memo placed in Sheehan’s file regarding a disagreement between the two men.  When the memo was written, it was also provided to the town board where, at the time, Vinny Bettina was the town’s deputy supervisor.  On Monday, one day before the primary election, Bettina mailed a copy of the 2015 memo to registered Republicans in the town along with a letter maintaining that he is the better candidate.

The personnel file memo has drawn the ire of many recipients, prompting them to call town hall and complain.

One recipient of the letter is Barbara Gutzler, the former town supervisor.  “I cannot believe that the supervisor of the most important department in the town would commit such an egregious ethics violation!  Vincent Bettina’s conduct in this matter is reprehensible and needs to be investigated for possible legal action.  He must be so desperate to win his primary that he resorts to impugning his opponent’s character by any means possible.”

Town Supervisor Dick Thurston spoke after Monday night’s board meeting and said, “I was notified by several residents earlier today about that particular letter.  I am concerned that it violates both the Town’s ethics policy and human resources policy.”

When asked what action the town would take, Thurston said, “I have referred the matter to the town attorney earlier today to look into the matter and advise the board.”

Town Attorney Jim Horan said that he had received the communication and will be reviewing it.  When asked if the town was at risk of being sued for allowing the personnel memo to be released, Horan said he would be “reviewing that as well.”

Bettina did not return requests for comment Monday night.



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