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Union Board Reacts to Sotak Indictment Dismissal

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For the first time in months, Town of Union Supervisor Rose Sotak conducted the Town's board meeting without criminal charges hanging over her head. Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, Broome County Judge Kevin Dooley found evidence "was legally insufficient" to support any of the charges in the indictment against her.

"I want to thank, Hinman, Howard, and Kattell, the whole law firm, and I want to thank Al Millus," said Sotak, after tonight's meeting.

She was facing five charges, including a felony for corrupt use of authority, three counts of official misconduct, and one count of obstructing governmental administration. All which stemmed from a workplace harassment investigation conducted by the Town in January.

Since then, she says that thousands of people offered their support to her while she was in litigation and she is now focusing on putting Union first.

"The Town of Union is about our people and our businesses and we're running a business here," said Sotak.

While Sotak could breathe a sign of relief tonight, others on the Town Board we're not satisfied by Judge Dooley's ruling.

"We understand the charges were dropped on some technical issues," said Robert Mack, Town of Union Board Member. "I can't speak for the District Attorney, but we would like to see justice served for the Town of Union employees."

"We still believe that everything we did was proper and that our employees need to be protected at all costs," said Frank Bertoni, Town of Union Board Member. 

The Court dropped the charges due to lack of evidence and having the integrity of the Grand Jury impaired. Dooley pointed to testimony by Town of Union Attorney Alan Pope to District Attorney Steve Cornwell.

Mack says the board didn't discuss today's decision at the pre-meeting work session or during the actual meeting.

"It's the elephant in the room, maybe it would've been better if it came up and we spoke about it, but it did not come up," said Mack.

"We as a Board, have tried  to move past this, it's not personal, never was personal," said Bertoni.

Almost all of the Town's employees were trained on appropriate workplace conduct and how to report harassment.

"We've improved our internal policies to try and make sure these things don't happen again, so the Town of Union is reacting and doing our job," said Mack.

Bertoni says there have been zero workplace harassment complaints since they've updated their policies.

After the meeting, Town Attorney Alan Pope chose not to speak to , but he was one of 17 former and current Union employees, board members, and department heads who accused Sotak of being verbally abusive and workplace harassment in an internal investigation.