Spina was charged with DWI in Dec.
By Tom Grace
Cooperstown News Bureau
COOPERSTOWN — The Otsego County Board of Representatives fired Roy Spina, the county’s probation director, at its meeting Wednesday night.
All 13 of the board members present voted to dismiss Spina, who was charged with driving while intoxicated Dec. 8. Rep. Roberta Puritz-Hayes, D-Oneonta, was absent.
The decision was reached after the board met in executive session.
After the resolution to dismiss was passed, the board authorized the county’s Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee to co[an error occurred while processing this directive]nduct a search for a probation director.
Spina, who was appointed probation director in 2003, was suspended without pay from his job Dec. 30 by the county board.
His status changed to suspended with pay one month later as he awaited a Section 75 Civil Service hearing. Civil Service law provides that employees go back on the payroll after a 30-day suspension if they have not yet had a hearing to review the disciplinary action.
On Feb. 17, Spina had a hearing in Cooperstown.
His salary for 2006 is listed at $42,741, and the board agreed informally to pay his successor about the same salary.
On Dec. 8, Spina and Sophia Panageas, a caseworker for the county and his fiancee, were in a car that crashed into a tree while heading east on the Middlefield Road in the town of Roseboom, according to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.
A police report filed about this incident indicated confusion about who was driving. According to police, at first an uninvolved third party said he was driving the car, then Panageas said she was driving the car, and then Spina said he was driving the car.
Ultimately, Spina was charged with two counts of DWI and failure to keep right. According to his attorney, Richard Rothermel of Oneonta, he is contesting the charges.
Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl has recused himself from this case, and Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride is prosecuting.
In late December, probation officer Jean Seeber was appointed acting probation director and remains in charge of the department.
At the end of last night’s meeting, county Board Chairman Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, said he was sorry that events had led to Spina’s dismissal.
In other business Wednesday night, the board appointed Martha Clarvoe of Hartwick to the board of directors of the Montgomery Otsego Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority. Clarvoe will complete the remainder of Lindberg’s term on the MOSA board, which expires at the end of the year.