Manlius Outgoing Manlius Parks and Recreation Director Kristen Hansen said she came forward about what she saw as inappropriate behavior by Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin in hopes that others might too.
Well, someone has.
Jim Raulli is parks and recreation director for the town of Sullivan and Hansen’s predecessor — he left the position in Manlius about two-and-a-half years ago.
Raulli recently told the Eagle Bulletin that his reasons for leaving Manlius had everything to do with the poor work environment described by Hansen in her accusations.
“It was a combination of things,” he said. “Trustee [Janice] Abdo-Rott and the deputy mayor, Harold Hopkinson, and the mayor, Mr. Serafin, all had ideas on how the department should be run and they were all different, which made it difficult on me.”
For example, one trustee wanted him to spend money on signage and publicity, he said, while another thought the money should be saved for other things.
“Here I am with 25-plus years of experience in my field, and people who don’t have a lot of experience in doing what I do are trying to tell me how to run my department,” he said. “And that just doesn’t make any sense to me.
In his statement responding to Hansen’s “workplace violence” charge, Serafin said Abdo-Rott was “party to Kristen Hansen’s departure,” and proceeded to publicly condemn the trustee. Raulli refuted Serafin’s additional claim that Abdo-Rott was the reason he left Manlius.
“That’s not totally true,” Raulli said. “We had a differing of opinion.”
Raulli said the working conditions at village hall are "very, very difficult," and that he understands how Hansen feels. He said the village board should take a more hands-off approach to handling village departments.
“The trustees and the board, in my opinion, are there to set policy, not to oversee employees,” he said.
If anyone should be overseeing department heads, it’s the mayor, he said. “But in many of the positions the supervisor just lets the person do their job, because they’re the professional.”