Following several weeks of controversy, the Rye City Council has put the Rye Golf Club Manager Scott Yandrasevich on a 30-day administrative leave as police investigate his involvement with a staffing company he hired for the club. The action was part of a “four part strategy” to address public concerns about the club that City Mayor Douglas French announced at the Council meeting on Oct. 10.
City Council member Joe Sack, Rye Golf Club (RGC) member Leon Sculti, and a few others started asking about the club’s dealings with its temporary staffing agency, RM Staffing, over the summer. Yandrasevich has since admitted that he hired the company to staff the club and has worked for them independently as a consultant. His wife is also employed by RM. RGC members are asking Yandrasevich for details on the company’s billing of $2.2 million in salary costs, $400,000 of that attributed to about 11,000 hours of overtime in an 18-month period. Residents have also questioned if Yandrasevich took into account the club members’ best interests when he hired a company with which he had personal ties.
During the Oct. 10 Council meeting, City Manager Scott Pickup said police are looking into “other information” beyond what has been made public and working with other agencies. The police have notified the District Attorney’s Bureau of Public Integrity, according to The Journal News’ Leah Rae.
As part of the council’s “four part strategy” they will also adjust the city’s “conflict of interest” policies and require certain employees to disclose financial information; form a subcommittee of experts in club management and municipal finance to consider the future of RGC; and conduct an audit of the club.
During the council meeting Wednesday night, Pickup announced that he had hired accounting firm Reda Romano and Co. to conduct an independent audit, but the public objected to his involvement.
“How are we going to get to the bottom of this when the city manager is picking the person who is going to do the investigation when he said he didn’t think it is a conflict of interest?” asked RGC Commissioner and member John Duffy.
Others agreed with Duffy and the council ended up taking a vote, 6-0 (Jovanovich was absent), to handle the audit themselves.
Pickup told a heated crowd that Yandrasevich had done everything “above the board” during a Sept. 26 Rye Golf Club meeting and that he did not see a problem with the club’s involvement with RM. The following week, Pickup was quoted in The Journal News stating that his first position was a reaction to a “mob mentality” at that meeting and noted that people were drinking.
The council ordered the audit Pickup began to be suspended.
During the most recent Rye Golf Club commission budget meeting, members and commissioners questioned Yandrasevich for more details on the budget, which he did not have readily available. The commission had planned to vote on the 2013 budget that night, but after hearing from the members, decided to take no action.
Read more from that meeting here.
Check back with Patch for details of the investigation when they become available.