Rye Boat Basin Supervisor Peter Fox is back at the marina after about six weeks off on administrative leave. City officials put Fox on leave in early October while they investigated his use of the city boat, and “other matters” that were not disclosed.
During an October council meeting, the city council implied the leave had something to do with an August Boat Basin Commission meeting where Fox’s use of the city boat was questioned.
Fox was accused of using the city boat to pull a barge and a stuck boater out of mud flats near Hen Island, actions the Boat Basin Commission does not allow, according to a report by the Rye Sound Shore Review’s Christian Falcone.
(The announcement of Fox's leave came the same week the city council placed Rye Golf Club Manager Scott Yandrasevich on administrative leave, but the two actions were independent of each other. The city has hired outside counsel to handle the RGC investigation and Yandrasevich remains on leave as of the time of this posting.)
After conducting the Fox investigation internally, the city has resolved some of the issues and allowed Fox to return to his job on Nov. 26.
“I am glad to be back,” Fox said over a phone interview with Patch on Monday.
Fox has served as boat basin supervisor for more than 22 years. In that role, he oversees operations at DePauw Municipal Boat Basin and is paid a salary of $75,000. The boat basin operates via a "proprietary fund", in a manner similar to a private enterprise with a $1.1 million budget.
Fox spent his first week back assessing the marina and getting back to speed for winter, he said. He also assessed Hurricane Sandy damage at the boat basin.
“Unfortunately I was not here,” Fox said of the day Sandy struck on Oct. 29. He was put on leave about two weeks before Sandy hit and did not return until a month after the storm. “There was some damage, not tremendous, thank God, and certainly not like other areas received.”
Fox said the marina incurred some damage to the docks, sea walls, and electrical system. There was some flooding and down trees as well.
At an Oct. 24 Rye City Council meeting the week before the historic storm, several boat basin customers expressed concern that Fox would not be manning the boat basin when it Sandy hit Rye.
The Rye residents also asked the council to consider Fox's work ethic and years on the job in their investigation and expressed a deep affection for Fox and the work he does at the marina. Councilwoman Laura Brett said that the council had been getting letters and comments regarding the respect people have for Fox and that the city would take those into account as they conducted the investigation.
Fox said he had not heard that he had supporters speak in his favor, but was glad that was the case. Now that he is back to work, he says there is a lot of it to do.
"(In the winter,) we maintain the grounds, rebuild and repair all of our dock structure, handle any weather related emergencies, watch the boats stored here, work on our de-icing system and a lot of maintenance goes on," Fox said.
A call and email to City Manager Scott Pickup were not returned as of this posting.