Ulster County trash chief fired in not-so-secret meeting

The head of Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, executive director Michael Bemis, got the axe last night at a meeting of the agency's oversight board. Bemis's departure comes in the wake of a report by Ulster County comptroller Eliott Auerbach that found that millions of dollars had been wasted on the trash agency in recent years.

Ulster County legislator Mike Madsen had the scoop around 1am this morning:

It seems the oversight committee has decided that Director Mike Bemis has got to go. He was fired this Tuesday evening where as far as Ive heard, there hasn't been a replacement or interim named yet. Bemis claimed the oversight of the financial operations was sufficient where without it, the costs would be higher. Obviously the committee didn't buy it. ... What occured at the meeting and what words were said, I haven't a clue, but the end result was Mike's dismissal.

The Daily Freeman has a clue. Correspondent William Kemble reports today that the board was presented with some blockbuster complaints about Bemis, including allegations that he sexually harassed a female employer and harassed another employee so much that the employee brought a rifle to work.

Technically, these complaints about Bemis were supposed to be secret. But Kemble describes how he found out about them:

The accusations against Bemis were made during a executive session of the board, but reporters and other people standing in a lobby outside a conference room could hear the discussion and see the parties through a partly frosted window.