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Council approves golf pro contract

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - Updated: 10:23 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

The Amsterdam Common Council approved a contract with former golf professional Joseph Merendo Monday night, the product of a weekend negotiation between Merendo and the city's corporation counsel.

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler cast the lone dissenting vote.

A formal contract has not yet been written up, but corporation counsel Gerard DeCusatis explained the parameters. The agreement has been sent to Merendo's attorney Douglas Landon for consideration.

"There just wasn't time to draw up the agreement before tonight," Mayor Ann Thane said after the meeting. "Because we just agreed on the terms yesterday morning and there just hasn't been time to do it."

Negotiations yielded a one-year $45,000 contract, nearly $20,000 more than the mayor's original $25,500 offer. The contract will expire Oct. 31.

Merendo will retain all of the pro shop proceeds and revenue from the lessons he provides, but the city will keep all cart revenue.

Thane has proposed to lease 30 carts at the course from Five Star.

Merendo, who originally provided his own carts, will keep five of his carts for lessons and if there is a shortage.

DeCusatis said Merendo has also agreed to offer free lessons to juniors and swing assessments for all members in May.

Hatzenbuhler does not agree with with the terms. She said it has nothing to do with Merendo's reaction to it, just her own personal beliefs.

"He's at the end of his rope and he's taking what he's being given," Hatzenbuhler said. "I think it's very unfair, but that's me personally."

She said it's not only the cart revenue, though she said the city could have done a better job negotiating that.

"I'm not happy with it," Hatzenbuhler said. "Joe's willing to live with it. He's willing to accept it. I don't think he should have to accept it. I think he should be given a fair contract. But the mayor won't budge."

Third Ward Alderman Ronald J. Barone Sr. asked how long this process will take.

"We're going to make it as quickly as humanely possible," Thane said.

No discussion followed Barone's question before the vote.

Thane would not say if the city will be looking at Merendo's contract again in October.

"I think what will happen is the golf commission will start working and planning for next year much sooner than that," Thane said.

She said the city is satisfied with the agreement.

"I'm just relieved that it's finally coming to a close," Thane said. "It's time to play golf."

Landon did not return a request for comment.

     

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