Leyden town clerk submits resignation, citing ‘toxic’ work environment

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2022 5:35:48 PM
Modified: 8/23/2022 5:32:12 PM

LEYDEN — Town Clerk Gilda Galvis submitted her resignation from her position at Monday’s Selectboard meeting, citing a “toxic” work environment.

Galvis, who was elected to the position in 2021, said she feels “certain people in town” do not trust her and made it difficult to meet the responsibilities of the role.

“I have been harassed, lied to, called a witch, bullied; I feel that I was targeted for some reason,” Galvis said by phone Tuesday morning. “I guess I just had enough. … I just wanted to do the job of the town clerk.”

Her resignation follows a July Selectboard meeting in which Galvis and the board discussed the handling of election ballots, which she brought home after the June 27 town election because she felt the Town Clerk’s Office was not secure, saying “the town did not supply me with proper equipment to put ballots in.” Galvis noted that while the election results were improperly stored, documentation was still properly sealed.

Debra O’Malley, a spokesperson with the Secretary of State’s Office, said her office looked into the matter and determined that Galvis should have kept the ballots at the Town Clerk’s Office, but did not take any action because Galvis said she would ensure that ballots would be secure in the future.

Both Galvis and O’Malley said the situation with the ballots was resolved, but Galvis said Selectboard member Glenn Caffery continued to press her on the matter.

“I thought that was it — the state is in charge of it,” Galvis said. “Glenn Caffery had a problem with it and a problem with other things. … (The state) had no problem with it, but he won’t let it go.”

When reached by phone, Caffery declined to comment about any discussions.

“I don’t feel like I can legally or ethically comment,” Caffery said. “I respect her right for telling her story.”

Galvis also alleged that mail addressed to the town clerk had been opened and the town is putting new locks on the municipal office building, but did not plan to give her a key.

“I would get mail that had been opened,” she said. “The envelopes, they were opened up, they were sliced open.”

Selectboard Chair Bill Glabach said in a phone interview that the Selectboard held an emergency meeting to “accept her resignation with regret,” but could not talk about any decisions in regard to keys to the municipal offices.

“That discussion was part of the executive session,” Glabach said, adding that there has been mention of town clerk mail being opened in “open session” before, but he did not know anything further. “I think she’s always done a great job no matter what she’s done with the town.”

With state primary elections just two weeks away, Municipal Assistant Michele Giarusso said the town reached out to its neighbors and has two “seasoned” candidates willing to take on part-time town clerk responsibilities.

“I have reached out to our surrounding towns and everyone has been more than generous. I have a possible two people who will be willing to offer their assistance part-time,” Giarusso explained. “The Selectboard is willing to entertain that.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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