Former Shandaken Code Officer Stokes will not be reappointed

By Jay Braman Jr.
The former code enforcement officer for Shandaken, recently cleared of charges that he forcibly touched a waitress in a local eatery last year, will not be getting his old job back.
That’s according to Town Supervisor Rob Stanley, who said that former code officer Richard Stokes made a public request for reinstatement last week.
“At this time we have no plans to change anything,” Stanley said. “We will not be rehiring Mr. Stokes.”
Stokes was hired as Code Officer immediately following Hurricane Irene and is credited with doing a good job of going throughout town and evaluating structures damaged by the storm. He is also credited with forcing the removal of several long dilapidated properties in town.
More recently Stokes was in the news for his legal battle with local farm stand operator Al Higley and for his legal battle after being accused of “forcible touching.”
Saugerties Town Justice Samuel Lamp determined last month that Stokes was not guilty of forcible touching following allegations made last fall by employees at local restaurant, J Rocco’s.
Now that he has been cleared of those charges, Stokes expects to be reinstated as code officer, a position he voluntarily took an unpaid leave of absence from last fall immediately following his September 18, 2012 arrest.
“I’m glad the truth came out and my name is in the clear,” Stokes said last week. “Now I wish I could get my job back.”
Stokes, who said that Justice Lamp dismissed the case because he concluded that the charges were false, has been on leave for 13 months from the position.
The town hired another former code officer, Art Christie, as an interim officer the same day that Stokes took leave and then hired former town board member Al Frisenda about two months later to take on the position.
Frisenda remains in the position.
According to Stanley, the town is not under any obligation to reinstate Stokes because, like all town appointments, the job was for one year only.
Next month when the town board holds its reorganizational meeting on January 6 at town hall at 6 p.m., Stanley anticipates reappointing Frisenda for 2014.