Clarkstown’s Overtime And ‘Special Bargaining Unit’

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Marge Hook, a New City resident has done sterling work on holding Supervisor Gromack’s feet to the fire over the question of the mismanagement of the numerous Town Boards.

As this article from the Rockland County Times points out, there are many people sitting on the boards who hardly ever show up or roll in late but still get paid. Mini-patronage jobs appear to be alive and well in Clarkstown.

Here is a novel idea!

The Town Board agreed there needs to be an attendance policy that requires everyone to be at a minimum of 75 percent of the meetings. The absences need to have good reasons and documentation should be provided.

Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner agreed with Hook that not all boards need to meet on a monthly basis. Hoehmann said that if members don’t make the 75 percent minimum they shouldn’t be allowed to sit on the board. He recommended a year end review of all the boards.

Superintendent Wayne Ballard, struggling to appear relevant after last year’s fiasco on leaf pick-up managed by his ex-confidential secretary, Frank Sparaco, has got a “new idea”. It involves a new type of “tent” bag that would make leaf cleanup much more efficient. Ballard proposed a pilot program with it for next year. If this program is successful the amount of overtime required for leaf pickup will be greatly minimized.

Presumably Ballard’s overtime savings will be achieved because the homeowners will now be either paying their landscapers to fill the tent bags or will be putting in their own labor to fill them. One wonders how much more time this will free up for highway department employees to collect absentee ballots in support of Ballard’s diminishing prospects to be re-elected next year?

The overtime elephant in the room is that of the police department which runs at $12,000 PER DAY. Republicans Borelli and Hoehmann insisted that the 2015 Clarkstown Town Budget would have to be balanced or they would not support it with the result that the Clarkstown Police Department will have to get by with 5-7% less overtime next year.

Can you believe that if the Town of Clarkstown were a private multi-million dollar private business that any chief executive would permit the organization’s boards to run up expenses, with poorly managed attendance and poorly managed results and that he would need to be alerted to this situation by a senior citizen shareholder at the annual stockholders’ meeting?

Can you believe that any CEO would permit one third of the organization to run up an overtime bill of $12,000 per day? Can you believe that any CEO would agree to bring into his organization as favors to his political pals several individuals who would subsequently be arrested for felonies while employees of the business?

In the case of a private business, the shareholders would look at their declining stock values and fire the CEO straightaway. Shareholder Marge Hook would have bailed out of this company’s stock a few minutes after she left the meeting.

In Clarkstown the shareholders are the taxpayers and the declining stock values are their home equities which are being destroyed by mismanagement of their taxes and misguided use of their assets to support cronyism in appointments.

It gets worse! Ever hear of The Great Clarkstown Giveaway? Read about it and the “Special Bargaining Unit” – then weep at how your money is being spent. The ‘Special Bargaining Unit’ contract ends at the end of this year. Will Supervisor Gromack permit the farce to continue of ‘Time Clock – What Time Clock’?

This ‘Special Bargaining Unit’ contract was approved when Councilwoman Lasker, who has since risen to the position of Deputy Town Supervisor, was the only presently serving Town Board member on the Town Board.  Previously department heads normally had to work a 35 hour work week but in the contract Lasker approved it provided that “the basic work week for department heads shall be ANY hours necessary whenever and to the extent required, to perform the functions required to maintain the proper and efficient operation of the department. The hours required of department heads to efficiently maintain an acceptable level of service to the public shall be expected without overtime compensation.”

What this meant was that since there were NO minimum hours in the contract, the department heads could come and go as they please, do whatever they want, and not be charged with any dereliction of duty for NOT working a 35 hour week.

The contract also stated: “Where a department head will not be on duty during the normal business hours of the town, he or she shall be available and accessible to the supervisor”. This led one wag to say: “By cell phone from the golf course if necessary” and may explain the perpetual Florida tan sported today by one prominent member of this ‘special bargaining’ unit. While the special bargaining unit doesn’t get paid for working overtime one wonders what time it is actually working that merits any payment at all?

Presumably at the end of this year Supervisor Gromack will explain his vision of the future of the Special Bargaining Unit before Citizen Hook asks more questions as to what exactly is happening to her tax money.

About Michael N. Hull

Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

About the Author
Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

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