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Ballard Recaps Sparaco's Highway Position

Part I: This post looks at Ballard's explanations on why the position was needed, how he came to his decision with choosing Sparaco. Check back with Patch for Part II tomorrow

 

Clarkstown Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard announced in August that he hired Frank Sparaco, a Rockland County legislator, as the department’s new part-time constituent services assistant.

Sparaco started working Aug. 27 in the $75,000-a-year position. The 25-hour a week position does not include benefits: medical, or vacation or sick days.  As a legislator, Sparaco receives medical benefits.

At the December Nanuet Civic Association meeting, Ballard addressed questions residents had about Sparaco’s position.

Help Was Needed

“I can't believe the same thing happened last year, happened this year, also. That storm along with Hurricane Irene, an earthquake and all the other stuff that was going on (like 70” of snow and two flooding events), my office, which is just me and Nancy, was inundated with phone calls;130 per day.  I needed help. I couldn't get back to all the people in time and respond to their questions and concerns,” said Ballard. "I sat down with the Town Board and said I need a position. They said we need to “hold the line.” I said I can do this within my budget. They asked why I needed a position. I said I’ve lost 20 people since 2002 (through attrition, I went from 100 people down to 80).”

Ballard added that of the 20 employees that had left the department, a few were on the management side (a deputy, a dispatcher and a code enforcer), which was taking its toll on customer service and follow up.

“By 2002, I had implemented new management procedures and started purchasing equipment that would accomplish more using less manpower and I was able to maintain the same work load and more with less people on the labor end as we got more organized in our work,” said Ballard. “During that same time, you also took Highway jobs away from outside contractors and made them in-house to cut costs, such as snow plow truck and sidewalk snow plowing contractors, as well as leaf-hauling truckers.” 

Choosing Sparaco

The position was advertised by the town’s Personnel Department for six weeks and drew more than 260 resumes. 

“I only wanted people who lived in Rockland County and that cut down the volume quite a bit. There were a bunch of people from Clarkstown,” he said. "The job is categorized as 25 hours a week with no benefits and the following requirements:”

“When I need you, you have to come in; when there's a snow storm, hurricane or flooding."

“The hours are not necessarily per week, when you're needed for more hours, you have to work it and they'll be made up later.  You have to work until it's done; we'll have to make up those hours another week, but when I need you, you have to stay.”

“When you take the position, I can't guarantee you'll have a job beyond December 2013 because I run for office every two years."

When interviewing for the position, Ballard said he asked the following questions - "do you know what the position entails, do you know how government works, do you know constituent services, do you know how the highway dept works, do you know the difference in roads (state, county, town or private).  All these questions and many more were asked of the individuals that applied.

"When it came down to two or three individuals, I spent time and talked to them, in my heart I believed Frank Sparaco was the best for the job,” said Ballard.

Sparaco of Valley Cottage has experience as a constituent services assistant having worked with the New York State Assembly Minority Conference for the Mid-Hudson Region for about a year. 

Comparable Jobs

"There are currently five positions in the Town of Clarkstown and the job descriptions are comparable to this new position - all paying more money,” said Ballard. “You take any of the current individuals, all of which are politically appointed and paid $100,000 a year and add the cost associated with vacation and benefits (which is a 1.5 multiplier); then divide it by the number of hours to find out the hourly cost for a full time employee.”

“You take this part time $75,000 position (that is not entitled to vacation time or benefits) and divide it by 25 hours to determine the hourly cost,” he continued. “Compare the two positions and the part time position is below the curve in salary and to me it justified the value of the position."

Check back with Patch tomorrow for Part II, which looks at Ballard's explanations on Sparaco's performance so far in the position

holymoly December 27, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Mr. Hull, You have accomplished absolutely nothing in all of your complaining except for hurting your cause because you are pushing the dems and reps together in there hatred of you. Dont you see that? Whats your goal? Whats your endgame? You attack everyone. You have no Loyalty. You must pick a side. No side is perfect but you have to compromise. You cant always get your way. I do kinda feel bad for you because you seem so ignorant of what damage your really doing and your heart seems to be in the right place
wisher December 27, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Please dont tell me that you really belive that milone can beat ballard. A high school dropout verse an engineer. A mechanic verse an tried and tested incumbant. God i hope not. Things would really fall apart if that happened. Michael you always seem to have the right intentions but wrong strategy
Michael Yularen December 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Ballard and Sparaco have my vote all the way
Mike Hirsch December 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Morale is up because Malone is now in charge of the town garages. Ask anyone who works there.
Brenda M December 28, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Sarah ........ You say "disgusting?" Everyone read the Journal News. http://www.thealbanyproject.com/diary/8987/ad94-journal-news-links-gop-assembly-candidate-frank-sparaco-to-the-mob The Journal News said: "Sparaco's appointment keeps alive the town’s penchant for hiring political operatives. As a legislator, Sparaco fought raises for county employees. Now he earns $75,000 for a 25-hour-a-week town post. That’s $57.69 per hour. Sparaco has been a key player in the Independence Party. Ballard, like Sparaco, is a Republican. But in Clarkstown, that’s of little matter. Democratic supervisor, Gromack, has various party leaders in his employ, and election after election, he and Ballard have been cross-endorsed and rarely challenged. Patronage is an institution in Clarkstown. 260 people who applied for the post didn’t have the right connections. Ballard and Sparaco acknowledged the appointment was political. “If I lose an election, he loses his job.” Now that IS "disgusting"! Taxpayers are paying to give someone a job who has "connections" just so he can give a party line to Ballard and Gromack. But then I only read the "disgusting" newspapers and what the Journal News reports about connections.

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