Usually town reorganization meetings go smoothly but this year, with two Democrats on the Lloyd Town Board, there were a few disagreements. Last fall Democratic Councilman Mike Guerriero was joined by another Democrat, Joe Mazzetti, bringing the board’s composition to 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats.
When it came to approving the salary of the full-time Recreation Director, Frank Alfonso, Councilman Guerriero questioned the $43,297 salary. He said 3 years ago the Director received a $10,000 raise.
“It went from $30,000 to $40,000 and now in three years we’re up to $43,000,” he said.
Councilman Kevin Brennie said part of the reason is because the Director took over the cleaning chores and some additional responsibilities after the town eliminated that service. Supervisor Paul Hansut added that the Director is also getting the normal 2% raise.
Guerriero said Alfonso also gets a town cell phone and mileage reimbursement; “He gets compensated pretty well.”
Hansut said the Recreation Director is a competitive position and he was hired off the Civil Service list.
The vote was 4-1, with Guerriero the sole no vote. Alfonso is the brother-in-law of Supervisor Hansut.
The agenda had a motion to keep the Town Board workshop meeting the same – the first Wednesday at 4 p.m. Councilman Joseph Mazzetti questioned the timing of this meeting, pointing out that during the election cycle an emphasis was placed on running an open and transparent government.
“Help me understand how having a 4 p.m. meeting when people are at work or when kids are getting off a bus and parents have to stay home for them is transparent government,” he said, saying that he contacted other local towns “and there’s no board meeting that I know of that is at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.” He said there is no substitute to attending and participating at a meeting “because that’s where the nuts and bolts of things are going on and people can really understand what’s happening and be a part of it.” He said department heads understood that when they took on those positions they would have to attend Town Board meetings.
“We shouldn’t really be catering to a few when we’re civil servants; we’re here for the community, the community is not here for the department heads,” he said.
Hansut said the main reason for the 4 p.m. meeting is to allow the Town Board to speak with department heads, as they are already at work and do not have to return after going home if the meeting were held later in the evening. He added that board meetings are live streamed and are also broadcast later on cable for those who cannot attend the meeting. Councilman Guerriero said that at times the board does vote on resolutions at the 4 p.m. meetings, a practice Hansut acknowledged but said he tries to keep this to a minimum. He said this sometimes happens at a workshop meeting because of a time restraint.
Mazzetti suggested amending the motion and move the workshop meetings to 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. Hansut said this would incur overtime pay for some department heads.
“It’s been working for four years at 4 o’clock and I don’t see any reason to change it,” he said. “I stated what the purpose of the workshops are and Mike [Guerriero] you’ve participated in these workshops for four years or has there been a problem?”
Guerriero said it would be more advantageous to discuss a resolution at the workshop but actually vote on it at the regular board meeting that takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
In seconding the motion Councilman Kevin Brennie said that while he agrees with Mazzetti’s point on open government, if the workshop were to be moved “it would cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars per meeting.”
The vote to keep the workshop meeting at 4p.m. passed, breaking along party lines with Republicans Brennie, Paladino and Hansut voting yes and Democrats Guerriero and Mazzetti voting no.
The Town Board voted unanimously to keep their regular meeting at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
The board was again split 3-2 in appointing Peter Cordovano as an alternate on the town’s Ethics Board.
Council Jeff Paladino said Cordovano is a local attorney, with Guerriero and Mazzetti commending him as a “very nice fellow” and a “great guy.”
Paladino said, “His ethics and his character is outstanding…He is an upstanding guy as far as I know and I think he would be an asset.”
Guerriero and Mazzetti said they brought this point up because Cordovano “is heavily involved in the Republican Party.”
By Mark Reynolds