Brightwaters employee's schedule questioned

Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012, Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012, houses the village court, board of trustees meetings, vehicle and traffic department, and more. Photo Credit: Brittany Wait

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A Brightwaters trustee has asked the village mayor to investigate whether a politically connected employee is working his full schedule.

Trustee John J. Riordan has asked Mayor Joseph A. McNulty to look into whether Charles Fischer, a member of the Citizens Party and a consultant for the village's highway department, actually works the 30 hours weekly for which he charges.

"You've got this cloud that it might not be on the up and up," Riordan said Thursday. "I brought it to the attention of the mayor. I've gotten no response."

In an interview, McNulty balked at allegations of impropriety. McNulty described Fischer as a valued employee who is working on several projects. He said after hearing Riordan's concerns, he instructed Fischer to cut his hours to 20 weekly.

"Is this a no-show job?" said McNulty, who is also a member of the Citizens Party and hired Fischer. "That's not the case. I trust Charles implicitly."

Fischer, who also works as director of operations at the Ronkonkoma-based Advanced Optowave Corporation, did not return calls seeking comment.

Fischer's village time sheets since January show he has worked between 25 and 30 hours a week -- mostly clocking in at midafternoon and leaving mid-evening. On Jan. 11, he punched in at 3:37 p.m. The time card, provided by the village clerk, was not stamped to indicate when he clocked out. Someone wrote in black ink, "7:45 p.m." which was initialed by his supervisor, Michael Ackerson.

Riordan said he recently could not find Fischer at highway department offices.

Riordan wrote in an email to the board, "Since October, I have been asking Fischer and the mayor for . . . demonstration of Fischer's work product . . . I have been given nothing useful."

McNulty appointed Fischer interim department director in July, paying him $62,400 annually, and health and pension benefits. Ackerson was appointed permanently in September to the post -- when Fischer started his private-sector job. McNulty said then that Fischer would work for the village for the next month, a "few hours" a week at his $30 an hour rate.

Village resident Carmine Chiapetta said residents want answers. "For someone to ask what services are being provided during that time is a reasonable question, and I'm not sure why it has not been answered," he said.

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