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Glen Cove controller, parks director file complaints alleging harassment at City Hall

Glen Cove City Hall on Glen St. in

Glen Cove City Hall on Glen St. in Glen Cove. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Two Glen Cove department heads have filed claims alleging a “culture of harassment” at City Hall.

Controller Sandra Clarson and Parks and Recreation director Darcy Belyea filed the charges this week with the city’s human resources department.

Grant Newburger, a spokesman for the city, said the claims will be investigated and that it’s his belief that they’re false.

“I think that the investigation will show that there was no wrongdoing,” Newburger said Wednesday.

Clarson, who was fired in August and then temporarily reinstated due to a court order, said in a news release that she is being blocked from helping prepare the 2020 budget.

“I have 30 years of municipal finance experience and have prepared more than 15 operating budgets,” Clarson said in the release. “Never have I seen such calculated efforts to bully and embarrass someone as they have done to me.”

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke said he lost confidence in Clarson after he found errors in her work and informed her she would not be assisting in compiling the budget. Tenke and Councilwoman Marsha Silverman have worked together to assemble a partial budget, which has been presented to the rest of the council.

“This is simply another example of partisan politics. This came directly from the campaign manager of the Republican slate and has absolutely no merit,” Silverman said of the complaints. “I have done nothing to justify any type of complaint of this nature and treat everyone equally.”

Clarson also said Tenke has bullied her since she compiled a report in showing the city had not deducted health insurance premiums from Tenke’s paychecks since he took office in January 2018. Tenke held a news conference in July calling for her resignation “to publicly humiliate me and destroy my reputation,” Clarson wrote in the complaint.

Belyea's complaint alleges that Tenke, Silverman and Deputy Mayor Maureen Basdavanos engaged in harassment and “belittling behavior” toward her.  

She lists several incidents, ranging from her being targeted at city council meetings to a long-standing dispute over her union membership.

In one episode, Belyea says Basdavanos directed Clarson to stop deducting union dues from her paycheck without first informing her. When Belyea confronted Basdavanos, she lied and denied it, the complaint reads.

The Civil Service Employees Association has directed the city to stop making the deductions because it had determined that as a manager Belyea wasn’t entitled to be part of the union. The CSEA has since reversed its stance.

Belyea also says Basdavanos lied in speaking to the media about an accident Belyea was involved in on July 4. Belyea was hit as a pedestrian, and when a Newsday reporter inquired about the accident the deputy mayor falsely claimed that Belyea was not authorized to be driving the city-issued vehicle, according to the complaint. 

“The Deputy Mayor’s actions are the dissemination of false and confidential information; another attempt by her to smear and embarrass me in an effort to get me to resign,” Belyea wrote.

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