Munsey Park officials on Wednesday created a village administrator position and appointed the mayor’s brother-in-law to the job, effective immediately.
The board of trustees voted 3-1, with one abstention, to appoint Daniel Breen to the new job. The resolutions were not listed on the meeting agenda or posted on the village website; no public hearing was held on the job creation or appointment.
Breen, 54, lives at the same Manhasset address — a single-family home — as Mayor Frank J. DeMento. Breen shares the same last name as DeMento’s wife, Maura, according public records.
Daniel Breen has been employed since January 2016 as one of the village’s three full-time utility workers, making $42,000, according to village officials. His resume, work history or details of his administration experience were not disclosed.
Village Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Miller said Thursday that she was taken by surprise by the appointment of the mayor’s brother-in-law and was “in shock.”
Village officials said Breen would be hired for a one-year term and that salary and benefits were to be determined.
DeMento said at Wednesday’s meeting that he had “come to realize there were inefficiencies within the village both in the field and in the office” and an administrator was needed.
When asked by one resident at the meeting how this position was different from a maintenance supervising job, DeMento responded “economies of scale.”
Village Trustee Patrick Hance, who voted against the hiring, declined to comment.
DeMento, who abstained from the vote, could not be reached for further comment on Thursday.
The village of nearly 3,000 people in North Hempstead Town has a handful of full-time employees, including a clerk/treasurer with a salary of about $82,000. Village job descriptions were not made available on Thursday.
The village administrator position is not in the current year’s budget with total operating expenses of $1.71 million.
Among the village administrator’s job responsibilities are to “oversee village operations” and “day to day activities,” “provide centralized control of all village officers and employees,” and preside over “maintenance and construction activities,” according to the resolution.
The village has not made available Breen’s qualifications for the position and whether the job was posted to the public.
Village Attorney Robert Morici said Wednesday that an ethics policy review was completed and hiring Breen was “in conformance with the law and village code.” Morici could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The Munsey Park nepotism policy reads that “no municipal officer or employee, either individually or as a member of a board, may participate in any decision specifically to appoint, hire, promote, discipline or discharge a relative for any position at, for or within the Village of Munsey Park or a municipal board.”
DeMento introduced the resolution to create the village administrator role, but Village Trustee John Lippmann ultimately moved to appoint Breen at Wednesday’s meeting.
The village code also reads that “no municipal officer or employee may supervise a relative in the performance of the relative’s official powers or duties.”
The village administrator will report to the board of trustees and mayor, according to the resolution read at Wednesday’s meeting.
Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said that an individual’s educational background and qualifications for a position must be made public, as required by state Freedom of Information Laws and Appellate Division judgments.
“If it doesn’t smell good you don’t do it,” Freeman said. “From my perspective this does not smell good.”