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N. Hempstead Town disallows OT for future highway superintendent

The previous chief, Thomas Tiernan, made more than $130,000 in OT in a 5-year span, including almost $20,000 the same year he resigned from the post, which will become a civil service title.

North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset on Sept.

North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset on Sept. 1, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

The next North Hempstead Town highway superintendent will no longer be permitted to collect overtime.

The town board voted at a June 5 meeting to adopt a policy that removes the position from the Civil Service Employees Association and re-establishes it as an unclassified Civil Service title. Town officials said they are reviewing management options for the town’s Highway Division and will post the position soon.

Town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said no other town commissioners or department heads are part of the union.

“This change just made it consistent throughout the town,” Trottere added.

The highway superintendent position has been vacant since late 2016. Acting superintendent Joe Geraci, who is also the town’s deputy commissioner of the department of public works, is not eligible for overtime.

A March 2016 Newsday investigation found that Thomas Tiernan, the town’s previous highway superintendent, was the only top highway official on Long Island to get overtime. He was hired by the town in 1980, and became highway superintendent in 2000. In 2011, the town board voted to add Tiernan’s position to the union, making him eligible for overtime.

Jon Kaiman, who was town supervisor from 2004 to 2013, wrote last week in an email that his administration had found “great value in having the superintendent work additional hours” to run profitable shared services work such as road resurfacing projects and dealing with emergencies.

From 2011 to 2016, Tiernan amassed more than $130,000 in overtime and became the town’s highest-paid employee. He resigned in November 2016, amid an internal investigation into the highway division’s overtime use. That year, his compensation — which included $19,570 in overtime — totaled $186,086, according to town payroll records.

Town Deputy Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian said that the town conducted a review and found that Tiernan was the only highway superintendent included in the union and collecting overtime.

After Tiernan resigned, the town folded its highway department into the Department of Public Works and rebranded it as the Highway Division. In June 2016, the town board also rehired its former building commissioner, Kevin Cronin, to serve in a $98,000 “special assignment” part-time position to help manage a wave of Highway Division retirements. In November of that year, he was brought on full-time at a salary of $122,500. Khatchadourian said then that the town hoped to reduce Cronin’s schedule by spring 2017.

Khatchadourian said Wednesday that Cronin was still needed full time but that his status is reviewed on a near-monthly basis.

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