North Hempstead Town's public works commissioner has resigned, making him the most recent and the fifth town official to leave a top-level town position since December.
Paul DiMaria, 54, left his $142,333 position last Friday, ending a nine-year tenure as the town’s public works chief.
“I had [done] a lot of great projects with the town. We did some great work together,” DiMaria said in a phone interview Monday. “I wanted to try going back to the private sector … I think I have some good opportunities that I’d like to explore.”
Before joining the town staff, DiMaria, who is a licensed engineer, worked for the Town of Islip and the Town of Southampton, tallying 22 years in municipal governments on Long Island.
DiMaria said he “didn’t leave on bad terms” but declined to comment on whether his resignation was linked to the ongoing lawsuit between the town and Gramercy Group Inc., a Wantagh-based contractor North Hempstead hired in 2017 to renovate the pool at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park for $21 million.
The town said the contractor didn’t manage its subcontractors correctly and failed to finish all the work by the agreed upon date. Gramercy, which filed for bankruptcy in May and sued the town in July, contended town officials added extra work and didn’t outline the full scope of required work at the beginning of the renovation.
As the town’s public works commissioner, DiMaria oversaw most of the town’s capital projects, including the pool upgrade, and managed outside engineers and contractors like Gramercy.
DiMaria’s departure comes less than three months after Richard Baker, the town’s superintendent of highways, left only four months after taking the job.
A month prior to Baker’s resignation, Jill Weber, the town’s Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner, retired from her post. Deputy Town Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian, who had gone to part-time status in 2017, left her job in January, and Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin stepped down from her position in December, citing personal reasons.
Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in an emailed statement that the town has a "great staff" and that turnover in government is common.
“People move on to other opportunities and challenges and others chose to retire,” Bosworth said. “We’ve had a little of both here. … It’s part of life and of running a government with 419 full-time employees.”
Victor Thomas, the public works department's architect, will be the acting commissioner, pending board approval scheduled for a vote on Thursday. His current salary is $117,285.
Town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said the town and DiMaria have reached a verbal agreement for DiMaria to serve as a consultant during the transitional period. It was unclear how much he will be paid in his new capacity.