Two weeks after it called on the city of Glen Cove to remove its parks and recreation director from union membership, the Civil Service Employees Association reversed its decision and has asked that officials reinstate her.
A representative for the labor union sent a letter to the city on Aug. 2 requesting Darcy Belyea be removed from CSEA member status and that the city stop deducting union dues from her paycheck.
“The language clearly defines that her current job title is excluded from any benefits and rights that are in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between CSEA and the City of Glen Cove,” the letter, obtained by Newsday through the Freedom of Information Act, reads.
CSEA labor relations specialist Timothy Boerum sent a second letter to the city on Aug. 19 “retracting its position,” because “Darcy’s position does not fall under ‘appointed Department Heads,’” the letter states. Belyea is not appointed annually and her salary is not set yearly like the city’s other directors and so “her salary and grade are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Unit,” Boerum wrote.
Belyea said she’s been a “proud union member” since she was appointed by Thomas Suozzi in 1996 and that her predecessor was also part of the union.
Belyea is entitled to collect overtime pay as a union member, according to Wendi Bowie, CSEA Long Island region communications specialist. Last year she was paid $29,147 in overtime, making a total of $156,922, and has been the city’s highest-paid non-police employee since 2016, according to payroll records that Newsday obtained through a state Freedom of Information Law request.
A spokesman for the city said it was his understanding that department heads were to be excluded from the union and that he “personally was not aware” of any others that are part of the CSEA.
When she learned that her union status was being questioned, Belyea said she met with CSEA representatives and “presented all the facts," including that she is not annually appointed.
Bowie said that after reviewing its records, the CSEA has determined Belyea is a member and is protected under the contract.
Belyea’s union membership was also questioned last year and in 2016, according to documents obtained by Newsday. Belyea said former CSEA unit president Martin Cook challenged her membership status in 2016 because he was “unhappy” that she had to discipline an employee for “sleeping on the job.”
Cook sent a letter to then-Mayor Reginald Spinello directing Belyea be removed as a dues-paying member because her title as a director “causes a conflict of interest,” the letter reads. Bowie said Cook is no longer unit president and that it would not comment on the dispute.
Spinello, who is running for mayor in November, said he didn’t take action because “that was really between her and the union.”