Two days after Babylon Parks and Recreation Commissioner Francis Bachety retired in March with a $5,000-a-month pension and a town payout of $57,000, the town rehired him as a part-time employee for $85 an hour, town and state officials said.
His retirement and rehiring enable Bachety, 64, of Babylon, to collect up to about $214,800 in taxpayer-funded compensation and pension benefits from the town and state this year, town and state officials said.
Babylon also has provided Bachety with a town-owned Chevrolet sport utility vehicle and a town cellphone for his part-time work, town officials said.
He started working for Babylon in 1988. The town paid him $123,980 as parks commissioner last year, including a $6,000 stipend for serving as “collector of parks and recreation fees,” records show.
He was paid $25,158 as commissioner this year before retiring on March 24, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said. Bachety's retirement triggered a $56,889 payout from the town for more than 100 unused sick, personal and vacation days he had accrued, Bonner said.
Babylon rehired Bachety on March 26 as an assistant recreation specialist. His responsibilities include booking bands and handling logistics for the town's summer concert series and working on capital projects, such as the installation of new lighting and turf at Van Bourgondien, Birchwood and Sawyer Avenue parks, town officials said.
The town had asked Bachety in February to assume the new role, Bonner said. The town board did not submit a resolution to rehire Bachety, because “part-time position hires don’t have resolutions,” Bonner said.
Bachety did not respond to requests for comment.
In a statement provided by Bonner, Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer wrote: “Frank Bachety is more personally responsible for all of the great developments in the Town of Babylon’s parks over the last 20 years than any other single individual.”
Schaffer cited the reconstruction of town facilities after superstorm Sandy, Babylon’s three spray parks and the summer concert series as examples of Bachety's work as the head of the parks department.
As a part-time employee, Bachety can work up to around 1,000 hours this year, Bonner said. As of Aug. 10, he had worked 580.75 hours and had been paid $49,363.75 in his new role.
Town spokesman Dan Schaefer said Bachety needed his town-provided vehicle because his work "requires regular daily travels between" the town's numerous parks facilities.
The town was unable to estimate how many total hours Bachety would work this year, or whether Bachety would continue to work for the town next year, Bonner said.
Bachety's monthly pension payment is $5,158, said Tania Lopez, a spokeswoman for the state comptroller's office. Bachety could receive as much as $47,757 in total pension payments this year, she said.
New York law generally allows state pension recipients to resume public employment in the state — with no restrictions on their pay — starting in the calendar year they turn 65, according to a 2017 publication from the comptroller's office on working after retirement.
Bachety turns 65 in December, according to public records.
Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany, called such double dipping a “barnacle on a much bigger problem: unsustainable defined benefit pension systems.”
“Any person working in their own self-interest would be crazy not to double dip, given the chance,” Hoefer said. “Employers — ultimately employed by the taxpayers — have to decide if double dipping is in the best interest of their constituents and the municipality they represent,” he added.
Bachety family on the Babylon Payroll
Babylon Town's 2017 payroll included six relatives of former town Parks Commissioner Francis Bachety. All six were lifeguards.
The hiring process starts with the chief lifeguards, town spokesman Dan Schaefer said.
"The Parks & Recreation Department Commissioner's only role in the hiring of lifeguards is the processing of authorization papers." The town board hires chief lifeguards and assistant chief lifeguards, while chief lifeguards hire individual lifeguards, Schaefer said.
Bachety family members on the payroll were:
|Bachety, Francis||Parks Commissioner||$123,980|
|Bachety, John||Asst.Chief Lifeguard||$29,980||Brother|
|Bachety, Daniel||Asst. Chief Lifeguard||$27,275||Brother|
|Bachety, Brenna||Senior Lifeguard||$10,352||Daughter|