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Huntington Town reinstates jobs, but holds off on appointments

Huntington Town Hall is seen on Monday, July

Huntington Town Hall is seen on Monday, July 10, 2017. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Town of Huntington officials made some budgetary changes in expectation of personnel changes, job creations and reassignments.

Board members last week approved reinstating $1.2 million in jobs, including director of general services, director of parks and recreation and director of waste management.

They created $697,837 in new positions, including director of public safety, deputy director of parks and recreation, and deputy director of waste management. The board abolished $541,394 in positions, increasing the salaries of two council aides at a cost of $14,256, adding $74,728 for two positions on the same budget line for the supervisor’s office, and eliminating a part-time executive assistant’s $42,300 salary from the parks and recreation department, town officials said.

Town officials also took $1.4 million out of contingency, town officials said.

“It’s just housingkeeping rules that we have to do every so often based on retirement, attrition, reposting of positions,” Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said.

The contingency line was created by previous Town Supervisor Frank Petrone to control expenditures, town officials said. When a position becomes vacant, the budget line, and the funding for it, go into “contingency,” which means that the appropriation is held in reserve, town officials said. Filling the position then requires taking the funding out of contingency, which requires a board vote. The procedure to place jobs and funding in contingency is set by a town board resolution each year.

The town board did not make appointments to several key positions as planned.

Town Board members Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol, both Democrats, at a pre-board meeting objected to the appointments because they said they had received the candidate resumes only 36 hours prior and did not have time to review them or offer candidate recommendations. They also said they were unaware the appointments would be on the agenda.

In response to those concerns, Lupinacci, a Republican, pulled the appointments resolution at the beginning of the town board meeting.

“Some of the members feel they didn’t have enough time to interview and vet certain candidates so we’re going to extend the period of time so all of our town board members get to interview and meet if they feel they didn’t get enough time to meet with them and take it up at the next meeting,” Lupinacci said after the meeting.

Cuthbertson said Lupinacci’s action was “a welcome response to the transparency and process issues raised and as a result, the town will benefit from as diverse and qualified job candidates as possible.”

Job titles that were to be filled include director of the Department of General Services; director of the Department of Public Safety; deputy director of the Department of Public Safety; director of the department of Parks and Recreation; deputy director of the Department of Parks and Recreation; director of the Department of Environmental Waste Management; and deputy director of the Department of Environmental Waste Management.

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