Town of Huntington officials approved some personnel moves partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and promoted other employees.
The board voted to fill the jobs of an additional public safety agent and a custodian. Several other workers who were serving in acting or interim positions received promotions, including the director of public safety.
“With everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, these are essential employees,” Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said. “With the reinstatements, we had a few retirements and they were at higher titles, so we were able to save money by, instead of creating the same titles, creating newer more entry-level positions.”
Lupinacci said the newly reinstated full-time jobs are a public safety agent who will be paid $39,895 and a custodian who will be paid $35,405.
But town board member Mark Cuthbertson, who was the only board member to vote against the resolution at the June 16 meeting, said now is the time to do more with less.
“COVID-19 will likely have a devastating impact on our local economy and town budget and I believe it is irresponsible to add jobs at this time,” Cuthbertson said. “If people are leaving positions because of retirement or otherwise we should not fill those positions.”
Four people in the general services department received promotions, which total $16,067 in raises.
In other moves, Joe Cirigliano was named director of public safety. He had been serving as interim director since Pete Sammis resigned from the position in February after controversy over a lewd email. Cirigliano will be paid $120,000.
Kevin McCormick has been named deputy director of public safety at a $100,000 salary. He had been the interim deputy director.
Thelma Neira, previously the interim and then acting deputy town attorney, is now deputy town attorney. She will be paid $135,700.
The town’s director of maritime services, Dom Spada, went from a part-time role paid at $60,000 to a full-time one with a $85,000 salary.
All titles were effective June 17.
Cuthbertson also criticized Spada’s promotion.
“I have serious questions about how Mr. Spada will be able to work two full-time jobs and did not receive satisfactory answers,” Cuthbertson said. “Also, this resolution was put on the agenda at the last minute with no explanation as to its urgency.”
Spada works at Madison Square Garden as a lead technician for telecasts of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. Spada said he will be able to handle both jobs because of his flexible schedule.
“I’m the best bargain the town has right now; I’m the lowest paid director,” Spada said. “Plus I put in well in over the required 35 hours a week.”
Lupinacci defended Spada’s promotion, saying he already works full-time hours and added, “All of these existing appointees are excellent at proving their leadership skills before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”