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Long IslandSuffolk

Mayor scuttles search committee, appoints director

Abandoning a promise to convene a search committee, Brightwaters Mayor Joseph A. McNulty has elevated a veteran village employee to the position of director of the public works and highway department.

"There's no need for a search committee," McNulty said Monday. "I had somebody right there that's trained and ready to go."

McNulty appointed Michael Ackerson, a 12-year department employee who worked as a laborer, to the post. Ackerson, a Republican, could not be reached for comment Monday.

McNulty said Ackerson would receive a salary increase, but he could not provide the figure -- or more details about Ackerson's background. The village clerk was not in the office Monday, and the files could not be accessed, village officials said.

McNulty said last month that he would "absolutely" assemble a search committee to find a new department leader.

Some village residents had expressed concern that the job-filling process might be muddled by politics when McNulty appointed former village Trustee Charles Fischer to fill the post on an interim basis after longtime director George Peterson retired in June. Both McNulty and Fischer belong to the village-majority Citizens Party.

Fischer, who McNulty said found a job in the private sector, is working as a consultant for the department for "a few hours" a week for another month or so, to complete a project he started to computerize the department's records.

McNulty said that, despite complaints about Fischer's appointment, he did a good job. "They [critics] beat up on me; they beat up on him, but Charles Fischer did an excellent job. If he were working for you, you would say the same thing."

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