A Smithtown building department official has been appointed to head the town parks department, following the abrupt retirement of director Sandra Miranda.
Town board members voted 5-0 Tuesday to grant Joseph Arico a leave of absence from his job as building permits coordinator and provisionally appoint him to the position of town parks maintenance director, effective Monday. His salary was set at $125,000 a year.
"It's a nice opportunity that the town board afforded me, so I'm looking forward to it," Arico, 53, said in an interview Tuesday after the vote.
Miranda, 62, who was appointed last year, plans to retire effective Saturday, after working for the town for 25 years, she said in an interview Wednesday. Town officials said her most recent annual salary was $130,430.
Richard Kazanecki, 60, the department's assistant director, filed paperwork to also retire, effective Sept. 19, town officials said. Kazanecki has worked for the town for 35 years; his most recent annual salary was $119,997, officials said.
The pending departures come under a cloud of controversy, stemming from a July 29 letter written by Albert J. Boylan, a former town maintenance crew leader, and obtained by Newsday.
Boylan, who was demoted in June after a civil service officer ruled he drove a town vehicle for personal use and left work without permission, wrote that he and another town employee repaired the garage at Miranda's home for three days, using town supplies, a town vehicle and on town time. Boylan also wrote that Miranda instructed him to drive Kazanecki, who was allegedly intoxicated at work, to his home in Kings Park and that Kazanecki had a town-owned mini excavator on his property that he used for personal gain.
Kazanecki declined to comment Wednesday on his retirement or the allegations. Boylan could not be reached Wednesday.
Councilman Robert Creighton said the letter was referred to the town's public safety office, because the allegations involved theft of equipment. Multiple town sources said the Suffolk County district attorney's office is also investigating Boylan's claims, but spokesman Robert Clifford declined to comment Wednesday.
Miranda said Wednesday that she was interviewed by a town investigator, but had not been contacted by the district attorney's office. She said Boylan was a former friend who repaired her garage during three lunch hours in late 2013 and 2014. At that time, Miranda said she was working as an administrative assistant in the parks department.
Miranda said Boylan's letter was "total retaliation" for his demotion. She said she decided to retire because, "I had the age, and the time . . . It had absolutely nothing to do with any allegations."Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said Tuesday of Miranda: "She's been a good employee. I'm sorry that she's gone. I wish her well."
Arico has previously worked for the town as an assistant chief building official and as a plans examiner. He said he also has been a construction supervisor for apartment and condo projects in the private sector and operated his own Bohemia-based construction company from 2000 to 2014.