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Ex-highway chief still on village payroll

Two months after a politically connected former Brightwaters trustee left his position as head of the highway department for a job in the private sector, he's still logging about 16 hours a week on the village payroll.

Charles Fischer served as interim highway department chief for about three months before Mayor Joseph A. McNulty appointed Michael Ackerson, a 13-year department employee, to the post in September.

At the time, McNulty said Fischer was staying on for a "few hours" a week for another month as a consultant to finish a computer project.

But according to Fischer's time sheets, since he left his full-time post in September he's logged between 13 and 19 hours a week. His rate of pay and his exact role in the department were not disclosed. As highway chief, Fischer was paid $62,400 and received health and pension benefits.

McNulty declined to comment on Fischer's employment Thursday, saying he was too busy dealing with the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. "There's a lot more important things for me to work on than Charlie Fischer," said McNulty, who said his fuel-supply business and the lack of electricity in the village had his full attention.

Fischer, a member of the Citizen's Party, like the other trustees, served as a trustee for 12 years before resigning this year after the board voted to rescind a free health care benefit to members.

Fischer could not be reached for comment.

At the Highway Department yard, Ackerson said Thursday that Fischer was out working. He declined to comment further. "I'm out here to clean up the village, to keep the village safe and secure," Ackerson said. "When it comes to politics, don't talk to me. I don't want to know."

But he described Fischer as an asset to the department. "I wouldn't be able to do my job without him."

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