East Hampton Highway Superintendent Scott King’s decision to hire a temporary worker as an independent contractor has led a state agency to accuse the town of violating civil service law.
King insists the move by the state Public Employment Relations Board is a politically driven complaint in an election year. King is seeking reelection.
The charge stems from King’s hiring last month of Ted Breen as an independent contractor. The Town Board rejected that arrangement, and instead paid Breen as a part-time worker.
In its complaint to the Public Employment Relations Board, the town CSEA claimed the flagging duties Breen was hired to do have been performed exclusively by union workers for 25 years.
King said he hires independent contractors every winter to plow snow, and that he hired Breen last month because a 30 percent cut in his staff had created safety issues.
“This is 11 days of per diem work,” King said. “It’s a public safety issue.” The town, by resolution, pays flagmen $20 per hour.
Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson declined to comment on the case.
Breen is the son of Patricia Breen, the town’s personnel officer. After Ted Breen’s employment ended, the town board adopted a new anti-nepotism policy requiring the town board to be informed if any job applicants are related to board members or department heads.