The Clarkstown Highway Superintendent race is sizing up to
be a negative affair. The two candidates at Thursday night’s Candidates Forum
hosted by the Congers and Valley Cottage civic associations traded harsh
criticisms about each other’s job performance.
Wayne Ballard, a Republican, is the incumbent and has held the position for 16 years. Dennis Malone, a Democrat, is the department’s fleet manager and oversees its equipment but reports directly to the town board.
Malone accused Ballard of overpaying for supplies and repairs. He referenced a report he submitted to the town board earlier in the week showing that he saved the department $1 million since his appointment as fleet manager in September 2012. Ballard spoke about his background of being a licensed engineer and of the challenges presented by not having direct control over the department’s equipment.
“My opponent talks about savings on parts,” said Ballard. “His numbers are a little off. It’s missing some things. They’re not accurate.”
Malone spoke about the controversial hiring of Frank Sparaco as the highway department’s constituent services representative.
“Another area that concerns me is Mr. Ballard is spending your taxpayer dollars for his own benefit,” said Malone. “He hired Mr. Frank Sparaco for a part-time position and paid him $75,000, the most outrageous hire in the history of the town of Clarkstown.”
Ballard defended his hiring of Sparaco and stated he had the most knowledge of local government and roadways of the 260 applicants. He said there was irony in Malone’s comment about high taxes.
“I find it rather ironic when we talk about taxes and taxes and taxes,” said Ballard. “He works for the town. His wife works for the town. His daughter works for the town and his son-in-law works for the town to the tune of $400,000.”
Malone said he would cut Sparaco’s job if elected.
“I’m asking for you to vote because you have my promise I will eliminate this job if elected,” said Malone. “Maintaining and repairing Clarkstown’s highways is not a partisan issue.”
In response to a Congers resident’s question about the biggest problem facing Rockland County, Malone said it was high taxes. Ballard responded the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project presented major issues for the county that have not been resolved and that flooding was also major concern.
The forum also included candidates running for county executive and Clarkstown supervisor and council.