The Clarkstown Town Board appointed Dennis Malone of Congers to the newly created position of of the town garage. The former mini trans supervisor is now responsible for overseeing the town’s mechanics and reports directly to the town board, not to Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard. The position pays $93,637 annually and is retroactive to Monday, Sept. 3.
Councilmembers Stephanie Hauser and Shirley Lasker were both absent from the Tuesday night meeting at which the vote was taken. Lasker had objected to the pending appointment at the prior meeting and stated she thought it was illegal because it took away the highway superintendent’s authority to manage the department’s equipment. Malone will oversee the town’s mechanics who have been consolidated having previously worked separately for the town garage, mini trans bus and highway department.
Town highway superintendents in Rockland County previously objected to Clarkstown’s plans to make the appointment. Orangetown Highway Superintendent Jim Dean said he and his colleagues are not opposed to a fleet manager position or consolidation of the town’s mechanics into one garage entity. They object to the fleet manager not reporting to Clarkstown Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard. Dean sad it could mean that with equipment maintenance not being under his control, the plows might not be ready when Ballard needs them.
Dean pointed out the Clarkstown Town Board already has control over the highway department through its budget which the board must approve. He said the change could really affect transparency in government. If things do not run smoothly in the highway department, the superintendent would look bad at the next election.
Dean said the highway superintendents at the county level along with their state association were following the issue closely and would consider legal action.
“We know it’s in direct conflict with New York State Highway Law,” said Dean.