Clarkstown Highway Department Superintendent Wayne Ballard requested that a new position, constituent services assistant, be added to his department. The assistant would process residents’ inquiries during emergencies and regular working hours and would be stationed at the Clarkstown Police Department during emergencies to ensure effective communications between local officials and utilities.
“The public demands answers during emergencies,” said Ballard, adding that the employee would provide information by phone, text and email.
During a town board executive session in May, Ballard presented the case for the position. His department has several vacancies and he told the town board that the new position would fill some of the gaps created by the elimination of a dispatcher, litter control personnel and deputy superintendent in his department.
At last Tuesday’s meeting the town board approved his request for the new title. The Rockland County Personnel Department had already approved the title, which had not existed in the highway department previously.
Supervisor Alex Gromack explained that Ballard’s position is considered an appointing authority and he has his own budget and “can spend it as he sees fit.” Ballard told the board he has available money in the budget to pay the salary. Councilmember Frank Borelli expressed initial opposition about adding another position.
“He now has another title,” said Gromack. “This was a title he wanted as a part-time person.”
Ballard said the position would be 25 hours per week without benefits. During emergencies, the highway department receives up to 600 phone calls. Ballard said the need for someone to manage those types of call became apparent after the October 2011 snowstorm.
“This person will reach out to the public in different venues,” said Ballard, adding those would be clubs and government boards and would attend various meetings.