The Clarkstown Town Board voted to postpone a public hearing on the proposed local law to consolidate the town mechanics under a until July. Town officials explained they had received information from the Rockland County Department of Personnel, which requires further study of the proposal to merge the mechanics from the highway department, town garage and mini trans into a single town garage department, which would be overseen by the town board.
Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said the Rockland County Commissioner of Personnel had sent a memo outlining some issues “that further complicated a move in this direction.” The information had been provided to the Town Attorney’s Office for further research.
Deputy Town Attorney Keith Cornell acknowledged the information required more review.
“Suffice it to say there is some complexity with the proposal,” said Cornell. “It’s clear there are some legal aspects to this which need to be further examined.”
The transfer of the highway department mechanics from the appointing authority of the highway department superintendent to another appointing authority is the portion of the proposed law that is questioned.
The town provided a report summarizing the purpose for and savings anticipated by placing all of the town’s mechanics under a town garage department. “Putting the mechanics under one appointing authority, the Town Board, would provide the ability to cross train all mechanics in all aspects of their trade while allowing them to be deployed on a daily basis depending on the particular workload as well as any emergencies that may occur.” The town’s director of finance and members of the comptroller’s office and personnel department compiled the report.
Currently the town garage employs four mechanics, the highway department has seven mechanics and Mini-Trans has two. A consultant’s analysis comissioned by Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballar determined the workforce of 13 could be reduced to eight for consolidation. The town board favors decreasing the number of mechanics to 10 through attrition for an eventual savings of $338,000.
Specifically future savings in salary and benefits would be $125,000 for a Town Garage automotive mechanic, $120,000 for a Highway Department mechanic and $93,000 for a Mini-Trans auto mechanic. Other areas identified for potential savings are $57,000 in overtime, $126,000 in parts and equipment and $150,000 in improved maintenance.
The report noted a total savings of $1,022,459 but that includes cost savings already in place by eliminating staff. Those staff positions and salaries and benefits are $102,983 for the Town Garage storekeeper, $111,491 for the Highway Department Garage storekeeper and $136,985 for the Town Garage head mechanic.