Ballard Recaps Sparaco's Highway Position

Part I: This post looks at Ballard's explanations on why the position was needed, how he came to his decision with choosing Sparaco. Check back with Patch for Part II tomorrow


Clarkstown Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard announced in August that he hired Frank Sparaco, a Rockland County legislator, as the department’s new part-time constituent services assistant.

Sparaco started working Aug. 27 in the $75,000-a-year position. The 25-hour a week position does not include benefits: medical, or vacation or sick days.  As a legislator, Sparaco receives medical benefits.

At the December Nanuet Civic Association meeting, Ballard addressed questions residents had about Sparaco’s position.

Help Was Needed

“I can't believe the same thing happened last year, happened this year, also. That storm along with Hurricane Irene, an earthquake and all the other stuff that was going on (like 70” of snow and two flooding events), my office, which is just me and Nancy, was inundated with phone calls;130 per day.  I needed help. I couldn't get back to all the people in time and respond to their questions and concerns,” said Ballard. "I sat down with the Town Board and said I need a position. They said we need to “hold the line.” I said I can do this within my budget. They asked why I needed a position. I said I’ve lost 20 people since 2002 (through attrition, I went from 100 people down to 80).”

Ballard added that of the 20 employees that had left the department, a few were on the management side (a deputy, a dispatcher and a code enforcer), which was taking its toll on customer service and follow up.

“By 2002, I had implemented new management procedures and started purchasing equipment that would accomplish more using less manpower and I was able to maintain the same work load and more with less people on the labor end as we got more organized in our work,” said Ballard. “During that same time, you also took Highway jobs away from outside contractors and made them in-house to cut costs, such as snow plow truck and sidewalk snow plowing contractors, as well as leaf-hauling truckers.” 

Choosing Sparaco

The position was advertised by the town’s Personnel Department for six weeks and drew more than 260 resumes. 

“I only wanted people who lived in Rockland County and that cut down the volume quite a bit. There were a bunch of people from Clarkstown,” he said. "The job is categorized as 25 hours a week with no benefits and the following requirements:”

“When I need you, you have to come in; when there's a snow storm, hurricane or flooding."

“The hours are not necessarily per week, when you're needed for more hours, you have to work it and they'll be made up later.  You have to work until it's done; we'll have to make up those hours another week, but when I need you, you have to stay.”

“When you take the position, I can't guarantee you'll have a job beyond December 2013 because I run for office every two years."

When interviewing for the position, Ballard said he asked the following questions - "do you know what the position entails, do you know how government works, do you know constituent services, do you know how the highway dept works, do you know the difference in roads (state, county, town or private).  All these questions and many more were asked of the individuals that applied.

"When it came down to two or three individuals, I spent time and talked to them, in my heart I believed Frank Sparaco was the best for the job,” said Ballard.

Sparaco of Valley Cottage has experience as a constituent services assistant having worked with the New York State Assembly Minority Conference for the Mid-Hudson Region for about a year. 

Comparable Jobs

"There are currently five positions in the Town of Clarkstown and the job descriptions are comparable to this new position - all paying more money,” said Ballard. “You take any of the current individuals, all of which are politically appointed and paid $100,000 a year and add the cost associated with vacation and benefits (which is a 1.5 multiplier); then divide it by the number of hours to find out the hourly cost for a full time employee.”

“You take this part time $75,000 position (that is not entitled to vacation time or benefits) and divide it by 25 hours to determine the hourly cost,” he continued. “Compare the two positions and the part time position is below the curve in salary and to me it justified the value of the position."

Check back with Patch tomorrow for Part II, which looks at Ballard's explanations on Sparaco's performance so far in the position

wisher December 25, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Blatant political Move? They are politicians. They do have to get elected. Thats part of life. I dont see how hiring somone who helped him get elected 2 yrs ago stops him from getting reelected. Especially since wayne has done an excellent job for years and is highly qualified. We are lucky to have him and most residents know that. I dont know Sparaco but ive heard of him and I get his emails, he seems like a hard working young man whos always fighting for the taxpayers on the legislature. Nothing wrong with taking a job I would have donr the same thing if it was offered to me. It seems to me people that disliked wayne in the first place are trying to use this to hurt him because its a smart move that made him stronger.
Haroldstar December 25, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Wayne Ballard Is probably one of the best Hwy Supt. in the state and Frank Sparaco is probably one of the last remaining hopes for the republican party in Rockland. Sparaco is thye only thing keeping that party even remotely relevant. And the Dems cant take Waynes seat as long as hes teamed up with Sparaco so i understand the frustration. But lets be honest its really all just politics, The dems want waynes seat and they want sparaco out of the way. Cause hes there last remaining obstacle to total domination
Haroldstar December 25, 2012 at 06:45 AM
So What ?
Michael N. Hull December 25, 2012 at 11:23 AM
<<<Sparaco is one of the last hopes for the Republican Party. Sparaco is the only thing keeping that party remotely relevant. >>> That doesn't say much for Republicans CAREY, DAY, BORELLI and HOEHMANN I'll let them speak for themselves. <<<The Dems cant take Waynes seat as hes teamed up with Sparaco. The dems want Wayne's seat - they want sparaco out of the way - he's there last obstacle to total domination>>> This logic is flawed. 2 Democrats (Hausner and Lasker) voted to create the position Sparaco got. Nimick suggested that the Board should exercise its prerogative over the Sparaco hiring by simply eliminating the position created at Ballard's request in the Highway Department. Nimick said: "I asked whether the Board would rescind its decision to establish the position that has been handled differently than represented to the Board. Mele confirmed that rescinding the position would be a legally acceptable action. You have the power as the Board convened in an open meeting to entertain that motion now. If you chose to take no action, your inaction will be understood as approval of the position and approval of how it was filled, as a part-time position for $75,000 taxpayer dollars, by Mr. Sparaco." http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/not-shame-but-farce Either Hausner or Lasker could have made and seconded a motion to rescind - neither did. Ergo 2 Democrats tacitly support the appointment. Again I will let them speak for themselves.
Mark Walker December 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Excellent point. This is a part-time position with a full time salary. This is a classic example of waste in the system and why the town and county has failed all of us. We need to get more involved in local politics and put these knuckleheads on everyone's radar.
Mark Walker December 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Why don't they use the town workers in those massive trucks that park outside the Bardonia Deli each week morning for 30-45 minutes, trucks running, while they sit inside and eat their breakfast. I thought that it was against the law to "idle" a vehicle for more than 2-3 minutes.
Mark Walker December 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Mr. Ballard's explanation is nothing more than a ridiculous rationalization. "In my heart," I know that this is nothing more than a local politician rewarding someone for reasons other than the nonsense he is trying to sell. The fact that this story was released on Christmas Eve, when few people would read it, is interesting.
Mark Walker December 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM
You must be a town employee:)
Mark Walker December 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM
What is Frank Sparaco's full time job if he can jump at a moment's notice and man phones. Next time there is a weather condition, let's call the Department of Highway's main number and see if he answers:)
Watchdog December 25, 2012 at 01:58 PM
"......Frank Sparaco is probably one of the last remaining hopes for the republican party" Hey Harold Sparaco DID NOT. support the Republican candidate in the last election for Clarkstown Supervisor. He supported Gromack who approved the new and outrageous $75,000 part time job in the first place. Sparaco is NOT a Republican....he is an OPPORTUNIST. Is Sparaco supporting Republican Ed Day.....or the Other BLOC supportedCandidate for County Executive?
Watchdog December 25, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Personally I don't really care what party picks up the leaves. BUT I do not want to hand out jobs to these politicians, particularly a $75,000 job to answer phones. What does Frankie do wen the son shines?.
Dennis December 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Patronage, pure & simple!
Michael Zaretsky December 25, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Merry Christmas All! Chill out and fight this out tomorrow! Happy Holidays and Blessings ALL!
Joan K December 25, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Perhaps Mr. Sparaco is worth every penny and there are just a bunch of people who are jealous of him. As long as he is doing a good job, this whole thing should just die. I received a job because someone liked me. It wasn't a high paying job but it was a job. I truly believe that "it's not what you know, but who you know" is true and what is so terrible about it?
commonsense December 25, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I can only wonder what the morale is like in the highway department when workers see a newly hired customer service rep making $75,000 for part time work, and they are out there performing their jobs full time for a whole lot less. If Ballard had advertised the job for $75,000 he would have heard the justified complaints from taxpayers immediately. Now he is correctly dealing with criticism regarding his spending of our money. He cannot explain it away. If Clarkstown elected officials think that $75,000 is appropriate pay for a newly hired part timer then that is the problem in a nutshell. Please stop telling us how fab Sparaco is, we just don't buy it, he has no resume, just well connected friends.
Laurence Voss December 25, 2012 at 07:58 PM
All politics ? The savior of his party ? Rockland County is drowning in debt and Sparaco takes a useless patronage position that wastes $75,000 of the taxpayers' money ? Both he and Ballard are stealing this money and should either be prosecuted or dismissed for cause. The arrogance and hypocrisy of these so called politicians is astounding.
joshstern December 27, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Sparaco and Ballard are doing a great job. In all honesty I didnt support Sabatini either he didnt have a shot. Sparaco was helping numerous other candidates run, and has worked on campaigns for years. has ed day chris carey or borelli ever helped anyone other than themselves? answer is NO. But they need Sparaco to get elected. Why should he go out of his way for sabatini. Sabatini was a democrat up until a couple of years ago and never did anything for the republican party. No one owed him sh*t.
Ralph December 27, 2012 at 04:07 AM
None of the republicans u mentioned can get elected without sparaco. He is the strongest. He created careys district himself and won george hoeman the working families primary. Your logic is flawed if hausner and lasker arent goin after him its for good cause they dont want to fight with him. which makes wayne stronger. the only threat to any dem in clarkstown in the republican party is sparaco. Not to mention he works his but off and fights for the constituents tirelessly. Hull you should pay more attention to your surroundings
Ralph December 27, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Sparaco and wayne do deserve some support. there doing a great job
Ralph December 27, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Laurence your very confused and ur accusations of criminality are inappropriate
phil December 27, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Who cares if its a blatant political move. They are politicians what do you expect. The job needed to be filled and he hired his friend. So what thats life. and if it was a full time posistion it would be over 100k plus benefits and vacation. looks like wayne did the right thing and saved us money. As long as sparaco puts in his time and is of some use to wayne i dont have a problem with it. As a matter of fact id rather see it go to someone with govt expieience thana nobody it would take yrs to train.
phil December 27, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Wayne is getting over 3 mil from fema and gettin most of sparacos yearly salary covered by the feds, what are we even talking about. The guy is in charge of a multi million dollar budget ur breakin his balls over this nonsnese
phil December 27, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Mr Hull you are a totally confused man when it comes to local politics. You think you know something but your really just lost.
phil December 27, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Im told morale is up. Sparaco is helping mend some bridges for wayne with the workers. No surprise there Sparaco is good at that type of stuff which is just something else he brings to the table that helps wayne
holymoly December 27, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I agree Joan. Give them a chance.
holymoly December 27, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Mr. Hull, You have accomplished absolutely nothing in all of your complaining except for hurting your cause because you are pushing the dems and reps together in there hatred of you. Dont you see that? Whats your goal? Whats your endgame? You attack everyone. You have no Loyalty. You must pick a side. No side is perfect but you have to compromise. You cant always get your way. I do kinda feel bad for you because you seem so ignorant of what damage your really doing and your heart seems to be in the right place
wisher December 27, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Please dont tell me that you really belive that milone can beat ballard. A high school dropout verse an engineer. A mechanic verse an tried and tested incumbant. God i hope not. Things would really fall apart if that happened. Michael you always seem to have the right intentions but wrong strategy
Michael Yularen December 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Ballard and Sparaco have my vote all the way
Mike Hirsch December 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Morale is up because Malone is now in charge of the town garages. Ask anyone who works there.
Brenda M December 28, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Sarah ........ You say "disgusting?" Everyone read the Journal News. http://www.thealbanyproject.com/diary/8987/ad94-journal-news-links-gop-assembly-candidate-frank-sparaco-to-the-mob The Journal News said: "Sparaco's appointment keeps alive the town’s penchant for hiring political operatives. As a legislator, Sparaco fought raises for county employees. Now he earns $75,000 for a 25-hour-a-week town post. That’s $57.69 per hour. Sparaco has been a key player in the Independence Party. Ballard, like Sparaco, is a Republican. But in Clarkstown, that’s of little matter. Democratic supervisor, Gromack, has various party leaders in his employ, and election after election, he and Ballard have been cross-endorsed and rarely challenged. Patronage is an institution in Clarkstown. 260 people who applied for the post didn’t have the right connections. Ballard and Sparaco acknowledged the appointment was political. “If I lose an election, he loses his job.” Now that IS "disgusting"! Taxpayers are paying to give someone a job who has "connections" just so he can give a party line to Ballard and Gromack. But then I only read the "disgusting" newspapers and what the Journal News reports about connections.


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