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. In Patch's first post, Ballard explained why the position was needed, how he came to his decision with choosing Sparaco
Sparaco in the Position
During Hurricane Sandy, Clarkstown Police and the Highway Department produced a shared internet document (through Google) to input current reportings and works-in-progress during the storm and the clean up efforts. This “live” document was viewed by multiple town departments as well as the O&R representative stationed at the police building command center. The report included data such as outages, downed poles/wires/transformers, downed trees and hanging limbs, fully and partially blocked streets and was updated 24/7.
“Frank was the one doing the work with the Google doc on behalf of the Highway Department at the police department taking in information from the field and keeping me apprised during the storm,” said Ballard. “During the first and second week of the storm, he worked over 95 hours. He made himself available when he was needed, which I knew he would when I hired him.”
This document, as a management tool, enabled the best use of labor, equipment and materials for the opening of roads on a priority basis, he added.
"With regards to the storm response, I will be submitting a portion of his salary to FEMA, I’m highly confident that it will be paid for. With my experience along these lines, I know there are always opportunities to cover expenses and save taxpayers’ dollars. I believe that I make major decisions every day involving million dollar decisions. For example, the $3.8 M that I submitted to FEMA for the Town of Clarkstown, I'm not expecting to receive all that money because it is an estimate and they'll negotiate me down. However, in the past we have received a significant portion of what I requested.”
"I've been a highway superintendent for 15 years and I believe I deliver really good service. I streamlined my department. I ask that next time I have to run for re-election that you not consider just one thing that you may disagree with that I did, but all the things I’ve done in the 15 years I have been in office. I hope that for that next election, I can come in here and show you more of the true value that Mr. Sparaco has brought to the Highway Department."
With the county in financial stress, at one point, the county had stated that due to their being a budget constraint, they're looking to give towns more roads to take care of.
“To be able to have a person like Frank Sparaco that can walk in there, who knows the people and knows the issues, it's far better than (someone who is not familiar with all the different levels of government),” said Ballard. “I need someone that can take a situation and understand it, not just take it one or two steps, but take it to completion."
“I’m sorry if any voter disagrees with any decisions I have made,” he added. “I will always work as hard as I can to gain back the confidence of the constituents of the Town of Clarkstown.”