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The Highway Department's Doo Wop Dance

Highway Superintendent Ballard and his assistant, Nancy Willen, explain the hiring of County Legislator, Sparaco, to a $75,000 part-time job.


Country and Western music has song titles which remind me of several core themes to be decried in life such as 'my dog has died', 'my wife has left', 'my truck won't start', and 'the fish won't bite'. Somewhere in these songs afflictions are usually ameliorated when the suffering imbibe an alcoholic beverage.

So too with political patronage appointments, though here the preferred music is mostly Doo Wop with a smattering of Country and Western Blues. The themes extolled are usually more upbeat with titles such as 'He's So Fine''You Light Up My Life', and most importantly, given the need for avoidance of the Open Meetings Law in such matters,'Behind Closed Doors'.

Thinking about the farce into which the Highway Department has recently descended Elton John came to mind with Blue Eyes ......

County Legislator, Frank Sparaco, is usually to be found staring bemusedly into space in the front row of the Legislature while that body sinks Rockland County in an ocean of debt accumulated by fiscal mismanagement.  He is leader of the minority Republican Party in the legislature and a major player in the Independence Party, which I have referred to as a 'cuckoo party' in previous articles because it runs no candidates of its own. The Independence 'Party' in Clarkstown endorses whatever major party candidate might be willing to provide some benefit in return such as a good paying patronage position.

Cuckoo ..... 

Not much is known by the electorate about the 'cuckoo' parties and the real power brokers who control them from the background. According to Westchester Magazine

You wouldn’t think a third party would have much success winning elections. But New York is one of a handful of states that allows cross-endorsement. The Democrats and Republicans have the first two rows on the ballot. In local elections, the Conservative Party, (another 'cuckoo' party), usually endorses the Republican candidate, and the Working Families usually endorses the Democrat. The Independence Party is the wild ('cuckoo') card. The power of the chair of the party is largely a function of the cross-endorsement system. If the Working Families and Conservative parties remain reliably partisan, and if Democratic registration keeps rising, any fickle third party with votes to deliver can expect ring-kissing and a slew of campaign donations.

Mother-in-Law .....

And so it is with the Independence Party in Rockland County which has a particularly sorry history of leadership. Marsha Coopersmith was an employee of the Town of Clarkstown until December 2011 earning approximately $127,000 plus benefits while Chair of the Independence Party and allegedly providing Supervisor Gromack that line. She was ousted from the Chairmanship by Debra Ortutay, Sparaco's mother-in-law, and Ortutay then allegedly supplied the line to Gromack and the rest of the Town Council.

The Journal News, which has repeatedly endorsed Supervisor Gromack for re-election, apparently could not stomach this latest patronage outrage and in a scathing editorial on August 22, 2012 entitled "Clarkstown puts political clout before all else in hiring of Frank Sparaco" wrote: 

Rockland County Legislature Minority Leader Frank Sparaco has been appointed “Constituent Representative” for the Clarkstown Highway Department — keeping alive the town’s penchant for hiring political operatives, even amid cost-cutting and consolidation. As a Republican legislator, Sparaco has fought pay raises for county employees; and tried to eliminate the county’s Youth Employment program. Now he earns $75,000 for a 25-hour-a-week town post. That’s $57.69 per hour. He gets no benefits, though — he gets those, courtesy of the taxpayer, through his part-time county post.

It's All In The Game ..... 

Besides his GOP leadership role, Sparaco also had been a key player in the county’s Independence Party. Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard, like Sparaco, is a Republican. But in Clarkstown, that’s of little matter. The Democratic supervisor, Alex Gromack, has various party leaders in his employ, and election after election, he and Ballard have been cross-endorsed and rarely challenged.

Sparaco has owned a tanning salon and vending machine business. As a county legislator, he has his own constituent representative: Daniel Friedman, a Democratic Ramapo Town Board member, also works for five other legislators — and receives a salary of $34,400 for the 25-hour-a-week position. Patronage is an institution in Clarkstown.

The town’s clerk of the works, Ed Lettre, is executive director of the Rockland Conservative Party, a position that pays $169,000 a year. Mary Loeffler, chair of the Rockland Conservative Party, retired as Clarkstown’s personnel director, earning $134,200. She worked part time for the town, for $50 an hour, for about six months after her retirement. Then there’s former deputy town attorney Marsha Coopersmith, who earned $126,590, plus benefits. She controlled the Independence Party until 2010. Then, a Sparaco-led effort wrested control of the local party and landed Sparaco’s mother-in-law, Debra Ortutay, in the chairmanship.

Jailhouse Rock ...

However, Independence Party leadership is now up in the air. Ortutay was sentenced in February to four months in jail after pleading guilty to forgery and perjury charges. The improprieties involved the signing of petitions for the party’s ballot line during the Assembly race between her son-in-law and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, a Democrat. (Sparaco, by the way, accused Zebrowski, whose late father had held the Assembly seat, of being a do-little insider politician.) Ortutay’s attorney was Jay Savino, chairman of the Bronx Republican Party. Savino was hired by Clarkstown in January for $87,000 a year to handle its tax certiorari filings. The extra help was needed, town officials said, after Coopersmith’s position was eliminated.

The position which was proposed by Republican George Hoehmann and seconded by Republican Frank Borelli, has raised numerous questions by the Clarkstown Taxpayers about how Savino was vetted for the tax cert position and what criteria were used to reject other firms.  Sparaco said he was eager to help town residents with road, drainage and other problems. Some of the 260 people who applied for the town Highway Department post were likely eager, too, to fulfill the position that pays a salary “commensurate with experience,” according to a Careerbuilder ad. But they didn’t have the right connections.

People Who Need People ...... 

Under a by-line written by Hema Easley in the Journal News on August 22, 2012 Sparaco said: “I’m very excited about my new job, my favorite part of the job is helping people.” The position of constituent representative was created by a unanimous Town Board vote June 19, even as the town has sought to reduce payroll by attrition and by consolidating positions. Ballard, who requested the position be created, told the Town Board at the time that the job would help fill a void created by the elimination of various people, including a dispatcher, a deputy, a litter-control agent and the consolidated lighting department coordinator. Ballard said that the new position would have no financial impact on taxpayers. “There will be no net increase in the budget. I have the money available,” Ballard said, from cuts he had made earlier.

I'm a loser ......

Ballard and Sparaco acknowledged the appointment was political in nature and that other elected officials get the opportunity to appoint people of their choosing to certain jobs. “If I lose an election, he loses his job. A lot of people didn’t like that.” Ballard said he selected Sparaco from 260 candidates. After a series of interviews, he said, he found Sparaco most qualified because of his familiarity with Clarkstown, ability to read blueprints and specifications, public-speaking skills and knowledge of the issues facing Clarkstown. Many of the candidates dropped out, he said, when they found out it was a part-time position without benefits. Sparaco said there was nothing underhanded about his appointment. “There was absolutely no quid pro quo,” Sparaco said. “What is it that I have that Wayne wants?”


A Musical in Three Acts

Act 1 - All You Need is Love ...... 

On October 02, 2012 an enraged citizenry attend the Clarkstown Town Board meeting and one West Nyack Resident addressing Supervisor Gromack stated:

Reduce the salaries of all of these folk that are making a hundred, a hundred and fifty thousand a year ...... (Alex) you're brilliant! You have the democrats tied up ..... you have got the Republicans tied up .... you have got the Independents tied up ...... you give them all these patronage jobs (Savino - Republican, Lettre - Conservative, Sparaco - Independence) ..... it's absolutely HORRIFIC what you are doing. Take the Highway Department you now have a mouthpiece for Wayne (Ballard) for $75,000 bucks a year (25 hours per week part-time). On top of Wayne's $150,000 salary .... on top of Nancy the quote "secretary" who makes $100,000 .... before the garage door opens it's $325,000 bucks. All you need is one monitor to make sure that the guys who make $80,000 driving the trucks aren't working two hours a day. Wayne and I know that!


Take This Job and Shove It ....

Guy Gervasi, President Clarkstown Taxpayers, addressing Superintendent of Highways Wayne Ballard, then said:

Are you telling me and the other residents of Clarkstown that out of the 260 resumes that you received, it just happened that Legislator Sparaco, who controls, behind the scenes, the local Independence Party and who is a close associate of Vinny Reda - the head of the local Republicans, just happened to rise to the top of the pile? Please don’t say that a lot of individuals dropped out when they heard it was part time job because 99% would have stuck around if you also told them it was a $75,000/year part-time job. If you weren’t trying to make this a patronage job, don’t you think that in these hard economic times that you could have found someone qualified to answer phones and handle residents’ inquiries for under $20/hr? You said that this $75,000/yr position doesn’t cost the taxpayer any extra money because there is money left over in the budget. Well, I have a little secret for you, the extra money in the budget belongs to the taxpayers not you to use on this foolish patronage appointment.


Tom Nimick, a New City Resident, followed with:

Last meeting I asked whether the Board would consider rescinding its decision to establish the part-time position in the Highway Department that has been handled differently than was represented to the Board when the position was proposed. The Board has now had enough time to think about it, as promised by Mr. Gromack. Furthermore Ms. Mele confirmed to me privately that rescinding the position would be a legally acceptable action. Since you have not taken the initiative to bring this before the Board I would like to point out to you that you have the power as the Board convened in an open meeting to entertain that motion now, and if seconded, to discuss it, table it if you feel you have insufficient information, or vote on it. If you chose to take no action at this time, I should inform you that 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.


Councilman Borelli replied to Nimick as follows:

Mr Nimick made a comment earlier regarding the Sparaco appointment/position saying that non-action is approval of the action. I would disagree with that and my comment to you, Mr. Nimick, I know we have discussed this, is that Mr. Ballard as the 'appointing authority' has the right to fill positions and he has control over his budget. You recall last Fall the electorate in Clarkstown - the taxpayers had the opportunity to decide whether they wanted his (Ballard's) position to be continued to be elected or to be appointed by the Town Board. Overwhelmingly, the public said 'No', we want that person accountable to us ... we want it to be elected. You know, I don't want to take a position ... you decide what you want to do ..... if you don't think it was the right decision you do what you do next year ... that's what the public asked for. For us to now change that or go back on every decision, now I have to decide that I don't like what Wayne did this week or last week and Wayne and I as you have seen don't always agree. I think Wayne does a good job as Superintendent of Highways but sometimes we disagree on issues but it is not up to me to micro-manage his department and vote things up and down each week. That's the reason why at this point that I am not moving the resolution to rescind the position.


Act 2 - It Had To Be You ..... 

The Nanuet Civic Association (NCA) held two meetings since the Sparaco appointment and invited Ballard to attend both to explain his decision. He declined the first invitation but sent his assistant, Nancy Willen, along to attempt the impossible at the second meeting held on October 04, 2012. The NCA's president was none too pleased with either Ballard's absence - he was attending a school event with his son - or with Willen's attempted explications. Here is a transcript of the discussion ....

Moderator: So what we are going to do is to have Alex (Supervisor Gromack) come up and answer some questions. By the way, we asked about the recent appointment in the Highway Department and Alex had NOTHING to do with that. The Highway Superintendent was requested to appear and declined our invitation. So forget it now we will go on to Alex ....

Willen: I'm here

Moderator: You're here but not your boss!

Willen: No ... but I'm here to represent him ...

Gromack: I did speak to Wayne Ballard and he has an event with his son but he did say that he will come in the next few weeks .....

Blowin' In The Wind .....

Later in the evening Willen was provided an opportunity to speak. After some Highway related questions were asked and answered the following exchange occurred between Willen and members of the audience.

Member 1: I have a question about the part-time worker for Highway - and nobody seems to want to explain exactly what the job entails and why did the Town Board approve it and seeing as taxes are going up and people are being laid off .....

Willen: Right

Member 1: Maybe you can explain .....

Willen: Actually that is why at the beginning when Bill (the NCA President) had said something about it and I said: "I can represent the Highway Department". Wayne Ballard is the Superintendent of Highways and I'm his assistant. We brought to the Town's attention the need for somebody to help us. It's Wayne and I and that's it for the most part to take care of the storms, the work that has to be done .....

Member 1: Are you talking about paper work?

Willen: Pardon me?

Member 1: Paper work, you mean?

Willen: Not only that but Constituent Services. I know for myself and I know for the people who know me that I have been representing the Highway Department here at the Civic Association so I think they understand over the years the amount of work and time that I put in responding to your requests to get back to you on everything. When you have a situation like we had last year which was pinnacle with a storm .. I've been here since before Hurricane Floyd where we worked until all hours of the night .. monitoring the phone calls .. getting back to people .. letting them know where things are and what is the status of roads that have been washed out. All this stuff is on my shoulders and Mr. Ballard's shoulders. For example, tonight I sat here and I responded to emails. On the way up I stopped off on Klein Avenue to see how the drainage was .. I wanted to see how it was on 59 ... it's not even our road ...but that was one of the major problems ... 59 was always under water. I monitored the phone calls on the way up ... I'm surprised I didn't get a ticket ... to see if anybody had called the Highway Department to complain about flooding. Mr. Ballard, before getting over to the school with his son was over on Virginia Street ....

A highway department just doesn't start at 8 o'clock and end at 4 o'clock. It can be 7 days a week depending on what the weather is. I mean we are going to be finishing up the hurricane season around October 15. What I am trying to say is that there is never a lull in the Highway Department. There is always activities between snowstorms when we had 72 inches of snow last year and then when we had two floods, a hurricane and an earthquake ... thank God the earthquake didn't have any bearing on it .....

Moderator interrupting: Nancy, nobody questions the wonderful job that you do with the Highway Department but when you hire a guy whose only qualifications are running a tanning salon and a broken vending business .... Ok ... plus who is politically connected .... OK?

Willen: Let ME say something ... I am politically connected .... I ... I...

Moderator: Everybody is politically connected! You shouldn't be answering these questions Wayne should be here! (loud applause).

Audience: That's right, that's right ...

I'm a Believer .....

Willen: I do want to say one thing to finish it up. There are articles in the newspaper about Mr. Sparaco and what he did and didn't do. One of the things that he DID do, and it was never picked up by the newspaper, is he was doing the same job I was prior to coming to the Highway Department. I have to say that he has been there for about a month...

Member 2: A hundred hours ...

Willen: Pardon me?

Member 2: A hundred hours! ......

Jumpin' Jack Flash .....

Willen: Yea, yea, he has been there about a month. This guy comes to me and he says to me "Nancy, what do I need to do? What can you give me today?" I give him projects and he has got it turned around and done within no time flat. And I've explained this to people, this kid is wearing me out. I'm 62 years old - he's 36. He got a ton of work done in a short period of time and then the other day I'm in my office and I hear him in the back making phone calls to people that he had spoken to two weeks ago to ask them ... to check to find out if the job was done. .... he called them to find out if they were happy and followed up with it ... and ... in one case it wasn't done correctly and he has followed through with that .... photographs and that type of thing. This guy, yes, he does have a political background .. there is no two ways about it ...

Moderator: Nancy, as I said I thank you. Thank you for defending your boss.

Willen: No ... I'm just saying ...

Moderator: HE should be HERE to answer these questions .. NOT YOU ....

Willen: Alright, if you don't want to ...

Moderator: Hopefully he will come next time

Willen: You're cutting me off .

Moderator: No, Jim Flynn is going to give us the tax situation ... OK? So ...

Willen: Alright, you know what ... my name is Nancy Willen. I work at the Clarkstown Highway Department. I invite anybody to give me a call and we can talk about this. And Mr Ballard will be here ... he is with his son this evening.

Moderator: Thank you, Nancy. Listen I hate to cut somebody off particularly about an issue I have very strong feelings about ...


Act 3 - Suspicious Minds .....

Several days later Supervisor Gromack attended the Bardonia Civic Association (BCA) meeting on October 08, 2012 and was asked to explain the Sparaco appointment by Bardonia Resident, Melanie Powell. The following is a transcript of the questions and answers that followed.

Powell: You merged the Receiver of Taxes with the Town Clerk ......the Receiver of Taxes is making what in salary?

Gromack: One Twenty-Five

Powell: Ok, and the Town Clerk is making?

Gromack: I think Seventy - he was making like One Thirty but ....

Powell: Right, it's been reduced which is great - I mean that's a great thing ... but I just want to know a little bit ... the part time assistant that was hired at $75,000 per year - that's a new position coming out ...

Gromack: Receiver of Taxes?

Powell: No, no the ... Mr Sparaco was able to ....

Gromack: Wayne will answer that .....

Powell: If we eliminate something in Clarkstown but then we come up with this wonderful part time position that pays $75,000 per year what did we do? ... Did we really accomplish a lot by merging positions?

Gromack: Absolutely, because again ... Mr Ballard will explain that ... he does set budget he has to decide and he makes decisions about how his department is run and the type of positions that he... I don't want to speak for him ... I think what he has said was that he eliminated several positions because at this point he needed someone to help with other duties so there wasn't any increase in the Highway Department budget but again he will explain that ........

Powell: I don't know, Mr Gromack, Seventy-five thousand dollars per year for a part time position ...

Gromack: Mr Ballard can explain that ..

Powell: Yep, I hope he does!

Moderator: We will have Wayne come up next ...

Powell: Yea, I would like an answer to that one.

Mr Ballard then came to the podium. He appeared very stressed and as the moderator later noted, extremely nervous. He began to speak about ancillary issues such as salt usage and purchases in the Clarkstown Highway Department. He then touched on some paving in the Bardonia area before getting to the 'heart of the matter'. Referring to a prepared statement he continued .....

Ballard: So getting to the heart of the matter here .... to try and expedite things ... this is about the new department position ... there are three components to this subject matter .... the need for the position, the justification for the position .... and to be quite frank with you the person that I chose. Do we need to address all three of those questions, Mr. Hull?

You're The Devil In Disguise .....

Hull: Are you asking me?

Ballard: In an effort to expedite things....

Hull: I will be happy to ask you a question if you want ... sure! I have a question for you and I will be happy to ask it.

Ballard: If I can understand exactly what the objection is I can save some time.

Powell to Ballard: Excuse me - I asked the question ......

Hull to Powell: Go ahead ....

Ballard to Powell: I have spoken to Mr. Hull a couple of times at Town Board meetings and I just...

Powell: Well I haven't (spoken to him) and I would just like you to answer the question. I would love you to answer all three ....

Mr. Ballard then returned to his prepared text and continued reading rapidly ....

Ballard: The need for this position was justified before the Town Board and they approved it by a 5 to 0 vote as long as I stay within my budget and that is exactly what I intend to do. The need for the administrative help is not only due to the increase in work orders but also the 2010 winter season, Hurricane Irene and the October 29 snowstorm, all of which significantly impacted my office. The need for this position became apparent when considering that in 2002, and I want to repeat this, in 2002 I eliminated 20 positions .... Among those positions eliminated was a deputy position, a top management position ..... a dispatcher who communicates information from the office to the field during our regular hours and during emergency events ....... As time was going on .... I realized that there were programs suffering through neglect that mean tax savings to us .... The Great American Clean-up - you may say that is just picking up litter. That is 2,500 volunteers going out there picking up litter at no cost to us as supposed to somebody who is being paid far more money to pick up that litter .... and many other programs that are in the Clarkstown Highway Department. As also mentioned we dealt with consolidated lighting where they eliminated the entire department including department heads. I encompassed all of that work without increasing my administrative staff. It was quickly realized that there was not enough time to give to these vital programs and when I saw the increase in year to date work orders. When you think of that work load and then how an event comes into our Town such as snowstorms, or hurricanes, or the October 29 snowstorm and 26,000 homes get affected at the same time and they are drawing upon the highway department's resources to get that done ......

Moderator interrupting: Mr Ballard I don't want to be rude but we need to move on. I think we have established the need. People want to hear how did you decide on that person you chose? ..... I'm just trying to answer that! .. ok.. so let's just finish with that and get to why you hired Mr. Sparaco. Is that OK? I don't want to step on anyone's toes. Because you still haven't ...

Ballard: Sure ... the $75,000 per year?

Moderator: That's part of it .....

Ballard: I did look around considering comparable salaries what the compensation should be and believe it or not the $75,000 was fair and equitable to what was happening in the Town of Clarkstown, in the County and in the State ..... I will tell you that $75,OOO per year for 25 hours per week is below the average with only one position being paid less. The Rockland Journal News appropriately published the position as being paid $57 per hour. It is true. But what it didn't do it didn't represent the other facts that I told to them. The median salary for this position is a little more than $100,000 per year for a full time position and 35 hours per week for full time value. In order to compare the two you have to come up with the comp unit value which is the number of hours worked per year and what that value is. 52 weeks per year at 25 hours per week is 1,300 hours worked per year. For the full time position it is 1568 hours per year. Taking into consideration the number of days worked per year, taking away the weekends, the vacation days, the sick days, it comes down to $64 per hour. So what's in that difference between the two, 52 compared to 64. Then if you think on top of that medical and dental brings that up another $10 per hour. I'm telling you I have come up with a justifiable value.

Nobody Does It Better .... 

As to the person who I chose, I requested the Clarkstown personnel department advertise the position. I wanted to find the most qualified person who could hit the ground running and based upon the justifications of the position as mentioned above. I was looking for a candidate that is knowledgeable in the services provided by the Clarkstown Highway Department as well as other departments in the Town, County and State. The candidate needed to have knowledge of our own Town such as streets drainage along with who is responsible for what ... how the Town, County and State governments are working ..... who the players are within those governments ..... knowledge of the issues facing our Town, our County, our State government. To have the ability to write and retype reports ... those required by FEMA ... understand read drawings .....

It was very important for the person who holds this position to understand the demands that come with this job. I'm telling you people walk into my office and I have to say to them I can't guarantee you that if I hire you you are going to be here on January 01, 2013 (sic). Why? Because I can't guarantee you that I will be there ...... they are my constituent pick ... so if I lose they don't have a job ... I explained to them the long hours when a snow storm comes rolling in on the weekends ....that you have to be here to fill that spot .. until that storm has been responded and until the time it is turned around. That could be 30 hours on a weekend long. There is no prediction as to when those snowstorms are going to be running and so it's a very big disruption to your life. I have also had to explain to people who walked into my office of how your life is going to change working for a public official and to be able to go to a store and shop without someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying 'please do me a favor, I need something' ..... it comes with the job . Also if you want to see your child play soccer on the field .. they are going to stop you and say 'by the way while I have you here' while you are trying to watch your child run and score that goal. This is what it is all about in government work.

A Day In The Life ..... 

Of all the people who came in for the job there were none who knew so much more about the job than Frank Sparaco. He is a hard working man - he has two children - he actually has one on the way - I don't know if he announced that just yet. He is a decent human being. He understands State, County and Town government and I will tell you that as your Highway Superintendent with over 14 years of experience I have made more major decisions than $75,000 for a part-time position. I have purchased machinery for millions of dollars ...... I also turned to the Town Board in 2002 and said that I'm willing to eliminate 20 positions. You know what people were saying to me? Are you going to be able to respond to a snowstorm? Are you going to be able to get the leaves picked up on time? But I did because they trusted with me with the decisions that I made to get things done. OK I'm talking to you today about a part time position for $75,000 but did you know that a year ago I eliminated a parts department guy? I had much more money ... it's all a balance .... but what it comes down to, the Town Board had the respect for me, the confidence in me in the power to run my department and whatever I chose to do as long as I get the job done.

October 29 and Hurricane Irene changed my life. I couldn't get to everybody fast enough. In fact one of the requirements of this position during those snowstorms .... is to be in the Police department hands on working right through ..... O&R, the police department and my people who are in the field ... it could be close to 70 people ... coordinating ... why because they eliminated a dispatcher ...... I need to make those investments.

Moderator interrupting: Thank you. OK, Mr Ballard, thank you... Any questions?

Hull: Mr Ballard, you asked if I had a question .... Taxes are scheduled to go up about 6% this year. Many citizens of this town are out of work. You received 260 applications for what we were led to believe was a part time job to assist you in bad weather events. You earn about $150,000 per year. Your assistant Nancy Willen earns about $100,000. Mr. Sparaco who happens to be the minority leader in the County Legislature - the same legislature that is suing the town of Clarkstown for the closing of Samuel Road, that minority leader has now been hired by you as a "Constituents Assistant". He earns $75,000 for 25 hours per week. For 3 people that's $325,000.

Now, you stated in the Journal News that if you lose your job at the next election, Sparaco will lose his job. That to me is a clear admission that this is a crony patronage job of the worst sort. Since Sparaco controls the Independence Party line and provides that Party line to members of the Town Board and since you referred to .....

(At this point I made reference to a term I heard Ballard use in a Town Workshop meeting . Mr Ballard interrupted angrily saying that my statement was misinformation and a heated exchange took place. I will simply note here that I accept Mr Ballard's correction and acknowledge that the tone of the exchange was as much my fault as that of Mr Ballard.)

The questioning then continued .....

Hull: Mr Ballard do you argue with me when I believe ... this is what I believe .... that you have used taxpayers' money to make a political appointment to ensure your re-election and members of the Town Board through political patronage?

Moderator: Ok - Mr Ballard that is the question. Do you want to respond to the question?

Ballard: Which part of it? I don't know how much time we have left?

Hull: Which part of it? Mr Sparaco controls the Independence Party line ...

Ballard shouting: You take that up with him. He is not an officer of the Party ... Did I answer your question? He is not an officer of the Party.

Hull: All I have heard you tell me is that Mr Sparaco is expecting a child. If that is your explanation of hiring him for $75,000 ... and you can't respond to patronage ..

Ballard: That's what I am trying to do, I am trying to humanise him .....

Hull: If he needs 'humanising' then he has a problem.

Ballard: No, it's people like you that are so vindictive about him. (Turning to moderator) I don't know how to answer his questions.

Moderator: I think that ... I really don't think there IS an answer to the questions ... so .... I'm sorry ....


It's All Over Now .....

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Having 'lent Willen and Ballard our ears' they have buried 'Caesar' with their praise. Neither of them appear to have figured out that three part-time assistants could have been hired to each work the same hours and for the same total cost as the "Jumpin' Jack Flash" who is "wearing Ms Willen out". It is time now for the Town Board to act by rescinding the position it mistakenly approved and thereby put an end to its own embarrassment and Mr. Ballard's misery.

As for Doo Wop, I think I will stick with Country and Western.

The explanations are simpler - the dog has died and I need a drink.


Michael N. Hull is a member of the Clarkstown Taxpayers Group the goals of which are to reduce local taxes and local government expenses and make local government and local public officials more responsible and accountable to the citizenry.

Picture courtesy of SunLakeBlogs.com

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Michael N. Hull October 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Michael Yularen: You make out Sparaco to be a 'nobody'. If you believe that then you haven't been to a 'House of Horrors' meeting! http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2012/08/09/house-of-horrors/ "Ed Lettre, executive director of the Conservative Party, called a “secret meeting” involving players from all five RC political parties. His purpose? To keep himself in power, as he was facing a powerful challenge from Nick Longo. " Every member of the Clarkstown Town Board attended (or listened in by phone) to the meeting. Ballard was there AND Sparaco. WHY? http://nanuet.patch.com/blog_posts/clarkstown-taxpayers-group-question-town-board Because the Democrats, Republicans, Independencers, and Conservatives were reportedly colluding to keep each other in power. Gromack and the TB voted 5-0 to create the position that Ballard used to give a $75000 part time job to Sparaco. Now Gromack claims he had nothing to do with it. If it walks like a duck ...... or maybe I should say - if it looks like a cuckoo ..... If your party runs no candidates of its own then I say it is a 'cuckoo' party. In 2009 every party endorsed Supervisor Gromack. Is the supervisor upholding the principles of the Democrats, Republicans, Independencers, Conservatives or Working Families? Are they all the same in Clarkstown - do they all have the same principles? The answer appears to be yes. The parties govern by the 'cuckoo' system.
Neill October 17, 2012 at 02:10 PM
George C - Yularen claims that the Independence Party leader in Clarkstown (her name is Debra Ortutay) was "supposedly" in charge. These people condemn themselves with their own statements. Ortutay went to prison for doing things while she was "supposedly" in charge. I agree with you - this isn't a party - it appears to be a group of people .. I would call it a cabal ... that pretend to be part of the democratic process but really are just parasites on one or other of the main parties. What I can't understand is why a great party like the Democratic Party would allow itself to become associated with such people. The Republicans I have given up on while it is controlled by Vinny Reda and his friend Savino who is working for Clarkstown in a patronage job and making noises that he is being paid too little. Last night at the town workshop the Conservative party leader, Lettre, who has a similar party with no candidates (apart from town board members), went on an orgy of "Mercedes" spending regarding the revitalization of Nyack and the only member of the board who said NO was Lasker. What West Nyack needs is parking and less trucks - not $15 million dollars of more debt and higher taxes. The town board has lost control of its spending and not one of them apparently has any clue how to analyze a spreadsheet or a business proposal. They sit there star-struck - fiddling while Rome burns.
INTHEKNOW October 18, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Ironically, the town boatd wanted to make Ballard's position an appointed one, in which he would have to report to them. Mike Hull, Mike Hirsch, Marge Hook, et all, rallied against it, as Wayne was their hero then. Now that he is exposed as just another politician who will do anything to keep his job, they are pulling a Claude Rains act. They are "shocked... shocked"
Michael N. Hull October 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
You got that partially right .... we kept Ballard's position reporting to us and it was not turned into a patronage position controlled by the board. Now that he is exposed 'as just another politician' we will work to get rid of him at the next election. "Shocked"? No - just thankful we have the power to vote him out and remove Sparaco at the same time. But perhaps the Town Board will wise up, rescind the position and Sparaco will be gone before then and save us the trouble.
Siobhan October 19, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Loved the links to the music videos - my favorite - Nobody Does It Better! Blue Eyes was a close second.

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