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Jan 6, 2010 12:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town works out departmental changes

Jan 6, 2010 12:36 PM

The Southampton Town Board last month created the Department of Municipal Works, which will be led by Paul DeMaria, resolving a two-month-long debate begun in late November.

With the creation of the new department, newly elected Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor will retain the title of Commissioner of Public Works and will oversee the Highway Department, said then-Supervisor Linda Kabot during a phone interview in late December.

The change was enacted by a vote of 4-0 during a meeting on December 28. Councilman Chris Nuzzi abstained from the vote.

The Department of Municipal Works will oversee waste management operations, such as the town’s waste facility in North Sea and four transfer stations, and will also work on various capital and building projects, Mr. Nuzzi said. Waste management formerly was its own division within the Highway Department, overseen by former Highway Superintendent Bill Masterson.

Mr. Nuzzi first proposed these changes in the late fall during the 2010 budget process. At that time, Mr. Nuzzi proposed creating a Department of Public Works, which would have had all of the same responsibilities as the newly created Department of Municipal Works. The change, which was approved by a majority of the Town Board at the time, was proposed in order to save money and streamline operations, he explained Tuesday evening.

“It was just a change in organization that made sense from a practical perspective,” Mr. Nuzzi said, explaining that the change allows the highway superintendent to primarily focus on maintaining the town’s roads.

The resolution the Town Board adopted on December 28 maintains Mr. Nuzzi’s original changes, but ensures that Mr. Gregor keeps the title of Commissioner of Public Works.

Part of Mr. Nuzzi’s original changes took the title of Commissioner of Public Works away from Mr. Gregor. Mr. Gregor decried that decision and threatened the town with a lawsuit if the change were made permanent, explained outgoing Supervisor Linda Kabot.

Mr. Gregor claimed that New York State law mandated that elected highway superintendents also hold the title of Commissioner of Public Works. Mr. Nuzzi, however, said that he never saw a legal opinion stating such a law, and said that the Southampton Town attorney told him the Town Board had the authority to created a Department of Public Works as well as name a commissioner for the department.

Neither Mr. DeMaria nor Mr. Gregor returned calls on the reorganization before deadline.

Mr. Nuzzi did not say if he was upset with the changes made to the reorganization originally approved by the Town Board.

“I was content with the original reorganization approved and adopted by the majority of the Town Board on November 20,” Mr. Nuzzi said Tuesday evening.

As the town director of facilities management, Mr. DeMaria will work 40 hours per week. He also received a raise and now earns $107,100 per year. In his previous position as environmental facilities manager for waste management, Mr. DeMaria, an engineer by trade, earned $100,776, according to public information officer Ryan Horn.

Mr. DeMaria will oversee the operation of the North Sea facility and the transfer stations, as well capital projects. He and Mr. Gregor will coordinate on stormwater management issues, as Mr. Gregor holds the title of Drainage Coordinator, according to a flow chart of Mr. Gregor’s responsibilities.


ehicle Agreements

Forty town employees will have full-time vehicle privileges reinstated in 2010, according to former Supervisor Linda Kabot.

At a meeting in early December, then Supervisor-elect Anna Throne-Holst introduced a resolution restoring around-the-clock usage, including commutation in some cases, of 40 vehicles for the same number of town employees. Ms. Throne-Holst’s resolution was voted into law at the December 28 meeting by a vote of four to one, with Ms. Kabot as the lone dissenting vote.

Ms. Kabot explained that in the 2010 budget, she removed the driving privileges for 40 town employees in her budget process, instead allowing them to use the cars only on an as-needed basis. She said that removing those driving privileges saved the town approximately $40,000 for 2010.

“When the board saw the budget, they didn’t say ‘boo’ about it, and they knew full well I had reined in the vehicles,” she said after the meeting.

The driving privileges for the transportation manager, Community Preservation Fund director and a number of public safety officials were not funded.

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What just happened??? Who is Paul DiMaria??? I did not vote for him!!!
He makes how much? 107,000.00???
Why does the elected highway superintendent have to coordinate storm water management with an appointed official? Why isn’t hired official UNDER the elected official?
Why didn't Mr. Nuzzi do this when Bill Masterson was in office?
Gregor won and they took waste management away from him, and gave it to someone who is controlled by the board...the GOP board.

Sad….this ...more
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 10, 10 1:48 AM
The vote was 4-0 with Mr Nuzzi abstaining on Dec 28. That would mean that Anna and Sally both voted for it.
And FWIW, DeMaria was running it under Mr Masterson. There is only a change in title and a small raise.
DeMaria is an engineer, makes him qualified to do this work.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jan 10, 10 9:15 AM
Yes, exactly who IS Paul DeMaria, another of "Skip" Heaney's holdovers from Brookhaven Town?

And 40 "full-time vehicle privileges" reinstated? What's the justification for that?

Is it AT-H's plan to reverse all of Linda's belt-tightening?
Jan 10, 10 9:18 AM appended by Frank Wheeler
Okay, didn't see insider Terry's comment while I was making mine. But is he one of the Heaney imports, and why does he get ANY raise?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 10, 10 9:18 AM
"controlled by the board...the GOP board."
Nothing GOP there, Anna and Sally AND Linda and Nancy voted for this. Seems bi-partisan to me.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jan 10, 10 5:40 PM
Why blame Anna? The board is controlled by Republicans.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jan 12, 10 4:28 PM
"Terry" it seems like you are "in the know".
Please tell us why this was not done under masterson's reign?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 10, 10 1:23 PM
Contrary to Franks opinion, I am not an "insider". The story is self explanatory. The first paragraph states this occurrd last month. The story goes on to say that Mr Nuzzi abstained, and that the vote was 4-0. That would mean that Sally, Anna, Linda, and Nancy voted in favor of it.
Mr. DeMaria had been running the waste management. The story further states that he is an engineer.
It all seems pretty evident, just dont read the story with a political eye.
As to why it didn't happen ...more
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jan 10, 10 5:37 PM
how many Town employees are there? Something like 400? 500?
1 in every 10 has a Town car to take home?
Come on - that's crazy.
By diogenes (57), westhampton on Jan 10, 10 2:07 PM
Lets give the change a chance before passing judgement. Since it appears to be a bipartisan vote I am confident the new Board will make any future changes if necessary. If it works ...better for the Town. I would rather see the Superintendent of Highways taking care of the roads. Good luck Mr. Gregor,there is a lot to be done.
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 11, 10 12:00 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By rabblerouser (46), Hampton Bays on Jan 11, 10 12:03 AM
Questions, questions...I did not vote for Paul DeMaria either. I hear, however, that he is a friend of Chris Nuzzi's and lives in Islip. I hear further that Anna Throne-Holst and Alex Gregor both took paycuts. Mr. DeMaria must be some engineer! One might be excused for thinking that this is the GOP's way of hanging on to a reliable cash cow (contracts, jobs for friends), for surely they must fear that Mr. Gregor, who financed his own campaign (look at the numbers) will not tow the line. Yes, ...more
By rabblerouser (46), Hampton Bays on Jan 11, 10 12:04 AM
2 members liked this comment
The recycle center needs its own management as waste is a big issue now however the pay is excessive. In fact its above Town Council pay. The paythere should be performance based and if DeMaria can turn a profit then he could get a bonus over base salary. The base should be $60,000 not $107,000!!!!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jan 12, 10 7:53 AM
The people elected someone for that post, and then those responsibilites were given to an appointed person. I liked Alex Gregor's idea of solar cells up at the Nort Sea facility.
We should never tamper with democracy.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 12, 10 9:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
In 1928 Herbert Hoover's presidential campaign slogan was "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."

Since the new supervisor is handing out 40, count em, 40 town vehicles at tax payer expense, where do I get on line for the chickens........

By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Jan 12, 10 9:40 AM
Nothing ever changes out here.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Jan 12, 10 10:05 AM
What kind of engineer is Paul DeMaria? I tried googling him and only came up with refences to this article and one in another local paper.
Anyway it once again seems to be a waste of time voting in Southampton-the political in-crowd run the town to suit themselves and give jobs to their cronies.
By consciencepoint (16), Southampton on Jan 12, 10 11:12 AM
Yes, cronyism is entirely out of control. A perfect example? The week of January 4th the Southampton Town Board announced its decision to forgo an open, transparent, appointment process in favor of appointing an individual named William Berkoski to the planning board. This announcement came one week before the January 11th application deadline! Were interviews conducted? Were all candidates considered? Apparently not.

In addition, Mr. Berkoski is someone who is suing the Village ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jan 12, 10 12:26 PM
3 members liked this comment
What happened to the public interviews of potential members of these boards? How was this person chosen?
Wow….is this how is going to be with this board?? First they take away the powers of an elected official and now they are going to give positions to friends and insiders.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 12, 10 12:59 PM
1 member liked this comment