Republican legislators today said County Executive Bellone has been dragging his feet on key appointments, and called on the County Executive to formalize the appointment of Personnel Officer by sending a confirmation resolution to the Legislature for approval as required by law, and stop playing politics with critical municipal functions.
GOP Caucus Leader Tom Cilmi said, “In a County with nearly 10,000 employees it is, at the very least, irresponsible to be operating without a duly confirmed Personnel Officer.”
In addition to managing the personnel records and employment matters of the County’s employees, the County Personnel Officer is responsible for employees at the towns, villages, public schools, libraries, fire districts, the Community College and other municipal entities encompassing 277 jurisdictions and some 46,000 employees.
Cilmi said Bellone illegally removed the County’s former Personnel Officer, Alan Schneider, on February 15 and appointed Jo-Anne Taormina on February 18. “According to Civil Service Law, Public Officers Law and the County Charter,” Cilmi said, “Schneider should have been a holdover until a new Personnel Officer is confirmed.”
“It’s been five months,” said Cilmi. “Do we have a Personnel Officer or do we not have a Personnel Officer?” The Legislature is required by law to vote on Taormina’s appointment, but has not yet received a resolution from Bellone.
Cilmi also criticized the County Executive for pushing through a $24,999 consulting contract with former Democrat Congressman Gary Ackerman who lives in Nassau County, but is apparently acting as an advisor to the Department of Civil Service. “Once again,” Cilmi said, “County Executive Bellone is writing checks to friends on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Legislator Leslie Kennedy said, “Civil Service was created to eliminate the corruption that was rampant throughout public employment a la Plunkett of Tammany Hall. The validity of every action by the Suffolk County Department of Civil Service is called into question due to the lack of a properly appointed Director. It is just another example of an Administration who refuses to abide by the rule of law.”
Legislator Tom Muratore said, “The leaders of Suffolk County are not above the laws set forth by our predecessors. To circumvent the legislative process for political purposes is a disservice to both our County employees and constituents. The County Executive appointed a Personnel Officer, now it’s time to draft the confirmation resolution.”
Legislator Steven J. Flotteron said, “Once again County Executive Bellone thumbs his nose in the face of State and County law, not to mention our civil service workers and taxpayers. He should abide by the law and send a nomination to the Legislature for confirmation immediately. This should not take 5 months.”