Court ruling strikes down Clarkstown consolidation

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

NEW CITY – A decision by State Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner has effectively scrapped a 2012 resolution passed by the Clarkstown which consolidated highway services provided by three separate departments.

The resolution applied to Clarkstown Mini Trans, the Highway Department, and the police garage into one functioning unit under Fleet Manager Dennis Malone. With the subsequent decision, the three services will now function independently.

Town Supervisor Alexander Gromack stated the decision would stand for the time being. All highway employees have been instructed to work at their respective, designated departments.

“We understand the decision and we’re living with it,” Gromack said.

Gromack further explained that the town was weighing its legal options and has not made a decision on whether or not to appeal. At the same time, he expressed disappointment at what he argued was a loss of flexibility which resulted from the end of consolidated services.

The Town Board sought the consolidation as a means to reduce costs while bringing more mechanics under the town’s authority for emergency situations. Savings of $1 million were also cited by town officials as an added benefit to the consolidation.

Initially, the decision was opposed by Clarkstown Highway Department Superintendent Wayne Ballard on the grounds that detracting from a superintendent’s authority to oversee his equipment could revoke guarantees of safe and efficient responses.

Ballard initially dropped the matter after the board approved its resolution, but when other Highway Superintendents objected to the resolution, they decided to band together to block the law.