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Watchdog points out mistake in town contract over sick time

Chalk one up for Sal Mastropaolo of Calverton, who attends most Riverhead Town Board meetings and often points out mistakes in resolutions before board members get the chance to approve them.

At the Feb. 6 Town Board meeting, Mr. Mastropaolo, a retired IBM employee, pointed out some contradictions in a resolution authorizing the hiring of Bryan Carroll to fill a new position in the supervisor’s office called “town budget officer.”

One line in the section outlining terms and conditions of Mr. Carroll’s employment said: “Personal leave may not be accumulated and must be used within the calendar year earned, except that unused personal days at the end of each year shall be converted to sick time and may be used as sick time, subject to all the rules pertaining to sick time.”

Mr. Carroll was entitled to five personal days per year.

On the next page, it read: “Carroll, or his/her legal representative, upon retirement or severance, is entitled to cash payment for accumulated sick leave.”

Mr. Mastropaolo pointed out that the language contradicts itself, since the employee can simply cash in unused personal leave time, and convert it to sick time, which can be cashed in at retirement.

Town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz and town finance administrator Bill Rothaar agreed with Mr. Mastropaolo and the board changed the language to eliminate the line allowing personal time to be converted to sick time.

“You get five days of personal time, and you use it or you lose it,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.

But Mr. Mastropaolo pointed out that this same language is in every employment contract.

“You have to go back and look at everybody else and strike it in everybody’s contract,” he said.

Contracts for two other new hires in Ms. Jens-Smith’s office — secretary Patrick Derenze and executive assistant John Marafino — were approved by the board Jan. 3 including the same language that was removed from Mr. Carroll’s contract.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said there are a lot of flaws in department head contracts and that she would support changes in contracts going forward.

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