Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yonkers City Councilwoman Gronowski Cites Amicone Administration’s Violations Of Civil Service Regulations

Joan Gronowski, Yonkers third District Councilmember, met with New York State Civil Service officials in Albany to request a forensic
audit of the Yonkers system. The last audit, conducted in 1994, found that the City’s Administration of Civil Service was “poor”. The
most significant violation, among the many cited at that time, was the City’s abuse of provisional hiring.
State officials confirmed that Civil
Service Law allows a maximum of nine months for any individual to be kept in provisional status and that the City is obligated to call
for a Civil Service exam within 30 days of hiring. The Law explicitly provides that any employee has not achieved permanent status in nine
months must be dismissed.

The New York State Court of Appeals recently affirmed the nine month provision. (In the Matter of City of Long Beach, Respondent, v Civil Service Employees Association, Inc.— Long Beach Unit, Appellant. Louis D. Stober, Jr., for appellant.) During her
meeting in Albany, Councilwoman Gronowski was also informed that it is a misdemeanor under New York State Civil Service Law for any City official to certify a payroll containing illegal employees.

Documents provided by the Amicone Administration in December 2007 show that in Mayor Amicone’s Office, alone, there are no fewer than ten provisional employees, some of whom have exceeded the nine month deadline, and whose combined salaries total $744,283 dollars before benefits. Included in those titles are one Mayoral Staff Assistant at a salary of $44,928, one Principal Mayoral Staff Assistant
at a salary of $85,000, one hourly Principal Mayoral Staff Assistant, five Senior Mayoral Staff Assistants ranging in salary from $51,000 to
$64,000, and two Special Assistants to the Mayor with salaries of $97,000 and $133,166 respectively. These do not include nine mayoral employees in the exempt category, whose combined salaries total $897,979.

Gronowski notes that these totals do not include provisional employees who may be employed by the Board of Education, Municipal Housing Authority and the Parking Authority.

Gronowski campaigned with a promise to “expose the political patronage system and to make municipal employment an equal playing
field for all qualified candidates,” and states that she is committed to her campaign promise, and that she will not vote to certify a budget containing illegal employees. She was encouraged by the willingness of state officials to help her identify and resolve the problem.

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