The Orangetown Town Board voted unanimously to create a new job title within the Department of Environmental Management and Engineering.
The postion of Assistant Operator Grade 2 for Wastewater With Grade 3 Certification will be available for current employees who attain that certification level, though new title is pending CSEA approval.
Orangetown DEME Director Joe Moran requested the new title be created to accommodate workers within the department who had been pursuing their Grade 3 certifications before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reclassified Orangetown's Wastewater Treatment Plant from Grade 4 to Grade 3. That change meant that assistant plant operators would need only a Grade 2 certification, not Grade 3, so Rockland County will no longer approve anybody for the higher-salaried position.
In short, employees were working on attaining the certification for a position that no longer exists. The new title allows them to attain the salary that would have come with the Grade 3 certification, a difference of approximately $3,000 per year. At this time, there are no town employees qualified to move into the new title.
Moran argued that the improved level of training is beneficial to the town and it gives the department more people with better training. Councilman Denis Troy said the town discovered the need for improved training when it did not have enough certified Grade 3 wastewater operators.
Councilman Paul Valentine questioned paying for a position the town did not need at the moment, but eventually voted for it.
"We were paying overtime because we had to have a Grade 3 wastewater operator," Troy said. "To me, I think it is in the interest of the town to do what Joe is asking for here."
Moran also pointed out that the town would need employees with the Grade 3 operations if the state ever reclassifies the treatment plant as Grade 4, which he said was a realistic possibility.
"The score for the plant is 72.75. The cutoff is 75," Moran said. "If they require one more element, we're Grade 4 again. I think it's a matter of time."
Among other items at Tuesday's meeting:
- Approved the 2013 meeting schedule and more funding to the highway department for clean-up related to Hurricane Sandy.
- Set a public hearing to amend the town code relatign to hawking and peddling for Jan 8 at 8 p.m.
- Met in executive session to discuss Orangetown Police managment contracts. Though the town entered into a new contract with the PBA earlier this year, the police chief and the department's two captains have separate contracts with the town.
- Supervisor Andy Stewart reported that he had a draft ready to show the board of the RFP for Broadacres Golf Course. The town is looking into the possibility of finding a private investor to run the course.
- Stewart is also working on a memorandum of understanding between the town and state officials to work together regarding the future of the Rockland Psych property.
- Stewart announced that this year's Youth Court graduation will be part of the Orangetown Police Commission set for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at town hall, before the board's workshop meeting.
The Orangetown Board customarily ends meetings by adjourning in the name of residents who have recently passed away.
During Tuesday's meeting, that included former Orangetown Supervisor Joseph V. Colello, who died in November. Colello was supervisor from 1976 to 1989.
"I always liked him as a supervisor," Troy said during the workshop meeting Nov. 27. "You look where this town is today and where other towns are in Rockland County and it say something about his stewardship."
Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty began his career with his department the same day Colello took office.
"He was a really good supervisor," Nulty said. "He was a good guy."
"The people in the town liked him," Orangetown Highway Superintendent Jim Dean said. "He was there a long time. He was a pretty straightforward guy."
In addition to the people on the agenda, Stewart spoke about the recent passing of Nyack High School student Jessie Yanko.
"The Nyack community was devastated by the passing of 17-year-old Jessie Yanko," Stewart said. "My son was close friends with him. It has left a ragged hole in the emotional life of that school district."