“Three people with ties to town officials have been approved to fill open government jobs ranging from $80,000 to $145,000 in annual salary.
A local Republican immediately said the moves reeked of patronage and nepotism.
“It is obvious that they did not perform a true candidate search to fill these positions, but instead hired friends, and family members as a continuation of the nepotism policy that has been prevalent in Ramapo for many years.” said William Weber, a past candidate for supervisor.
The Town Board agreed to hire:
Harry Grossman as the provisional director of automated services at $145,000 annually. Grossmanis president of the East Ramapo Board of Education and a co-board member with Councilman Yehuda Weissmandl and school board trustee Bernard Charles, the husband of Councilwoman Brendel Logan-Charles.
Baruch Adams as the intergovernmental relations coordinator at $84,000. Adams is the son-in-law of Supervisor Michael Specht’s chief of staff, Mona Montal, the town’s purchasing director and Ramapo Democratic Party chair. Adams, who lives in New Jersey, has been a town courier for the past decade at $61,521 in 2019 until his promotion.
Josef Margaretten as constituent services assistant at $80,000. He is an officer with Chaverim of Monsey, an influential volunteer emergency services organization in the ultra-Orthodox community.
The five-member board agreed to hire Grossman and Margaretten and promote Adams during a workshop on Monday night.
Supervisor Michael Specht vouched for all three, saying they were all qualified. Weissmandl, Logan-Charles, Michael Rossman, and David Wanounou agreed to the moves.
While Adams and Margaretten are appointed by Specht, Grossman will serve provisionally and will eventually have to take a civil service exam and be among the top three scorers to be considered by the town to remain on the job.
However, Weber, who ran against Specht for supervisor in 2017, said the appointments give the appearance of continuing the questionable practices of the former town supervisor.
Specht succeeded 17-year Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence who was sentenced to federal prison in 2017 for securities fraud and left town with an estimated $8 million deficit, pending financial audits dating to 2015.
Weber said he’s not aware that the town advertised for candidates to fill those positions.
Weber argued Specht and board members ran for office promising “transparency, fiscal responsibility, and running town hall differently than the St. Lawrence administrations of years past; but what has happened is that they have picked up right where he left off.”
“It is no secret that the daily operations of the Town of Ramapo is run by Michael Specht’s chief of staff Mona Montal,” Weber said. “The hiring of her son-in-law, or any family member for that matter, becomes very complicated and delicate. Because this could lead to lawsuits by other employees who contend that the family members gets special treatment or favors over them. This is why I have always been a proponent of anti-nepotism laws.”
After proposing a 2019 budget with no raises, the Town Board members gave themselves raises of $17,000 to $53,000 a year, not including medical and other benefits, for working part-time.
Logan-Charles will get paid $70,000 for part-time work, including $18,000 as deputy supervisor, a position appointed by Specht.
Read the complete coverage in The Journal News here.