It was announced this week that County Legislator (R-Valley Cottage) and part-time Clarkstown Dept. of Highway employee Frank Sparaco will be filling the position recently vacated by Nancy Willen, Superintendent Wayne Ballard’s longtime confidential assistant. The new position carries full-time responsibilities, as Willen has often been credited as the hidden hand that keeps the Dept. running smoothly.
Sparaco’s new salary is $103K, a $25K raise. He will receive a boost to his pension benefits. Sparaco also receives over $32K per year as legislator with health benefits.
Sparaco originally took a job with the Highway Dept. in 2012, causing controversy amongst activists who felt his “patronage job” was nothing more than government bloat gifted from Ballard and other town officials to earn Sparaco’s political support. In addition to being a longtime Republican legislator and activist, Sparaco also is influential with minor party lines, having built a voting base in the Working Families and Independence Party. Elected officials consider support of such lines welcome news come election time.
It is not clear if town board members knew Sparaco was going to receive the promotion. Sparaco’s part-time job was slated for elimination in a June vote. Following the elimination of the position, Sparaco announced plans to sue the town. That potential lawsuit is now moot.
State law allows government executives to appoint the confidential secretary position to whomever they please. Willen has not confirmed the reasons for her retirement.