Town OKs 1st exception to anti-nepotism rules

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North Hempstead Town Hall will be the subject of elevator repairs. (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

The North Hempstead Town Board approved an exception to the town’s new anti-nepotism laws for the first time Tuesday.

The board voted to allow Janice Collins, a part-time activities specialist for the handicapped, to supervise her daughter as the weekday director of a summer program for people with developmental disabilities.

Meagan Collins, Janice’s daughter, is a part-time recreation aide in the summer Children and Adults Recreational Experiences, or CARE, program. Janice Collins will supervise Meagan for only 38 days before the daughter’s summer work ends Aug. 11, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said in an email.

The Town Board passed a law in February that prohibits town employees from supervising their relatives for more than 30 days without written permission from the board, unless a collective bargaining agreement or other arrangement with a labor union says otherwise.

“The regulation allows the Town Board to authorize a supervisory arrangement if it’s needed,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

The anti-nepotism law also requires town employees to disclose familial relationships with other employees and precludes officials from being involved in the decision to appoint, hire, fire or discipline a relative.

The measures were among ethics reforms passed in response to the arrests of Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic Committee leader and an attorney for the town zoning board, and Helen McCann, the sister of the former highway superintendent who was accused of embezzling money from the Solid Waste Management Authority, for which she worked.

Janice Collins, a special education teacher who has worked with the town since 2010, was the only applicant for her role after officials solicited applications from current town employees, Trottere said.

The CARE program’s director oversees its activities in person on Saturdays, but the town needed a staffer on site Tuesday through Friday, Bosworth said.

The arrangement is “not optimum, but we want to make sure that the program is running well,” Bosworth said.

Janice Collins is paid $23 per hour after getting a 50-cent-per-hour raise as of July 1. Meagan Collins is paid $10 per hour.

 

In addition to having Collins as its director, the town is seeking a service provider “to oversee the entire CARE program, expand it, provide more activities and opportunities for residents with developmental disabilities and their families,” Trottere said.

The Town Board approved a $17,500 pact Tuesday with Bay Shore-based Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities to provide services supporting the program.

“The overall goal is to expand the program and provide better services for the community,” Bosworth said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

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