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Hastings Republicans Oppose Plan to Share Rec Leaders

The Hastings Recreation Department remained without a Superintendent while the village plans to share the post with Dobbs Ferry.
The Hastings Recreation Department remained without a Superintendent while the village plans to share the post with Dobbs Ferry. Photo Credit: Hastings Recreation Department

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- The  Hastings Republican Committee released a statement Thursday in opposition to a proposed plan by Village Board of Trustees to share a common Recreation Superintendent with neighboring Dobbs Ferry.

The Republican Committee met Monday to discuss the proposal being considered by the two villages to have a single superintendent handle both recreation departments in a cost saving measure.

"The main argument against this proposal is that it simply does not seem to save the village a significant amount of money," The Republican Committee statement said. "No one has been able to document where the savings will come from in adding a part-time superintendent to the Hastings village staff. It would seem prudent of the village to use the staff that it already has, thereby maximizing the potential of existing employees without adding to the ballooning pension and benefit costs of the village."

Hastings Mayor Peter Swiderski and the Board of Trustees presented a plan at the March 19 meeting that would have Hastings pay Dobbs Ferry $65,000 for a one-year contract, which could be renewed, to have Dobbs Ferry Recreation Superintendent Matt Arone perform equal duties for both villages.

The Hastings Recreation Department position has been vacant since Ray Gomes retired last year. Gomes was earning $110,000 a year. Recreation supervisor Kendra Garrison is currently earning a stipend of $300 a week to serve as acting superintendent adding to her salary for an approximate total of $85,000.

Hastings would pay from $120,000 to $130,000 for a superintendent, including salary, benefits and pension etc.

The Republican Committee listed several concerns about the proposed plan to merge the positions, including how it would affect those most dependent on local services like senior citizens.

"Any merger of programs, especially senior citizen programs, would be detrimental to our community and our beautiful new community center," the Committee said. "For the first time in years, the Hastings Recreation Department has created enjoyable, profitable programs, and more than justified its existence. Why make changes to something that is clearly working, and getting better with each season?"

The Republican Committee offered that the best solution would be to put the mayor's proposal up for a public referendum.

"This way, Hastings taxpayers can decide for themselves the ramifications of this crucial issue, which will impact the fiber of Hastings for years to come," the Committee's statement read.

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