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Sanitary district problems deeper than Sandy
(Page 4 of 5)
Herald File Photo
The Oceanside Sanitary District 7 headquarters on Mott Street in Oceanside.

Weitzman’s audit also claims the district did not seek proper approvals to use funds to fill a spending gap in 2006 — money he said could have been used to lower the tax rate. Sanitary District No. 7, which provides trash collection six days a week for more than 10,000 residents and more than 900 commercial businesses in Oceanside, is funded by taxpayers.

“Taxpayers have financed a million-dollar family,” he said.

The audit highlights the district’s extraordinary pay structure, which benefits select administrators, but pays far less to the people who actually pick up the garbage, Weitzman said.

For example, in 2008, Charles Scarlata was paid $224,569 to supervise roughly 55 employees. He was able to add $51,748 to his base salary of $146,245 by receiving payment for 92 comp days, which the audit said was for working extra hours. Additional benefits -- among them a $10,000 bonus, and health and dental insurance -- boosted his total compensation package for that year to $240,769, the audit said. By comparison, sanitation workers make from $17,000 to $79,550 a year, according to records. Moreover, district administrators are entitled to up to 800 days of termination pay -- or about 3½ years of salary -- when they leave. Laborers get up to 250 days, according to the audit. Because Charles Scarlata was the only employee whose payments for comp time were included in salary reports to the New York State retirement system, his pension upon retiring will be approximately $124,000 a year, auditors said.

Despite continuing to work as a district consultant, Michael Scarlata has no contract. Officials refused to provide auditors a written summary of his work, but said he fields requests from local community groups, responds to problems at schools and helps with labor negotiations, the audit said.

Nepotism is rampant, the audit said, with at least eight employees who appear to have family ties. “Sanitary District No. 7 has become the local family business on the public payroll,” Weitzman said.

Have things changed since the 2009 audit?


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Instead of spending time re-reporting on an audit report from over four years ago, it would be much appreciated if the Herald would cover the countless number of community events that occur every week.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 | Report this

As far as the part of your story that is not a mere rehashing of the comptroller's report from 4 years ago, it would be prudent to not rely on "anonymous" sources. If would be great if you could confirm that this source does not stand to gain any economic benefit, whether personal or through a family member, from the comments on the worker's pay. If the person does stand to gain economically, I would imagine that it would be proper protocol to disclose any such personal benefit.

Friday, July 19, 2013 | Report this

How does one read this article and arrive at the conclusion that the problem lies not with a system in which these transgressions have occurred, but in those who pointed out that they occurred? The greed and self-interest of the Sanitation District's leadership has been sufficiently proven. Your accusations against a whistleblower, however, require some kind of validation or evidence in order to be taken seriously or even casually investigated.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Report this

The sanitation responded to Superstorm Sandy in a way that was practical and appropriate. There was no way for anyone to have predicted the destruction this storm would cause the after effects it would have on garbage removal. Oceanside sanitation was absolutely fantastic on my block and went above and beyond what we ever expected. I am shocked whenever I see people reporting about the terrible job they did in the aftermath of the storm. They couldn't collect a half of block's worth of garbage without the trucks filling up. Yes, it took a long time for the collections, but given the circumstances that should have been expected.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Report this

DA Rice should start an investigation into the corruption. Heads and pensions should roll starting at the top.

Another waste of tax payer money for a special district that does nothing special.

Looks like the commission gave them carte blanche to do whatever they want.

I'm sure nothing has changed in 4 years.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Report this
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