MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Over the past few months, SCVOA has hosted a series of regional Village Focus Groups, designed specifically for village mayors. The purpose of these meetings was to enhance communications, discuss important issues---some universal, some specific to individual villages---and to encourage village officials to take advantage of SCVOA as an information resource, advocate, and united voice for improving life in each of the 33 villages of Suffolk County.
Divided into the North and South Shores, Brookhaven/Riverhead/Smithtown, and the North and South Forks, the Focus Groups brought together more than 20 mayors from villages all across Suffolk County. From the mayors of Babylon and North Haven, to Quogue and Lake Grove, this diverse group set the course for an even more productive and successful future for SCVOA.
One of the issues discussed at all three meetings was the importance of effective communication between SCVOA and the village mayors. To help achieve this goal, we're putting together a survey that will be sent out in the next few weeks to all villages. We'll be asking you to provide updated contact information, as well as to let us know which issues are top priority for your village. We look forward to utilizing these results to better serve you in the future.
On behalf of the SCVOA Executive Board, I'd like to thank all of the mayors and village officials who actively participated in the Focus Groups, and invite continued feedback and suggestions for building a strong, cohesive organization that will provide support whenever needed for all Suffolk County mayors, other village officials, and village residents.
Timothy M. Hogue
The New Hire Reporting Law:
Requirements for Your Village
Taking never-ending delight in its effort to burden local governments with additional paperwork, the State of New York has recently enacted (July, 2011) legislation requiring yet another "reporting document." The New Hire Reporting Law, which was effective July 15, 2011, requires all employers, including public employers such as villages, to notify the State Directory (run by the Tax Department of NYS) every time an employee who works in the state is hired or rehired.
In the report that the employer is required to submit to the State Directory, the employer must disclose the new hire's name, address, hire date and social security number. New York Tax Law § 171-h(3)(a). Also required to be identified in the report is the employer's name, address and federal employer identification number. Lastly, the employer is also required to report if dependent health insurance benefits are available for the new hire and, if so, the date that the new employee will be eligible for the health insurance benefits.
The required information must be reported within 20 days of the employee's hire date. New York Tax Law § 171-h(3)(c). The employee hire date is considered the first day that the employee performed services and was paid wages. An employer may submit its reports online, electronically or through mail by submitting the Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate (or its equivalent form). New York Tax Law § 171-h(3)(b).
Around the state, some Civil Service Commissions/Personnel Officers are handling this automatically for villages; however, the health insurance information is often unique from village to village, and care should be taken to make sure that someone (the County Personnel Officer or your own Village Clerk) is doing it.
Incorporated in 1985, the village of Islandia is home to over 3,300 residents and more than 600 businesses within its 2.2 square miles. Among the many places of interest in Islandia are Lakeland County Park, a fully accessible park designed for the disabled and their families, which features a nature trail boardwalk over the head-waters of the Connetquot River, and the newly dedicated Suffolk County Purple Heart Trail. These sights afford unique views of wetland vegetation, waterfowl and fish. Islandia is also the proud home to two beautiful horse farms.
Islandia promotes a strong sense of community and the various village events throughout the year attract large crowds. From the Easter Egg Hunt to the Christmas Tree Lighting, the Village Barbeque to the Community Garden Planting, tag sales and Pumpkinfest, and the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, a wide variety of village events bring Islandia residents together.
The 25th Anniversary Celebration of Islandia in 2010 was a memorable time for all who remember how far Islandia has come, from its relatively quiet beginnings to the vibrant and diverse village it is today. Computer giant Computer Associates has made Islandia its home for over 20 years.
With its signature white post and rail fences and street signs, Islandia has a charming and open atmosphere where residents look out for their neighbors and visitors are always welcome.
Peter A. Bee, Esq.
Is your village attorney a public officer/employee, or an independent contractor? And what difference does it make?
We are all aware of the recent public outcry (and the response of the New York State Comptroller) to municipal attorneys who were found on the public pension rosters, but who were maintaining full private practices independent of their school "employment." Broadly speaking, the Comptroller concluded that such practices were illegal. He demanded refunds of pensions paid and threw others off the pension-earning rosters. The Comptroller also introduced new regulations determining what kind of professional is - or isn't - an employee eligible for pension credits. Those regulations essentially presume that municipal attorneys affiliated with private law practices are not employees, and are not eligible for state pension credits.
However, that's not the end of the story. The Comptroller may be able to decide who does or doesn't get a pension (within limits), but the Comptroller does not have the authority to change NYS law on who is - or isn't - an employee for other purposes, e.g., health insurance, workers compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and perhaps most importantly, who is or isn't eligible to fulfill the "public officer" duties that may befall a village attorney.
In New York, villages are authorized to create the "public office" of village attorney. If your village code "empowers" your village attorney, i.e., vests him/her with the discretionary power to effectively make decisions of, and exercise some of the powers of village government, then your village attorney may qualify as a "public officer." This is important because if he/she is a public officer, he/she must necessarily be an "employee" of the village since NYS law is that the duties and responsibilities of a public officer may not be "contracted out" to an independent contractor. An independent contractor may advise, but only a public officer/employee can exercise the authority of the village - and if empowered to exercise the power of a village, the individual is likely an "employee/public officer."
If in doubt, check with your village attorney!
SCVOA Executive Board
Timothy M. Hogue
Mayor, Dering Harbor
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
Ralph A. Scordino
Immediate Past President
Leland M. Hairr
Mayor, Lloyd Harbor
Paul Pontieri, Jr.
Paul Rickenbach, Jr.
Mayor, East Hampton
Hon. Paul J. Tonna
Former Suffolk County Presiding Officer
Hon. Peter A. Bee, Esq.
Meet Islandia Mayor
Elected in 2005, Mayor Dormanhas kept his promise to initiate change and growth in Islandia, facilitating many improvements in this now bustling community. In addition to implementing a comprehensive road improvement program, in 2009, the mayor instituted the Islandia Senior Bus, which picks up seniors at their door for doctor visits, shopping, and running errands, and returns them home at no charge---a service much appreciated by the seniors in this caring and progressive village.
As a Vietnam Veteran, Mayor Dorman dreamed of having a memorial built in honor of the many community veterans who have given so much to our country. His dream was fulfilled in November, 2009 when the Islandia Veterans Memorial was dedicated. The showcase eternal flame can be seen both day and night and has quickly become a village landmark.
Very visible in the community, Mayor Dorman is well-known for his "Cup of Joe with the Mayor" visits on Saturday mornings. Every week, he meets residents on predetermined streets with coffee and donuts and listens to their concerns and suggestions.
Mayor Dorman retired from United Parcel Service after 28 years in management. He has lived in the Islandia community with his wife Patricia for 31 years, where they raised their three children and are now blessed with a grandson.
Did You Know...?
Islandia is home to the magnificent Connetquot River State Park Preserve, which covers an expansive 3,473 acres of protected wildlife, flora, and fauna that includes game birds, rare nesting birds, fish, deer, water fowl, and rare plants in their natural habitats. In addition, the preserve offers 50 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, nature watching, and fishing on the beautiful Connetquot River. Here, visitors can explore nature and take in the tranquility and beauty of this special place, right in the village of Islandia.
SCVOA Executive Board
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