Greenport Village utilities director given six months to improve

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | From left, Greenport Village Board Trustee Dave Murray, Mayor David Nyce and Deputy Mayor George Hubbard Thursday night during the annual organizational meeting at the Little Red Schoolhouse.

Greenport Village utilities director Jack Naylor was reappointed to a 180-day term Thursday night — the shortest term of his tenure — after the board expressed concern over his performance this past year.

During the Village Board’s annual reorganization meeting at the Little Red Schoolhouse, Trustee Mary Bess Phillips proposed cutting Mr. Naylor’s term from one full year to 180 days because she has been dissatisfied with his oversight of the wastewater treatment and light plants. She declined to provide specific details on his performance.

After his 180-day term, Mr. Naylor, who was first appointed to the position in 2007, will be evaluated by the Village Board. It will then be decided if he will remain as village utilities director, officials said.

“There has been many a time … that I had to double-check, to ask questions, to make sure project deadline dates are kept up with,” Ms. Phillips said before the vote. “At this point, I cannot in clear conscience go for a whole year with a reappointment that we have no data, no sight of improvement without any report from the mayor.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor David Nyce said he was excited about the progress made at both the wastewater treatment plant and light plant this past year.

Mr. Nyce said he expects the wastewater treatment plant to be completed next month and he plans to expand the sewer district. That will increase revenue, as well as help the environment by getting more homes off septic systems, he said.

Over at the light plant, Mr. Nyce said he believes the $5.5 million capital project will be completed in June.

Although Mr. Nyce seemed pleased with the utilities director’s progress, he acknowledged during the meeting that he and deputy mayor George Hubbard have held meetings to discuss Mr. Naylor’s performance.

Within 30 to 60 days, Mr. Nyce said, he and Mr. Hubbard will present a report based on those discussions to the Village Board during an executive session.

Village officials declined to specify details of Mr. Naylor’s performance because the issue is a personnel matter.

“I feel very strongly that there needs to be enough time given to show substantial improvement after our discussion,” Mr. Nyce said.

The board later voted 3-1 to reappoint Mr. Naylor to a 180-day term. Mr. Nyce cast the lone dissenting vote. Trustee Chris Kempner was absent.

After the meeting, Mr. Naylor said although he understands the board’s concern, he believes he has been successful in completing multi-million dollar projects with fewer resources.

“What I would hope would happen is that we would be judged as much on what we did accomplish as what we didn’t,” Mr. Naylor said in an email. “It’s a substantial workload compounded by the fact that we have less staff than we did years ago. Even when one puts in as many as 60 or 70 hours in a week, there will be times when you are only able to put out the major fires and have to set aside the minor ones for a time.”

The village’s other appointees were all granted new one-year terms Thursday.

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