colin schmitt

Qualifications of Clarkstown Supervisor Hoehmann’s New Pick For Director Of Finance Questioned

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Colin Schmitt Never Served As Director Of Finance in Town of Windsor; Clarkstown’s New Hire Is Also Running For Town Supervisor In Town Of Windsor’s 2023 Election, Sources Say

By Tina Traster

When Supervisor George Hoehmann during Town of Clarkstown’s last town board meeting said Colin Schmitt had been hired as Director of Finance/Chief of staff, members of the board looked surprised.

“Schmitt lacks experience in business, accounting and finance,” Carroll said. “This type of job shouldn’t be a patronage job.”

Hoehmann had sent a memo dated March 10 to the four councilmembers but delivered it only hours before the March 14 meeting. The memo said Colin Schmitt was starting as the new Director of Finance effective March 13. The memo’s subject was “Director of Finance.”

At the meeting, Hoehmann also said Schmitt will serve as Chief of Staff.

Councilman Patrick Carroll, flummoxed by the announcement, asked Hoehmann about Schmitt’s qualifications. Hoehmann said he had many years of business and finance experience.

In Hoehmann’s memo, he wrote “he served for a number of years at the Director of Finance/Chief of Staff in the Town of New Windsor in Orange County.” Hoehmann’s memo also says Schmitt is a veteran and has a background in real estate.

But Schmitt never served as Director of Finance in the Town of New Windsor and was only employed there for less than one year.

“No, no, no, no,” said George Meyers, Town of New Windsor Supervisor. “He never had anything to do with finance here. He was a no-show chief of staff. All he ever did was campaign for the Assembly while he was here. The Supervisor at the time created this job. But Schmitt didn’t accomplish anything here.”

For 11 months, from Dec. 6, 2017 through Nov. 7, 2018, Schmitt served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the late Town Supervisor George Green for an annual salary of $61,800. Schmitt, a Republican, went on to serve in the New York State Assembly in the 99th District for the next four years. In 2022, he lost his bid in an Assembly run for New York’s 18th Congressional District against Patrick Ryan, a Democrat.

“Supervisor Hoehmann made representations that Schmitt was qualified and experienced for a financial job,” said Carroll. “Once again Hoehmann has misled the town board and residents of Clarkstown. Schmitt is not qualified. This type of job shouldn’t be a patronage job. The hardworking taxpayers deserve better for a steward of their money.”

Clarkstown’s annual budget exceeds $160 million,

When Meyers took office in 2020, the first thing he did was eliminate the role of Chief of Staff, citing it had no purpose in the town of 30,000 residents with a $45 million annual budget.

Town Supervisor of the Town of New Windsor Says Schmitt Is Running For Town Supervisor’s Seat

Meyers said it is common knowledge in the Town of New Windsor that Schmitt is running for Town Supervisor in the 2023 election. Meyers is not running again.

“He’s not yet made an announcement, but he and his wife are collecting signatures,” said Meyers.

Schmitt also works as a commercial real estate broker with his wife Nikki Pagano-Schmitt at the Pagano Company, a 60-year-old real estate concern based in New Jersey.

It is unclear how Schmitt would hold down the job of Town Supervisor for the Town of New Windsor, if elected, and the Director of Finance for Clarkstown. There is also uncertainty around the longevity of this position now that Hoehmann’s term as Supervisor will end on Dec. 31, 2023. Hoehmann last week lost his efforts to repeal term limits in a lawsuit in Rockland County Supreme Court.

When Carroll asked why the board didn’t vote on this appointment, Hoehmann said the position is appointed at the pleasure of the Supervisor.

Robert Alberty, the retired Chief of Staff/Financial Director had been earning $112,500. The director of finance in the 2023 budget earns $115,000.

Clarkstown does not have a job description for Director of Finance but Rockland County’s website has a description of what experience a candidate for that position should hold. Among the skills included are preparing preliminary town and capital budgets, preparation of financial reports, bookkeeping and accounting functions, planning and reviewing administrative and financial policies, preparing payrolls, payroll tax reports and maintaining the town’s personnel records.

“Schmitt lacks experience in business, accounting and finance,” Carroll said. “This type of job shouldn’t be a patronage job.”

Schmitt in 2012 earned a bachelor’s degree from The Catholic University of America. Prior to taking the job as Chief of Staff in the Town of New Windsor, he worked in real estate. During his time in the Assembly, he sat on the Housing, Insurance, Local Labor, and Local Government committees.

RCBJ reached out to Schmitt by phone and text, but he did not respond to a request for a comment.

Photo Credit: Spectrum News