After just two days on the job, Steven E. Mikac has stepped down as director of buildings and grounds in the Town of Hamburg.
“I have another job,” he said. “With all the squabbling and uncertainty with what was going on, the infighting, I thought to myself. What ... am I doing?”
The Town Board’s appointment of Mikac in a 2-1 vote Monday caused a ruckus, when Supervisor Steven Walters said he did not think Mikac was qualified for the $23,500-a-year part-time position and Highway Superintendent Tom Best objected to a part-timer running a town department.
The town highway superintendent had been the head of buildings and grounds for many years, receiving a $2,500 stipend for it.
“Aside from politics, can you give me any justification for removing me from a $2,500 position, full-time, and giving it to somebody part-time for $23,500?” Best said Monday.
The appointment was a reflection of a shift of power on the Town Board this year, when two Democrats, Cheryl Potter-Juda and Michael P. Quinn Jr., came on board. They had planned to appoint Mikac as assistant superintendent of buildings and grounds at the reorganization meeting in January but tabled the proposal after objections were raised. They followed through on the appointment Monday, although the supervisor wanted to table the measure.
The reasoning for the appointment was found in the resolution, which said the board has a duty to “regain control and oversight of the buildings and grounds department,” and they saw the appointment as an opportunity to fulfill the board’s objective at no increased cost to taxpayers.
Walters objected to Mikac’s appointment, saying he did not think he met the job’s minimum qualifications required by Civil Service. He said he would not sign the form that was required by Erie County.
Mikac was to receive $23,500 for the director’s post, which was to be part-time with a minimum of 40 hours every two weeks. That is the annual salary that has been listed in the town’s official wage and salary schedule the past three years for William Dash, who had been the assistant superintendent of buildings and grounds.
But Dash said he never got that much money because he worked part-time and received half of that amount. He was laid off late last year to save money, he and Best said. Best said he created the position of assistant superintendent because he needed somebody who was not in the union to check on various venues and safety measures.
Mikac worked Tuesday and Wednesday, and handed in his resignation Thursday.
“There’s good people who work there,” Mikac said. “I got nothing but cooperation from buildings and grounds employees.”
Mikac, who retired as assistant police chief in 2012, said he has been friends with Best for years, and he didn’t want his job to affect their friendship. Best was a Hamburg police captain for many years and served on the Town Board before becoming highway superintendent.
Best said he had been told by Town Board members Thursday that he will return to heading up the buildings and grounds department.