Schnirman Vouches for New Public Works Commissioner

City manager responds to accusations about hiring his colleague from Brookhaven.

In response to accusations and comments regarding the appointment of Jim LaCarrubba to commissioner of public works, the City of Long Beach made it clear that they fully support their decision on the recent hire.

City Manager Jack Schnirman explained the new commissioner was chosen for his past work and managerial skills, versus previous commissioners, including his predecessor, who were chosen for their background in engineering.

“Here in Long Beach we have a variety of outside departments whose projects need to be driven aggressively and under budget, and we need to cut our costs,” he said. “As a former labor guy and expert manager, this is the work he has done before and were looking for him to do it here in long beach.”

To back up his position, Schnirman highlighted several points in LaCarrubba’s resume that includes his background as deputy highway superintendent, parks commissioner and deputy supervisor in Brookhaven:

  • Implemented $16 million paving program, and coordinated with contractors and staff on resurfacing projects.
  • Completed over one mile of boardwalk replacement across five different communities in 2011, the largest replacement program undertaken on Fire Island by the highway department in decades. 
  • Coordinated entire town cleanup effort following Tropical Storm Irene – was in charge of town highway workforce, contractors and other town departments to clear debris from over 1,760 miles of roadway and deal with hundreds of safety issues regarding dangerous tree situations.
  • Worked with Suffolk County and FEMA representatives on additional assistance to town. Developed written storm cleanup plan and executed successfully, having 95 percent of all town roadways passable within first 24 hours of storm ending.
  • Reduced road/drainage maintenance contracting costs by over one million dollars in 2011, and have put in place measures to save another one million dollars in 2012.
  • Cut contracting by using in-house labor, saving over $750,000 in tax-payer dollars.
  • Instituted cost-cutting measures which lowered operating spending by $2.8 million.
  • Completed construction of a three million dollar senior and wellness center in Mount Sinai on time and under budget.
  • Rebuilt docks and marina facilities at Mount Sinai and Davis Park, completing these projects under budget by over $100,000.
  • Rebuilt locker room and restroom facilities at Holtsville pool with in-house labor, saving over $75,000 when compared to estimates received from outside contractors.

According to Schnirman, his request to have the Long Beach Civil Service Commission change specifications for public works commissioner, removing previous requirements for a background in public engineering, was submitted so that the city could focus on the managerial aspects of the job.

“In Long Island, most of the towns and the cities do not require the professional engineering degree for their public works commissioner,” Schirman said. “This position had been previously gerrymandered and narrowly tailored for the previous administrations specific purpose.”

Although some people have criticized Schnirman, the former chief deputy supervisor in Brookhaven, for hiring a former colleague from the township, Long Beach’s new city manager is confident that he has chosen the right guy for the job.

“He’s done all the work and more in the largest physical township in the state,” he said.

While in just his second week as public works commissioner, LaCarrubba said he has completed work on the sewage treatment plant and has begun to work with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to rebuild roadways and the boardwalk in Long Beach.

“Public works is not just an engineering department; it’s also an infrastructure department,” LaCarrubba explained. “There’s a lot of moving parts here and a lot of people, and I’ve noticed that each department has a superintendent to reign in the oversight to make these divisions more accountable.”

IRISH 4 March 22, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Datt Matt March 22, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Hank, the "old croneyism" was done by democrats! Just so you know.
Piker March 22, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Wait. The guy hired by the new city manager is being vouched for by the new city manager - wow, very surprising. Bottom line - any of those bulleted highlights up there were not reviewed, designed or approved by the new PW commissioner. So the road program - designed by someone else, the docks - someone else; senior center - someone else; boardwalk - someone else; locker room - someone else. I didn't see that in the list of accomplishments.
chris d March 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM
and our new police puppet commish calls in sick it seems alot 22 times in 2010 and 15 times in 2011
IRISH 4 March 22, 2012 at 02:41 PM
chris d March 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM
hey eddie look close next time and most of the last names on police blotters are not IRISH if the whole west end was irish it would be a much nicer place
IRISH 4 March 22, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Candygram for Mongo March 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Suzie March 22, 2012 at 05:15 PM
You have just proven my point, all of you who just insulted me and made assumptions about who I am and how I live (not in my parents basement, BTW), just because I suggested that you give the new administration a chance. And still no admission that the previous administration put our City in a huge hole, which is amatte of public record, its not just someone's opinion. Another matter of public record is that a clear majority of the voters in Long Beach elected this City Council and turned the Repubs out of office. So, just accept that reality and see what happens. Like, if the new Public Works commissioner has to hire outside engineers, and still saves the City a million dollars over the former Public Works commissioner, and the projects are still getting done okay, then he is doing a better job than the previous guy. That would be an objective measure, and would not be just a matter of opinion. Okay, I made my point. You can all viciously attack me now.
IRISH 4 March 22, 2012 at 05:24 PM
LBLover March 22, 2012 at 05:35 PM
The problem suzie (I'm an independent support who doesn't vote on party lines) is the Publics Works head has always been an engineer. We are paying the new guy the same amount as a person who went to college and has a degree in engineering. The new head didn't go to college. That is a poor choice. The City Manager changed the position of public works. We have always had an engineer in the position until now. If the City Manager needs a guy on his side who watches over the departments then that person as always been the assist city manager... Mr. Rooney for example did that. I am giving everyone a chance but this isn't right and I'll bet council behind closed doors isn't happy about this.
Penn street voter March 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It's a disgrace! Why not broaden the search for someone in the US with both more experience, a better track record and an engineering degree? Fast sneaky and underhanded appointment, Big country America, look for the best candidate, the taxpayers deserve better. Also Pat McCormack, the Executive Youth Director, for over 40 years, Adelphi educated and an expert on NYS and federal guidlines was "made an offer he could not refuse", aka, retire or else. What qualifications does the person taking over for him have?
Candygram for Mongo March 22, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The ends may justify the means. This could be a series of blunders, or it could result in a more efficient gov't by shaking up various departments whose entrenched poeple and processes have plagued LB for years.......
Suzie March 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM
"I WON'T ATTACK YOU BUT I BEG TO DIFFER". Thank you Irish 4. That signals a big improvement in the level of discourse here. I respect your right to hold an opinion that differs from mine. All I ask from anyone on this blog is that you express ypur opinions respectfully. After all, we're all neighbors.
MikeC. March 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Are we all neighbors? Does Jackie boy reside here yet or is he still looking? Lots of places for rent here in town.
Suzie March 22, 2012 at 08:46 PM
And then there are the people who just can't respect anyone and can't resist the chance to make a snide comment, even when it's off-topic. The guy seems to be working very hard, and he's a Harvard graduate, which probably makes him smarter than any of us. Just let him do his job. If his way doesn't work and you think you have a better way of doing things, Mike C., why don't YOU run for City Council. Put yourself out there and put in the work to try and make our community a better place to live.
IRISH 4 March 22, 2012 at 08:51 PM
He has an education from Harvard but it doesnt make you smart .Learning to live and adjust to what life sends you and listening to what people have to say agree or disagree that is what makes you smart ..Otherwise you just have a book education. It seems you have more smarts then he does but you arent confident enough yet .h but you will be .
Joannie Calabrese March 22, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Well, Suzie, he's smarter than one of us. He's hired a dozen of this friends to new positions, increased the pay of several managers 35% and will be raising your taxes probably about $1000. And you think he's great. He's much smarter than YOU. Susie, I'm smarter than you too. How about giving me $1000 and a chance to prove myself also.
Datt Matt March 22, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Captain Jack did move to Long Beach. He rents an apartment in the west end. While he is paying rent and if taxes go up rent usually follows, he is not a Long Beach taxpayer.
Datt Matt March 22, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Suzie, keep in mind that he has a masters from Harvard. It is much easier to get into an ivy league school for a masters than it is for undergrad. I am not saying that the guy isn't educated (or smart) but I am saying that a piece of paper from Harvard does not make him brighter than the rest of us. If you believe that you are intellectually inferior to him, that's your choice but please don't lump the rest of us into the inferior category.
joe March 22, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Since your comment follows one that mentions McCormacks hasty departure I can only assume that you are referring Pat McCormack when you talk about "shaking up departments whose entrenched people and processes have plagued LB for years. Just because someone has served LB for years doesn't mean that they are ineffective or should be replaced. To survive as a Department head in LongBeach for over 30 years is a testiment to McCormack. He has been exempt all those years and despite all the comings and goings in City Hall he has continued to serve. Why? Because he is excellent at his job and never cared WHO was running this town because he served the citizens. Let's see who Jack puts in there. I don't think he will have the nerve to bring in another Brookhaven crony (if there are any left) so maybe he will look to reward it to on of the local hacks like Kohuts son or an idiot like James Hodge. Ask around jerk before you talk about people who have plagued LB and those that have given years to make it a better place.
Lucy Centeno March 23, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Mr. Hennessey, I agree with you. I said a while back to give them a chance and see what comes. Well, lets see how this is going. My info says that Shnirman misrepresented his credentials to begin with, AND Mr. Mandel wrote up a CONTRACT for Shnirman 5 WEEKS into office. I think it is for 2 years. Hmmmmmmm.I also believe that strings are being pulled from the clubhouse. Please Mr. Zapson, you and your buddies need to back off and NOT dictate who goes where. We voted for these people for a change! GET IT! CHANGE! Take your secretary back, get Norgid GONE and get someone QUALIFIED for the job, Send LaCarrubba packing and let us put Long Beach in gear the right way. Hiring and paying HIGHER SALARIES to these people makes no sense. Not to me, or other people I have spoken too. BUT, Mr. Hennessey has proved himself right. Mrs. Adelson, shame on you. If you can't speak for the people that put you there, STEP DOWN. WE NEED A BACKBONED PERSON. I do NOT see it in you. Mr. Torres, YOU are a disappointment. Now I know why you couldn't answer my questions when you were campaigning. You don't have any. I don't care what you did years ago, I WANT WHAT CAN BE DONE TODAY! Mr. Mandel,,you whined about things being tossed at your house and names being called. Well, you kind of make me think they were warranted since you are a "good old boy". I don't kiss ass and at least I say what I feel. I now have eyes wide open, and yes Jim, I am listening much more with a very NEGATIVE TONE.
Lucy Centeno March 23, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I understand what you are saying Suzie. Don't know how long you have lived here, but would like to say something to you. I don't care what PARTY is in, the residents have been getting screwed for years. I only want the BEST for our city. There have been good and bad things done by BOTH parties. I didn't like tactics when Mr. Zapson was on the council with conflicting interests ( san remo apts) back then, and I don't like things now either. My concern is Long Beach City, our residents and especially our kids. The politics here is killing us financially and destroying credibility within our community. I want to help CHANGE that. I am sorry to say, I made a mistake thinking I could trust someone that did NOT have answers BEFORE the election or a REALTOR! I must have had a brain fart.
matt_lorenz@yahoo.com March 23, 2012 at 02:58 AM
so, having a harvard graduate degree doesn't make you smarter, but NOT having a college degree doesn't make you qualified to hold a job down.
IRISH 4 March 23, 2012 at 01:30 PM
depends on the job.A college degree doesnt automatically make you ellgible for a job other factors come into it such as qualifications and knowledge of what you will be doing .
MikeC. March 23, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Snide and off topic? I do not usually take the time to respond to responses, but you are off base here Suzie. I'm too busy enjoying my retirement to get into LB politics. I said nothing about intelligence, work ethic or education. If his way doesn't work, he'll be out of work. I merely wanted to know if he lived here yet.
Leonard Bauman March 24, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Long Beach needs City Manager Charles Theofan back in office. Long Beach was stupid to elect Democrats, you get what you voted for, now dig deeper in your pockets for tens of $100 Benjamin Franklins to pay your Democrat Masters because you are the Democrats personal taxpayer slaves now!
Jimmy Hennessy March 25, 2012 at 04:44 PM
NY Sate Law states, "No county, city, town or village or other political subdivision of this state shall engage in the construction or maintenance of any public work involving engineering or land surveying for which plans, specifications and estimates have not been made by, and the construction and maintenance supervised by, a professional engineer..." http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pels/article145.htm#sect7200 THis is for all public works projects over $5000.00. How is the city going to certify the work was done properly now that he has hired his crony from Brookhaven who is NOT an engineer?? Hire an outside consultant? Thats more money being spent. Why not just keep the guy we had who was a PE., or at least hire someone who is qualified?? Funny how Schnirman doesn't answer this question.
Anonymous April 05, 2012 at 03:00 AM
This whole blog is embarrasing. The mentality sounds like a bunch of malcontents who enabled the previous administrations corruption. I personally will give everyone a chance. It is time to give the newly elected Council a chance & since they appointed the New City Mgr ...we need to back him as well. Who said OUR taxes are being raised?
J. Walter Vanderveer, PE April 05, 2012 at 11:25 AM
If you are on welfare, your taxes are not being raised. Otherwise, if you are a renter, you'll see the landlord upping your rent $50 a month (at least) to cover his new taxes. We are malcontented. The City Council just gave a $140,000 engineer's job to a non-engineer, which means we have to pay an additional $1500 each time the City needs an engineer to sign something. Why? Because Jim LaCarrubba is a friend of the City Manager. Why not hire your buddy to do brain surgery? Then when you need a surgeon you can pay another guy too. That's screwed up. A decision like that does not deserve a chance.


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