The question of who might step into Larry Penny’s shoes as East Hampton Town’s natural resources director, and when, is coming to the fore this week with town officials confirming that they are considering candidates for the job while also denying that Mr. Penny has submitted an official request for retirement.
Mr. Penny has been absent from his department at the town’s Pantigo Place offices since December, when he was served with a list of disciplinary charges and suspended for 30 days without pay. On Jan. 5, just before the 30 days were to expire, the town and Mr. Penny’s attorney, Tom Horn, issued a statement saying that the charges of incompetence, insubordination, and misconduct were being dropped, and Mr. Penny would be left to choose his own retirement date.
However, those inquiring about applying for his job have been told that it is not an officially open position, as the Human Resources Department has not been asked to process Mr. Penny’s retirement or to open a search for his replacement.
Nonetheless, Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione confirmed last week that the town board had interviewed at least one candidate.
The town board’s consideration of candidates for the natural resources job has apparently not included a request for information on potential candidates through the county Civil Service system, as is required. Hiring someone for Mr. Penny’s title under that system, as “director of environmental protection,” is subject to Civil Service procedures.
The town must first look to a list maintained by the Civil Service of people who have passed a test for the title and who meet the minimum education and experience requirements assigned to it.
If the list contains three or more interested potential candidates, the town must hire from that pool.
If there is no “eligible list,” East Hampton officials may petition the Civil Service for permission to hire someone who has not yet taken the test for the title, on a provisional basis.
They must, however, meet the minimum requirements, which include holding a bachelor’s degree plus 30 additional credits in math and the sciences, as well as six years of professional or administrative experience in environmental protection activities. Additional education can substitute for up to two years of work experience.