After Hudson County View exclusively reported on a potential low show job in the West New York Building Department earlier this month, we have now learned that an employee of that same department has resigned, stating he is pursuing a better job opportunity.
Frank Recanati, 50, was on the front cover of The Jersey Journal in July 2012, where I revealed that he was routinely calling in sick at one job and going to work at another on the same day.
At the time, he said back issues and kidney stones would lead him to call out of West New York after he had worked in Bergen County municipality in the morning, declining to elaborate further.
Back then, Recanati had seven jobs in six North Jersey municipalities, but received benefits in West New York – where he earned about $43,000 a year, working 21 or so hours a week.
Based on public records, Recanati has five jobs: in Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Wallington, Guttenberg and West New York.
Upon further investigation, he earns $25,000 a year as the construction official in East Rutherford, $11,540.12 as the plumbing inspector in Guttenberg, works 15 hours a week in Carlstadt – where he serves as both the construction official and plumbing inspector – receives a $12,379 a year salary as the plumbing inspector for Hasbrouck Heights, and is also the plumbing inspector in both Teterboro and Wallington.
That comes to a total of seven part-time jobs for an annual salary of over $150,000.
East Coast Private Investigations’ Joe Blaettler exclusively told Hudson County View earlier this month that his company had been hired to investigate multiple employees of North Hudson building departments, including West New York.
He alleged that Manny Fernandez, a West New York building inspector with four other jobs, was routinely slacking off while on the clock, in one instance performing two inspections in a just six minutes.
While performing surveillance on Recanati, he relayed similar observations to Hudson County View.
“I observed him doing very few inspections, he spent more time hanging around outside the building and eating breakfast. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, for some reason he drove around in the same car as Manny [Fernandez] and never appeared to do any inspections,” Blaettler said via email.
He could not appear on camera this time since he is in Alabama.
Surveillance photos and footage show Recanati sitting outside town hall with Fernandez on multiple days, as well as one instance with them eating breakfast together at a restaurant while on the clock.
Recanati, who submitted his resignation letter in West New York on August 26 – effective September 9 – seemed open to any and all questions regarding the ECPI investigation during a phone interview with Hudson County View.
“I don’t know how he can determine whether I’m doing work in the office, when I am actually doing work in the office,” he said.
“My hours have always had me starting at 7:30 [a.m.] and have been signed off by my supervisor, the inspectors always come in earlier to do plan review.” He added that on average, each inspector typically performs anywhere from two to nine inspections a day – a variable that is beyond their control.
When asked if he felt there was an issue with getting breakfast while on the clock, he responded: “There’s nothing that says we can’t get breakfast, that doesn’t preclude us from doing our job properly.”
Finally, Recanati said his departure from West New York, as well as Guttenberg, has nothing to do with any investigation or turmoil in the West New York Building Department.
Instead, he says he has been planning to focus on Bergen Count for quite some time in pursuit of another job opportunity.
“My reasoning for leaving was well-documented before any of this came out. I left for an upgraded position, where I’d serve as the full-time Construction Official for Rutherford, East Rutherford and Carlstadt. This has been in the works for a year, possibly a year-and-a-half.”
He clarified that the new job title, which hasn’t been finalized, would be one job that was created specifically to encompass the three Bergen County municipalities.
He also stated that he would decide whether or not to leave his positions in Teterboro and Hasbrouck Heights after the responsibilities of the new position are clearly established.
Recanati, who said he was hired in West New York in 1995, reflected that he has fond memories of working for the town. “I had a great reputation in the town and was very comfortable being there, I enjoyed my time there.”
Town officials did not respond to an inquiries seeking comment on Wednesday.