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Boss of Custodians’ Union Shot To Death In ‘Hit’

August 13, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ The boss of New York City’s powerful school-custodians’ union was shot to death near his home in a gangland-style ″hit,″ police said.

Detectives said they had no motive for the slaying early Wednesday of Daniel F. Conlin, 65, six-time president of the 1,000-member Local 891 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Conlin was shot five or six times in the face and the head by two men who opened fire after he got into his car in Brooklyn to go to work, said Deputy Chief Francis L. Schilling. The gunmen fled in a waiting car, he said.

About $600 was found on the body, Schilling said.

″This would be characterized as a hit,″ Schilling said. ″This is a difficult one. Mr. Conlin, as far as we know, enjoyed a very good reputation.″

The union has kept a strong hand on maintenance of the city’s public school buildings for decades. Before the board limited the custodians’ salaries, some earned more than the principals at the schools where they worked.

Each custodian oversees a school building and has responsibility for managing an annual budget that often runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Conlin, who also worked as chief custodian at the Board of Education’s headquarters in Brooklyn - a $57,381-a-year post - had a budget of $873,599, said board spokeswoman Gloria Lesser.

Conlin served five three-year terms before stepping down four years ago, then was re-elected without opposition last year.

The union issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Conlin’s killers.

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