Overwhelming Support for Town Highway Superintendent Position to Remain as Elected Post

Filed under: Government,Investigations,News |

At the August 14th, 2012 meeting of the Huntington Town Board, a public hearing was held regarding three resolutions pertaining to abolishing the elective office position of Highway Superintendent and creating an appointive office of Highway Superintendent, eliminating the Town’s General Services Department and finally establishing a Town Public Works Department.  This newly created Department would have under it’s umbrella the new “Division” of General Services.  Services to fall under this category include buildings and grounds, facilities management, parks maintenance, vehicle operations and maintenance and related inter-departmental services. Other divisions may be added to the newly created Public Works Department.  The Department would consist of a Director that would serve at the pleasure of the Town Board and a Deputy Director for each division created within that department.  The three resolutions were put forth by Supervisor Frank Petrone, Councilmember Susan Berland and Councilmember Mark Cuthbertson. Councilmembers Mark Mayoka and Eugene Cook were in opposition of these proposals. A vote on the resolutions may come within one week. If the actual resolutions are voted upon and approved, then a referendum vote on the Highway Superintendent issue would be held on election day, November 6th, 2012.

However, at the public hearing held on August 14th regarding these measures, the residents of the Town came out in earnest to speak on this issue.  An overwhelming majority  of the residents who spoke are in favor of keeping the Office of Highway Superintendent as an independently elected position. The major concern that residents expressed was the feeling that they are losing their right to vote and that it is more prudent to have the Superintendent position directly accountable to the voters of the Town and not the Town Board.  Major support also came from six other elected Town Highway Superintendent’s from Long Island. Superintendent’s from Shelter Island, Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead, Smithtown and Southold spoke out in favor of keeping the highway position as an elected post. Again, the major emphasis being that elected Town Superintendents have direct interaction and accountability with the public .

It was also evident that opposition was mounting against this proposal early on as Supervisor Petrone began to backpeddle. He stated that talks are ongoing to see if other options are available with regard to this issue.  At the end of the one-sided public hearing Supervisor Petrone announced that a special session will be held within one week only if they decide to move forward with the proposal to put the issue up for a vote in November.





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3 Responses to Overwhelming Support for Town Highway Superintendent Position to Remain as Elected Post

  1. That six other elected highway superintnedants traveled to Huntington to speak says it all; they fear the trend to eliminate the elected highway superintendants will eventually reach their townships and they will lose their power over taxpyer money and control of patronage hiring. Hopefully Mr. Petrone and the board will stay the course and get this referednum on the November ballot so our residents can vote on it.

    August 15, 2012 8:58 am at 8:58 am

  2. Headline says it all. It was said last night the amount of e-mails they received to not eliminate this position was overwhelming. Given the fact it is Summer and many people are away it was a great turn out.

    Don’t listen to wunderpet. He supports anything bad this town board wants to do. He-she always sees fear in everything. I was happy to see the support. Same thing happened with Joanne Raia when they put term limits up for a discussion almost 2 years ago. All her employees came out and letters were received from other clerks. Thats not fear, it is support. Also the meeting I speak of 2 years ago? No one said council members were doing such a great job and didn’t need term limits, they only spoke for Mrs Raia, Mr Naughton and Mrs Bivona. In fact it was said we needed term limits for policy making positions ONLY. I agree.

    August 15, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am

  3. It is obvious to even the casual observer that “Wundaboy” is political hack that works in Town Hall.
    The overwhelming support for an elected Town Highway Supervisor is apparent. Is it the position or the personality that Petrone wants to rid the Town of? If it is a “cost cutting measure”, why not also eliminate the Receiver or Taxes and Town Clerk elected positions?
    The people of Huntington want MORE control of how this Town operates, not less. It is the only Democratic way….

    matt harris
    August 17, 2012 8:41 am at 8:41 am

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