By Alex Petroski
A Port Jefferson Village fixture for more than 35 years is saying goodbye to his role in the community.
Code Enforcement Chief Wally Tomaszewski is retiring, according to an announcement by Mayor Margot Garant during a public Village Board meeting June 4.
“Chief Tomaszewski came in and he signed a retirement letter today with us,” Garant said. “He is going to be retiring, receiving his compensation for the month of June, and we will be searching for a new chief of the bureau. There’s a lot of change in the department in terms of technology, things that have to happen, and chief, we wish him well. We want to recognize him and retire him in this community for the public service he has provided for us for 35 years. And we mean that sincerely.”
Garant made the announcement when asked by a resident what was going on, as rumors had begun swirling on social media over the weekend about Tomaszewski’s job status and the story behind the departure.
Tomaszewski did not respond to a request for comment.
Community members packed Village Hall for the June meeting to discuss a host of issues, but the larger than normal turnout was likely largely a reflection on rumors about the chief.
“We spoke about this Friday, we shook hands, he came in today and signed his letter,” Garant said.
Several attendees spoke in support of Tomaszewski and asked the board to reconsider accepting the letter.
“I moved here about 50 years ago, and the reason we did was because this was a personal village,” resident Naomi Solo said. “It was a special village, and I think the person that really epitomizes this, besides yourself, was Wally. The loss of Wally is devastating.”
The chief was known for being on call for residents, be it to address noise complaints in the middle of the night or assist the Suffolk County Police Department in certain cases.
“I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a replacement that’s equivalent to him,” resident Marge McCuen said.
Deputy Code Chief Fred Leute will serve as the acting chief, according to Garant.