Jason Kontzamanys takes on Dan Losquadro on Nov. 3
Jason Kontzamanys has been working in the Town of Brookhaven parks department for a decade, but the Democrat said he is looking for a new challenge, which prompted his decision to face off against Republican incumbent Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro in November.
In a recent interview, Kontzamanys, 45, of Port Jefferson Station, spoke about his plans for his campaign and what he would do if elected to the position. He said his years of experience working as a maintenance mechanic in the parks department and with blue-collar workers makes him the man for the job.
This is Kontzamanys’ first time running for office and the Comsewogue High School alumnus recently went back to school to earn his master’s degree in social studies education from Dowling College. He plans to obtain his doctorate in education administration and become a school administrator.
“I knew I could make a difference,” he said about accepting the nomination.
Kontzamanys said he believed the biggest issue plaguing the department is the overuse of subcontracting.
“The taxpayers should be upset as well,” he said. “The taxpayer is paying for a unionized workforce and they’re not being worked to their full potential.”
Kontzamanys began working for Brookhaven at the landfill and currently works out of the parks department’s base in Holtsville, where he helps with “all aspects of construction and maintenance,” he said. This has given him the opportunity to be versatile and get to know the whole town, he said.
He also has his Class A Commercial License to operate heavy equipment.
Bringing the subcontracted work in house is one of the first steps Kontzamanys would take to help boost the department’s morale, which he alleged is almost non-existent. He said keeping an open-door policy would also help boost spirits.
“You have to keep an open mind, because everybody has the right to be heard, whether it’s a taxpayer or an in-house union member,” he said.
Kontzamanys also said he has a vision to modernize the department and reduce the department’s debt service.
Losquadro, who was elected as superintendent in 2013, said in a phone interview that he disagreed with Kontzamanys’ notion that subcontracting was bad for the department and the workers aren’t being used. Losquadro said there was a tremendous backlog of work that needed to be done when he took office.
“We needed to go out and contract for that work to keep up with the volume,” he said.
He added that department crews are still responsible for responding to day-to-day complaints and completing routine work. He said the response time for services performed has greatly improved and the fixed-cost contracts gave the department the ability to attend to a high volume of work.
“I think it has been a great boon for the taxpayer,” Losquadro said.
Losquadro also responded to Kontzamanys’ claim that morale was down in the department, stating it is “exactly the opposite,” as he as tried to maintain a direct and open line to his employees.
Making the department more environmentally friendly is also crucial to Kontzamanys, he said, and he spoke about going after federal grants for solar sidewalks and solar panels on highway department land.
Looking at the big picture, Kontzamanys wants to explore additional shared services between municipalities in order to create a synergy between them. For example, collectively bidding on asphalt could help drive down the price.
“I don’t want to just manage, I want to completely transform,” he said.
Election Day is Nov. 3.