The Village of Port Jefferson announced the village clerk of nearly two decades, Bob Juliano, will no longer be in his position effective Aug. 1.
“This is difficult, very difficult,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “We wish him well, and I mean that in every sense of the word.”
The village held an emergency executive meeting July 26 regarding a “personnel matter.” According to Garant, the board voted 5-0 to not reappoint Bob to the position of clerk. She said this decision was made two weeks ago, but it became official July 29.
“It was the same position we were in two weeks ago, but I wanted everybody to take two weeks and make sure that was what we had to do and what was in the best interest of the village,” the mayor said.
Juliano took an unannounced vacation for that period but has since returned to Port Jefferson. He took to Facebook July 30 thanking the community and saying he does not intend to leave Port Jeff.
“I have always tried to conduct myself as a gentleman in all my actions at Village Hall, and hope I succeeded more times than I failed,” he wrote. “To date, I am the longest serving village clerk that Port Jefferson has had, and I appreciate the fact that no one will be able to say that before the year 2038.”
He added he intends to seek employment with another municipality in the near future.
Garant would not speak on the record about why Juliano was being called to retire from his position but said she has appreciated him as a person and a friend.
Juliano has been with the village for just under 19 years, assisting in village elections amongst his many other duties. He was named clerk of the year in 2017 by the New York State Association of City & Village Clerks, and currently serves as Suffolk director for the Long Island Village Clerks and Treasurers Association.
In the interim, assistant to the mayor and Deputy Village Clerk Barbara Sakovich has been filling in as clerk while Juliano was on vacation and now that he is no longer with the village. She said the village will need to perform a lengthy hiring process, and that a new clerk would have to have many skills in administrative work.
“You need someone with very specific credentials, someone specifically from a municipality,” said Sakovich.
She added she is doing her best to get in front of a steep learning curve of the full clerk position, though the process for hiring a new administrator could potentially take some time.
Deputy Mayor Stan Loucks and Garant met with Juliano the morning of Monday, July 29, to agree to his retirement and accept his signature, according to the mayor, who told TBR News Media they would provide him a letter of recommendation for a future job if he needed it.
The mayor said he is retiring with his full sick pay and vacation benefits, and that he is entitled “to the rest of his health care insurance.”
At the same time, Juliano will not be retiring with full retirement benefits. A village employee would require having worked 30 years by the age of 55, or be 62 and retire, to receive those full benefits, according to Sakovich.
Reaction to the news on Facebook ranged from surprise to anger, with many people lauding Juliano for his welcoming personality and his general respectability.
This post has been updated to include quotes from Juliano.