Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has been officially sworn in as Huntington’s 80th supervisor, as of his first full day in office Jan. 2.
His oath of office was administered
moments after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day by Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at his cousin’s Commack restaurant in front of his family and close friends on his grandfather’s Bible from Calabria, Italy.
Hundreds of Huntington residents and elected officials later watched Lupinacci retake the oath at the official Inauguration Ceremony Jan. 2 held at his high school alma mater, Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station. Lupinacci took the oath of office, and oaths were administered to re-elected Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D), newcomer Councilman Ed Smyth (R) and Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli (D).
“This night has been a long time coming, a night when we return town government to the control of those with a clear vision of what defines our suburban lifestyles,” he said. “This is the night in which we begin putting into action our mandate to preserve the keys to what has made Huntington such a desirable community over the years to live, work and raise a family.”
Raia presented the new supervisor with the town’s chain of office, a 1-pound, 11-ounce ceremonial piece made of wampum and several medallions.
In his inaugural address, Lupinacci outlined staff and policy changes he intends to make over the upcoming months, particularly plans to hire a new economic policy adviser to oversee business matters in the town.
“We want to make sure that we are always open for business and work hard to create all the jobs we can, while maintaining the jobs that are here,” Lupinacci said.
The Jan. 3 town board meeting will see the appointment of a new town attorney and set dates for 2018 town board meetings — increasing the number to two every month, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. In coming weeks, Lupinacci said he plans to further consider scheduling the meetings at different locations across the town, instead of Town Hall only.
The new supervisor’s top priorities include increasing the town’s use of social media and passing term limits for the town’s elected officials. Councilman Gene Cook (R) pulled his proposal to create a three-term limit on all town officials, including the town clerk and receiver of taxes, at the Dec. 13 town board meeting before it could be voted on.
The town recently received $1.7 million in state funds to construct a parking garage in Huntington village, which Lupinacci said he plans to push forward with in coming months.
These new town positions and policies are part of Lupinacci’s campaign promise of “a new direction” for Huntington, which he elaborated on Tuesday night.
“It does not mean tearing everything down and starting over. It does not mean undoing everything that the town government has done over the past 24 years,” he said, calling for a round of applause for former Supervisor Frank Petrone (D). “But a new direction does mean identifying those policies, programs and procedures that should remain and building on them, while identifying those that do need to be changed and changing them as quickly as possible.”
One thing that will remain unchanged, Lupinacci announced Patricia DelCol has agreed to stay on as his deputy supervisor — an announcement met by a round of applause.
Cuthbertson, who served as a councilman for 20 years under Petrone, welcomed Lupinacci into the town after taking his oath of office.
“We take a new beginning today with Supervisor Lupinacci and the new administration,” Cuthbertson said. “I heard a lot about new beginnings in the campaign, and I can tell you that if new beginnings mean we continue to look at how we can continue to improve how we deliver town services and manage town government, I’m all for new beginnings. There’s always room for improvement at all levels of government.”
Particularly, Cuthbertson said he expects the new town board will have to tackle the issues of how to help local businesses stand up to competition against internet retailers and affordable housing for both millenials and seniors.
“When we make the tough decisions, we really do move our town forward and it has a lasting and positive impact.” Cuthbertson said. “It’s something I hope we will do in the coming four years.”
A small white elephant figurine was left sitting on Lupinacci’s desk by Petrone, as his way of wishing the new supervisor and his administration good luck.