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Patrick Vecchio

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Catholic Guardian Services supports the needy, providing food and shelter. One preparing to move into Smithtown will house disabled adults. Photo from Facebook

There’s a new neighbor preparing to move onto Long Hill Road in Smithtown, but residents have troubling concerns as to whether an adult group home will fit into their quiet community.

Long Hill Road residents presented a petition to Town of Smithtown officials at their Sept. 5 meeting to voice their concerns about a property recently purchased to build a group home for six developmentally disabled adults.

“This is not against the group home or the people in it, it’s against the location,” said Long Hill Road resident Richard Troise. “It’s the fact the town didn’t even look at the location. It’s not a good location for the amount of cars and traffic.”

Catholic Guardian Services, a religious nonprofit that provides a wide array of services and support for the needy in New York, purchased the Long Hill Road property in mid-August for approximately $440,000 to house six women, according to Executive Director Craig Longley. He said the women are “profoundly disabled,” all diagnosed with a developmental disability, in addition to being blind or visually impaired, deaf, and even wheelchair bound.

Troise and several of his neighbors are opposed to the development, concerned it will negatively impact the quality of life on their dead-end street. They point to medical personnel entering and exiting the property as a potential increase to traffic and safety hazards on a block where several families with young children reside.

“One of the reasons given to decline this group home is the nature and the character of the surrounding area would be substantially altered,” said Joan Zipfel, a Long Hill Road resident. “[It will create] frequent traffic continually driving up and down the cul-de-sac, which by nature necessitates a turn around. The negative impact of allowing this particular group home should have been addressed.”

Residents’ objections may be too late to make a difference. Smithtown residents want to know why town officials never informed them of the proposed plans for a group home on the end of their block.

Catholic Guardian Services sent a letter dated March 17 to town officials providing notice of the organization’s intention to purchase the property for a group home in accordance with state law, Longley said. The letter gave a 40-day time frame for the town to either object or respond with any concerns.

“When I got the letter, I called to speak to the director of the agency,” Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (R) said. “I called and asked them if they were going to be doing outreach to the community. I was told they would notify residents.”

Troise said he and his neighbors never received a letter or any contact from Catholic Guardian Services prior to closing on the property.

Longley said there may have been “some miscommunication” between parties. He said it is not within his organization’s standard practice to notify individual residents of new developments, but rather reach out to a community board or government to see if there are concerns. If issues are raised, the nonprofit hosts a community forum, presents their plans and answer any questions.

“In the absence [of a response], we assumed there was no opposition or no concerns,” Longley said. “We would be happy to meet with the community to share who we are and our intention of being the best of neighbors.”

Longley said the nonprofit plans to spend approximately $600,000 to renovate the property.

The group home will have three staff members per eight-hour shift, with three shifts per day. Additionally, there may be transport vehicles to get residents to and from daycare programs, but Longley said he didn’t expect ambulances or other medical vehicles to be traveling to and from the adult home on a regular basis.

Catholic Guardian Services will plan for an open house in the future, according to Longley, and invite those concerned to tour one of their other group homes on Long Island.

The Town of Smithtown will have a different look in 2018. File photo by Phil Corso

No clear winner has emerged in the Smithtown Republican primary for town supervisor as a narrow 39-vote margin at the close of polls Sept. 12 left the outcome undecided, pending a count of absentee ballots.

Smithtown Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) holds a razor-thin lead on incumbent town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (R), 2,822 votes to 2,783, in the unofficial election results posted Sept. 13 by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

“By definition, it’s too close to call,” said Nick LaLota, the Republican commissioner for the county board of elections. “The number of paper ballots outstanding exceeds the margin of victory by machine. It is literally too close to call.”

LaLota said the board of elections has received 322 absentee ballots as of Sept. 13. He said he expects the county may still receive a few dozen additional ballots over the next week. Absentee ballots must have been postmarked by Sept. 11 and received by the county by Sept. 19 to be valid.

“I am confident that we will remain victorious once they are opened,” Wehrheim said Wednesday morning.

The councilman said his campaign, along with Smithtown Republican Committee Chairman Bill Ellis, ran an extensive absentee voter outreach campaign leading up to the primary race.

“A lot is going to depend on how the absentee ballots go,” Ellis said in a phone interview. “We worked aggressively and I believe a lot of the absentees we had contact with voted for the entire team.”

LaLota said he anticipates by Sept. 25 the Suffolk County Board of Elections will have all the voting machines and paper ballots to be checked, and will have given sufficient notice to both campaigns in order to begin counting absentee votes.

The process of counting paper ballots involves opening each absentee envelope, allowing the ballot to be reviewed by a board of elections inspector and campaign observers, potentially including attorneys representing the campaigns. If there are any objections to the validity of a ballot it will be recorded.

The final outcome of the primary race may remain unknown until late September.

“With 300-plus ballots, I’d assume it’s going to take a few days,” LaLota said. “Attorneys have been known to gum up the process.”

Vecchio wrote the primary’s outcome was “still questionable” in an email statement, and that he was uncertain about the odds of being declared the Republican candidate after the absentee ballots were counted.

This is not the first time Vecchio has been challenged by his own party in a primary for town supervisor. In 2013, he faced off against former town councilman Robert Creighton (R) and prior to that, Jane Conway in 2005. In both of these primaries, Vecchio had a decisive victory at the polls.

“Against both Jane Conway and Bob Creighton, the results were substantially in Mr. Vecchio’s favor,” Ellis said. “Never has he lost on the [voting] machines to anyone.”

If Wehrheim remains victorious, he will be running for Smithtown town supervisor on the Republican, Conservative and Independent party lines in November.

Wehrheim currently has approximately $59,000 available in his war chest to spend on the general election, according to the 11-day pre-primary financial disclosure report filed with New York State Board of Elections.

“We won’t start campaigning until [the absentee ballots] are opened,” Wehrheim said. “Once they are open and the decision is finalized, then we will begin to carry on for the general election if we are the successful candidate.”

The winner of the Republican town supervisor primary will face off Nov. 7 against Democratic Party candidate William Holst and Kristen Slevin, running under her own None of the Above campaign.

The 265-year-old Arthur House, located on the corner of New York Avenue and Main Street, has historic ties to Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring. Photo by Kevin Redding

A neglected, pre-Revolutionary War house on the corner of New York Avenue and Main Street in Smithtown and other historically significant structures in the area could help boost the town’s future, according to a Smithtown historian.

Smithtown scholar Corey Victoria Geske urged for Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (R) and town council members to draft a resolution to start a Town Hall National Register Historic District in the downtown area at the Aug. 8 town board meeting, which, according to her, would serve to benefit the region’s economy. 

She asked the resolution be expedited by the Town Planning Department in cooperation with the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities as well as the community.

The proposed historic district, which Geske first proposed to the board about eight months ago, would center on the town hall building — built in 1912 by St. James architect Lawrence Smith Butler — and include the 106-year-old Trinity AME Church on New York Avenue, the 105-year-old Byzantine Catholic Church of the Resurrection on Juniper Avenue and the 265-year-old Arthur House.

The Arthur House is located at the corner of New York Avenue and Main Street in Smithtown. Photo by Kevin Redding

The Arthur House is the only Revolutionary War-era house on the Route 25A Spy Trail, Geske said, and currently sits on the grounds of the Smithtown Central School District. It’s a property she has pushed in the past to be included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geske informed the board that the house, built in 1752, was once inhabited by Mary Woodhull Arthur, the daughter of Abraham Woodhull — better known as Samuel Culper Sr. — George Washington’s chief operative during the famous spy ring. The intelligence he provided helped win the American Revolution.

Her recent call for the historic district coincided with the July 27 bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) designating the Washington Spy Ring National Historic Trail. The trail runs through towns and villages in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, including Smithtown along Route 25A.

“Let Smithtown lead the way in a big way by capitalizing on its own special history and world-class architecture added to the heritage now being recognized at the state and national levels for all towns along the Route 25A Washington Spy Trail from Great Neck to Port Jefferson,” Geske said at the board meeting. “The Washington Spy Trail wouldn’t exist if not for the father of Mary Woodhull Arthur of Smithtown, a true daughter of the American Revolution.”

She also noted The Ward Melville Heritage Organization and North Shore Promotion Alliance were granted funds from the state to install signs along the trail in May.

The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities has listed the Arthur House as endangered for more than 10 years. Photo by Kevin Redding

Geske said registering the Arthur House would be beneficial to the town as it could bring about possible grants from the state for the restoration and stabilization of old properties and promote more tourism in that area.

“The Arthur House was on the SPLIA’s endangered list over 10 years ago and it’s a building that’s been proposed for demolition,” she said. “These are the buildings that have been cast off in the past. [But] they actually could become the cornerstone for revitalizing downtown Smithtown. The history can actually bring to life a new future for downtown, it would be amazing.”

Sarah Kautz, director of preservation for SPLIA, said she hopes the town will involve its vast history into the downtown revitalization efforts. The town’s comprehensive revitalization plans came to the conclusion its historic buildings were an important component, according to Kautz, but did not provide concrete plans to address them.

“The town has never really incorporated preservation in a systematic way that would bring it into the wider plan for revitalization,” Kautz said. “The Arthur House is important because it’s an early property and is part of Smithtown’s really interesting early history going back into the 18th century. We would love to see a real clear approach for how those historic properties are going to fit into the revitalization and there’s a great potential for them to do so.”

The town board is in the process of evaluating Geske’s proposal, according to Councilman Tom McCarthy (R).

“We’ve asked the planning department to see how feasible it is … we’ll have to look at the pluses and minuses, do due diligence, but it could be a benefit to the township as a whole,” McCarthy said. “We have so much history [and] it’s very important to preserve it but now we have to look at everything surrounding it. We don’t want to shoot from the hip.”

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State’s ‘longest-serving’ supervisor sees namesake forever ingrained into the facade of town building

Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio presented the town's 2018 tentative operating budget this week. File photo by Susan Risoli

By Susan Risoli

With laughter, a few tears, memories of the past and a nod to the future, Smithtown Town Hall was dedicated Sunday in honor of Patrick Vecchio (R) and his nearly 38 years as Smithtown supervisor.

The event fulfilled a resolution, passed by town council members in March, that the building at 99 W. Main St. be dedicated in recognition of Vecchio’s lifelong record of public service.

In an interview after the ceremony, Vecchio said he felt “overwhelmed and humbled” by the praise.

When asked if his job was still fun after almost four decades, the supervisor said, “Yes, it is. At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life.”

Vecchio shook hands and hugged those in attendance, urging them to get something to eat from the Italian buffet of mozzarella sandwiches and almond cookies set up after the formal dedication.

The official town resolution is put on display. Photo by Susan Risoli
The official town resolution is put on display. Photo by Susan Risoli

As passing motorists tooted their horns and a crowd lined the sidewalk, legislators spoke warmly about Vecchio, peppering their remarks with wisecracks. Drawing laughs and applause from the audience, state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) feigned surprise that Vecchio arranged for a reception after the ceremony, because “he’s cheap, he wears it like a badge of honor.”

But the supervisor’s thriftiness is a good thing, Flanagan pointed out, because it means he’s mindful of Smithtown taxpayers.

“He never forgot, never forgets, never will forget where the money is coming from,” Flanagan said.

On a more serious note, Flanagan said Vecchio has been an effective supervisor because “we need leaders, we need people who are not afraid to mix it up.”

State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) said Vecchio should be acknowledged for the advances Smithtown has made in protecting the environment.

“You have earned this honor. You have earned it,” he said, addressing Vecchio directly.

Smithtown historian, Brad Harris, called Vecchio “a feisty guy … ready to take on an issue or political opponent. He does battle for the people of Smithtown.”

He noted that Vecchio is the longest-serving town supervisor in the region, “and for all we know, the longest-serving supervisor in the state of New York and probably the nation.”

However, Harris said to laughter from the crowd, “It’s just not true that he was here when town hall was constructed in 1912.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) quoted legendary film siren Mae West, who said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Vecchio, Bellone said, has served Smithtown the right way.

The town is “an amazing place — a place filled with incredible beauty, natural resources, wonderful people … the history of Smithtown is the stuff of legends,” Bellone said.

Looking over at Vecchio seated in the audience, Bellone said, “I’m excited to see the continuing story of this legend.”

Noting that Vecchio is a former boxer who stood up to opponents in the ring before he entered the political arena, Bellone said people have been trying to “knock the supervisor out ever since, but he’s still standing.”

Smithtown Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) and Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R) read the council’s resolution to dedicate the building in Vecchio’s honor.

Vecchio’s first word after hearing the tributes was “Wow.”

“My heart is overwhelmed with all of you folks,” Vecchio said, taking his turn at the microphone. “I’m going to cry.”

Vecchio praised the “unsung” heads of departments in town governments.

“You might not know who they are,” he said. “But they are the glue that holds this town together and makes it the best town in New York state.”

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Supervisor Pat Vecchio tears up as he learns Town Hall will be named in his honor. File photo by Phil Corso

Town Hall is getting a new name.

Smithtown officials will gather alongside the Smithtown 350 Foundation on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m., to officially dedicate the town hall building to Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R) — the longest serving supervisor in the history of the state. The dedication has been months in the making since the Town Board voted unanimously in March to dedicate the building in Vecchio’s honor after his nearly four decades of public service to the township.

As part of the town’s 350th birthday this year, Smithtown has been buzzing with activity since the beginning of 2015 with various events celebrating the town’s storied past. The town’s official 350th birthday was March 3, the same day the Town Board caught Vecchio off guard by voting to dedicate the building to him. The resolution that council members voted upon was signed and placed in a time capsule that will be buried near Town Hall this year.

Vecchio has served as supervisor since 1978 and also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, before an honor-able discharge in 1954, when he joined the New York Police Department, where he remained for 20 years, the resolution said. His NYPD roles included detective sergeant, chief of security for former Mayor John Lindsay and a member of a special unit responsible for the protection of visiting dignitaries, including former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

A reception will also immediately follow the event inside Town Hall.

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Smithtown celebrates its 350th anniversary with the unveiling of a new statue of founder Richard Smith. Photo by Eric Santiago

By Eric Santiago

Smithtown celebrated its 350th anniversary Saturday morning with the unveiling of a new statue– this time of the town’s legendary founder– Richard Smith.

Commissioned by the Smithtown-based Damianos Realty Group, the bronze sculpture joins the emblematic “Whisper the Bull” as the latest figure to immortalize the town’s history. The $300,000 statue stands outside of a Damianos-owned office building at the intersection of Main Street and Route 111.

“Here was a person who laid eyes on this land and said this is a great, great place,” Cristofer Damianos said. “It’s still true 350 years later.”

Local officials praised the Damianos’ efforts at a jam-packed ceremony on the building’s lawn.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said he was impressed with the attention that was drawn to the event.

“As you look at this crowd you are reminded with every glance how great of a town this is– that you all would be here on what is a beautiful Saturday morning” he said. “This is Smithtown.”

Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (R) added that hoped Smith would approve of how the town has evolved over the last three centuries.

Smithtown celebrates its 350th anniversary with the unveiling of a new statue of founder Richard Smith. Photo by Eric Santiago
Smithtown celebrates its 350th anniversary with the unveiling of a new statue of founder Richard Smith. Photo by Eric Santiago

“I don’t know if [Richard] ‘Bull’ Smith could ever have imagined Smithtown as it is today,” he said. “I don’t imagine he would think some guy with an ‘O’ on the end of his name would be making a speech about him,” he said to laughs from the crowd. “But I hope Mr. Smith would pleased with our stewardship of Smithtown.”

According to legend, Smith was an English colonist settling in the new world when he made a pact with a group of Native Americans. He could keep whatever land he managed to circle in a day while riding his now-famous bull, Whisper. As the story goes, Smith set out on the longest day of the year in 1665 and covered the borders of modern day Smithtown.

Historians have since debunked the story, but the myth still an important part of the town’s culture.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) referenced it in his remarks at the ceremony.

“It’s nice to see the man who rode the bull getting his own statue, right here in Smithtown,” he said. Bellone added the event was “an incredible occasion for the community to come together and celebrate the founding of this great town.”

The real story behind Smithtown’s founding is more complicated.

According to Smithtown historian Brad Harris, the land that would become the town was originally owned by the Nissequogue Native Americans. Grand Sachem Wyandanch awarded the land to Englishman Lion Gardiner in 1659. Gardiner had helped return Wynandanch’s daughter, the princess, after she was kidnapped by the Narragansett Native Americans.

Meanwhile Smith was living with his family in nearby Setauket. According to Harris, Gardiner and Smith were friends, and when the Narragansett finally released the princess to Wyandanch, it was actually done at Smith’s house in Setauket. Then in 1663 Gardiner sold the Nissequogue lands to Smith.

Two years after this Smith had his claim to the land ratified by New York Governor Richard Nicolls. Nicolls then awarded Smith “The Nicolls Patent of 1665,” which solidified the claim. This is the document displayed in the statue’s left hand.

“So now you know the real story,” said Harris. “And I would just like to point out, it had nothing to do with bulls.”

 

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Unanimous vote paves way for $17 million proposal, improving animal shelter, streetlights over four years

File photo

Smithtown’s shovels are primed for the pavement.

The Town Board green-lighted nearly $17 million in capital projects over the next four years at its last meeting, including things like an animal shelter renovation, LED streetlight retrofittings and marina bulkhead improvements.

Town Comptroller Donald Musgnug pitched the 2015-2019 capital budget proposal earlier this year, which the town approved at the June 18 meeting, setting aside $5.6 million in projects this year alone. The comptroller said now was the time to consider such projects and the board responded with a unanimous 4-0 vote.

“Interest rates are at historically low rates and the town is fiscally strong,” Musgnug said when he pitched the plan in his first capital budget discussion since taking the job in February. “Now is the time to borrow, when rates are low, and thankfully we are in a position to do so.”

Musgnug said he expects replacing aging and otherwise deteriorating town equipment would reduce the amount of money set aside in future budgets for repairs and maintenance. In reference to an upcoming $3.1 million streetlight project this year that would bring LED lighting to Smithtown’s streets, Musgnug said the town would offset the costs of future projects in the form of savings.

“Taking advantage of new technology, such as in the case of LED bulbs for streetlights and the municipal solid waste facility, will reduce utility costs [and] repair costs and improve safety,” Musgnug said in his report in May. “Because the town’s finances have been conservatively managed over the years, there is little room to cut operating budgets, making the goal of staying within the New York State tax cap increasingly difficult in light of rising compensation, health care and pension costs.”

Musgnug said the town expected to reduce utility costs and repairs by $350,000 as a result of the streetlight LED retrofit, which will offset the cost of borrowing, which is $270,000 per year. The comptroller also said the town should anticipate equipment purchases and construction in 2016, mostly because of the first phase of Smithtown Animal Shelter renovations as well as upgrades at the town marina, which collectively require about $3.1 million in financing.

“Overall, I think it’s excellent,” Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) said when the proposals were introduced in May. “In past years, we borrowed money and put up capital projects, but they never got done. Let’s make sure someone oversees these.”

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Lawn signs opposing a potential CVS in St. James have resurfaced several months after the pharmacy withdrew its initial application. File photo by Phil Corso

After striking out the first go-around, CVS has stepped up with a second attempt at building a new site in St. James, and residents are not going silently.

Vincent Trimarco Sr., the attorney representing CVS Albany LLC, had withdrawn initial plans to install a 13,551-square-foot CVS pharmacy with a mezzanine and 57 parking spaces at the intersection of Woodlawn and Lake avenues back in November. But Peter Hans, principal planner for the Town of Smithtown, outlined the details of the latest proposal at a Town Board work session on Tuesday as St. James residents dusted off their anti-CVS lawn signs for another bout.

The new plans, documents showed, included an 11,970-square-foot building on the first floor with 1,581 square feet of mezzanine space. Hans said CVS had modified its original plan, now placing the proposed building within a commercial business portion of the lot without a zone change, and would require slight variances to make the plans possible, including a special exception to expand parking in a residential district.

Hans said the applicant was requesting this exception to give CVS an extra 50 feet of parking. The proposal will be heard at the June 9 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7 p.m. at the Smithtown senior center. If approved, the BZA will send the proposal to the Town Board for site plan review.

“So they’re more or less shoehorning the building in,” Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in response to Hans’ outlining of the new plans at Tuesday’s work session.

Trimarco could not be reached for comment. But in a presentation to the Planning Board last October, he assured St. James that CVS would be a good neighbor.

“CVS wants to become part of the community,” he said at that initial meeting late last year, inviting a heavy stream of jeers. “The community of St. James, we believe, really needs a full-service pharmacy.”

Residents had long been against the proposal to build a CVS on the site, citing an abundance of reasons why they felt it would be a detriment to their community.

When the first proposal was at the center of controversy in November, residents took to a special Facebook page called Say No to CVS in Saint James as a means to organize and promote their cause. That page breathed new life this week in light of the newest proposal — something the page had warned about months ago.

“Don’t be fooled,” the page posted after CVS’s application was withdrawn on Nov. 19. “This fight may not be over yet. If you have a sign, hold onto to it. CVS can revise their plan and come back at a later date.”

The signs started sprouting back up over the past month.

CVS currently owns three stores in Smithtown. But for more than 70 years, the St. James community has been the home of Spage’s Pharmacy, which is located roughly five blocks from the latest proposed CVS site.

Residents approaching the podium at a BZA meeting last year often cited Spage’s as a more-than-adequate option for anyone in town looking for basic pharmacy needs, including the store’s own management.

“In my opinion if you were to grant this, these variances are excessive, there’s no need for it, you wouldn’t have as many people in this room and the signs that are out there, with over 6,500 hits on our Facebook page Say No to CVS, that are opposed to what is going on here,” a recent post on the page said. “This is a downtown community and we care about the character of our area, and we care about our quality of life, and we care about the values of our properties.”

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File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The director of the Smithtown Animal Shelter will be stepping down from his position at the end of next month, town officials said.

Town Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R) publicly announced the resignation of shelter Director George Beatty, 62, at a Town Board meeting last Thursday night, citing the recent death of Beatty’s wife as a catalyst to his decision to vacate his post. Beatty, who has been at the helm of the shelter for more than 30 years, has been at the center of controversy for many months in Smithtown as residents have consistently used Town Hall meetings as public forums to question his conduct, leadership and performance.

“I know many people would like to know the status of the animal shelter’s supervisor, Mr. Beatty,” Vecchio said at the Town Board meeting. “Two weeks ago, he lost his wife. It put some burden on him, as he takes care of his grandchildren.”

Vecchio said Beatty submitted his letter of resignation to the board earlier this month intent on retiring as of June 30. The audience at the meeting started applauding and cheering. The letter, dated, May 19, was short but concise.

“I have enjoyed working for the town of Smithtown and its residents and very much appreciate all of your support,” Beatty wrote in the letter. “I will miss working at the animal shelter, and if I can be of any assistance during the transition, please let me know.”

It was unclear who would be replacing Beatty, officials said. Town Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R) took on the role of animal shelter liaison earlier this year and has been working with an advisory board she established to enhance care at the shelter, usher in building improvements and work toward a 100 percent adoption rate.

She said at the meeting that Beatty had been working closely with her advisory board of experts, which included animal welfare experts Lucille DeFina and Diane Madden and animal welfare attorney Elizabeth Stein, and was helpful in moving the project forward.

“We’ve been meeting regularly with him,” she said. “George has been absolutely cooperative and we’ve been working together for some time.”

Residents have been accusing Beatty of animal neglect at the shelter and called for his removal from the facility. Beatty blamed a lot of the accusations on misinformation, rebutting claims that his shelter was not clean nor doing enough to care for and promote adoption of the animals.

He said over his nearly three decades at the helm, he has seen the Smithtown shelter’s population shift from a dog-dominated census to a cat-centric group now because of his team’s hard work.

An online petition at www.change.org also called for Beatty’s resignation. The online petition, which also links to a Facebook page calling for change at the shelter, blamed Beatty for animal neglect and requested the town form a committee to choose a new director, independent of the civil service list.

The shelter director said the petition was rooted in misleading information.

“I’m very truly upset — I was mortified by it,” Beatty said in a previous interview. “It would have been of no use to speak. I feel our side was very well spoken and professional. But as for the opposing side, it was apparent to me that they only wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Nothing I said could have put them to rest.”

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Glenn Jorgensen poses with a tree stump at the Montclair Avenue highway yard. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

In a short and not very sweet memo, Smithtown’s supervisor called out the superintendent of highways.

Pat Vecchio (R) said he felt Glenn Jorgensen should resign from his post amid a slew of accusations surrounding his performance on the job, including an alleged sexual harassment scandal and various felony charges against Jorgensen regarding road paving projects late last year. The letter came after the supervisor learned Jorgensen, 63, had allegedly taken his personal secretary out to a job site.

Vecchio’s memo included an attachment from the Suffolk County Civil Service Department, which explicitly outlined the job description of the secretary to the highway superintendent and did not include on-site work.

“It is my understanding that today, May 13, 2015, you had [a] secretary accompany you to a job site,” the memo said. “It seems to me that you are either not comprehending why the position exists, you have a disregard for civil service law or you are mocking the town board and the public.”

Town records showed that Jorgensen, who could not be reached for comment, hired Kaitlin Swinson as his new secretary in late January. Her position had initially been terminated back in February when the town board voted unanimously to rescind the $38,000 allocated for her job, but later reinstated her position in a 3-1 vote in March. She could not be reached for comment.

The highway superintendent has been at the center of controversy for several months now since a notice of claim was filed against the town in December alleging he had sexually harassed his former secretary, Aimee-Lynn Smith, 27. The claim also alleged Jorgensen had taken her out to job sites, out to eat and eventually fired her after finding out she was dating an employee of the highway department.

Jorgensen, of St. James, was also slapped with separate charges accusing him of tampering with public records for a town paving project, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Jorgensen pleaded not guilty to the four felony charges and the misdemeanor in April.

The district attorney alleged that Jorgensen directed a highway foreman to alter road construction reports to conceal that he had approved a contractor, Suffolk Asphalt Corp. of Selden, to pave at least eight Smithtown streets in freezing temperatures in November. The altered records misrepresented the weather conditions during the repaving work, Spota said.

Jorgensen’s misdemeanor grand larceny charge also accused him of stealing a public work order for the improper repaving and taking the official document home. District attorney detectives found the records in Jorgensen’s Hope Place residence, under his bed, Spota said.

“State department of transportation construction standards dictate asphalt must not be applied to a road surface in freezing temperatures and, in fact, the town’s own engineer has said repaving in freezing weather would result in the asphalt falling apart,” Spota said. “The repaving of a residential street doesn’t happen that often and when it does, residents are paying for a job done correctly, not a faulty repaving that will soon need pothole repair work.”

Smithtown Democratic Committee Chairman Ed Maher also called for Jorgensen’s resignation back in April after the charges surfaced, calling the taxpayers funding of his salary an outrage.

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