The Suffolk County Police Department Impound Section will hold an auction on April 1 at 9 a.m. at the Suffolk County Police Department Impound Facility, located at 100 Old Country Road in Westhampton. The auction begins at 9 a.m. and will be held rain or shine. There will be a preview of the vehicles on March 30 and March 31 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the impound yard. Vehicles will also be available for preview one hour prior to the start of the auction.
Approximately 120 lots will be auctioned off including sedans, SUVs, and motorcycles. All vehicles will start with a minimum bid of $300 and are sold as-is. For a full list of vehicles, registration information and terms and conditions for the auction, visit suffolkpd.org under Precinct and Specialized Units, click Impound Section followed by Upcoming Auctions and Events or click here.
Local offices are on the ballot this November, with legislative positions at the county and town levels up for grabs.
Suffolk County’s 6th District
Six-term incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker is termed out, setting up an open contest to fill her seat. In Anker’s absence, two major party candidates — both attorneys — have emerged.
Dorothy Cavalier, Anker’s chief of staff, has received her party’s nod. Cavalier began her legal career with AIG and Dime Savings Bank of New York, later transitioning to a small family practice in Ronkonkoma.
She joined Anker’s staff in February 2019. Asked why she entered the 6th District race, she told TBR News Media that her four years in Anker’s office had opened her to the possibilities of government.
“I started to see all of the good things that can be done in government,” she said. “I would like to stay in office, hopefully taking her seat, so I can continue those good works and the good things that we started.”
She added, “There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, and I think I’m the one who needs to be in the office to do it.”
If elected, Cavalier offered to prioritize environmental issues, focusing on measures promoting water quality and preserving open space.
“We need to protect our sole-source aquifer,” she said. “We need to continue to work on getting our water, keeping it clean and making it safe for everybody.”
The Democratic candidate cited coastal erosion along the North Shore as a critical situation for the 6th District. She also noted affordable housing and expanding mental health programs for veterans are priorities.
Representing the Republican Party in this race is Chad Lennon, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and an attorney focusing on military and veterans law.
He has worked part-time for state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) as a special assistant for veterans affairs and U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1) as a congressional aide.
“I have been someone who’s served my country, and I wanted to continue to do that at the local level,” he said. “I believe my experience with being an officer in the military, being an attorney, as well as the other positions I have held bring a level of leadership that no one else is bringing.”
He added, “I think I have an ability to lead from the front, put myself at the point of friction and make myself available to the constituents of the district.”
Lennon committed to tackling issues associated with public safety, stabilizing the county’s budget and finances and thoroughly investigating the September ransomware attack against the county’s information technology network.
He pledged to “work with the county to make sure we find out what happened with the cybersecurity breach and make sure that we have accountability, policies and training put in place to make sure that this kind of breach does not happen at our county in the future,” he said.
The Republican also cited the need for “standing with local officials to stop the ‘Queensification’ of Suffolk County that Gov. [Kathy] Hochul [D] is seeking.”
Brookhaven’s 2nd Council District
The boundaries of Brookhaven’s 2nd Council District underwent a considerable transformation during last year’s redistricting process. Most notably, the district stretched southward, now encompassing a sizable swath of Coram.
Incumbent Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) is up for reelection this year, along with the other six members of the Town Board. Before entering office in 2007, Bonner served as a legislative aide to Dan Losquadro (R), then-Suffolk County legislator and now incumbent Brookhaven highway superintendent.
Bonner also served as a trustee on the Rocky Point board of education and president of the Rocky Point Civic Association. In an interview, Bonner said she is running for reelection to continue working on various long-term projects.
“Every year you serve is like peeling another layer on the onion to tackle long-term issues,” she said. “In my years in office, we’ve done major stormwater remediation projects all along the North Shore, upgrades to our parks,” adding, “I would say, succinctly — to continue to do the good work on behalf of the residents.”
If reelected, Bonner said she would focus on the environment, noting, “We continue to battle and deal with climate change. The North Shore is always under attack, and there are more projects that I’d like to see come to fruition.”
Referencing examples of initiatives she has worked on with the Town Board, she cited cybersecurity, tax and spending caps and anti-nepotism legislation. The incumbent added that she would “continue fighting for Long Island to be a suburb and not a city.”
Challenging Bonner is Carol Russell, a resident of Coram. A retired nurse and trial attorney, she spent nearly 30 years defending doctors, nurses and other health care providers in litigation. Russell has also served as a mentor for the Dress for Success Brookhaven initiative and has volunteered to coach the mock trial team at Longwood High School.
“I look at our society, nationally and locally, and I see it is so divided and so broken,” she said. “I think people want to be listened to and included. I think our Town Board can do a better job at that, and I want to be a part of that.”
She referred to existing dynamics within the town government as “sort of a one-party rule for a good number of years now, and I’m not really sure the Town Board understands its residents or at least part of its residents.”
She regarded the two central issues within the town as the affordability crisis and the looming Brookhaven landfill closure.
“I’d like to see what can be done to alleviate some of the tax burdens on our residents,” she said, adding, “And I’m particularly concerned about the closing of the landfill, which is going to leave a huge gap in our budget.”
She further cited homelessness as an area of concern, particularly in Coram. “Homelessness is not exclusively but predominantly a mental health issue,” she said. “I think that there are ways that we as a town, in partnership with the county and the state, can do better.”
Public officials and drug prevention advocates are sounding the alarm over cannabis products packaged for children.
During a recent Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association meeting, civic vice president Sal Pitti circulated a flier revealing various cannabis products resembling commonplace children’s foods and household snacks.
Pitti, who is also active with the Town of Brookhaven’s Drug Prevention Coalition, suggested these products are branded for children and attributes the problem to false advertising.
“We all grew up with Trix and Cocoa Pebbles when we were kids,” he said. “It’s a branding that people know, they recognize and might more easily purchase.”
‘This is going to open up a door to our youth that’s going to hurt them. This is just a bomb that’s waiting to go off.’
Pitti detailed several potential dangers associated with tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana commonly known as THC, getting into the hands of young people. He said processed edible cannabis often has exponentially higher THC concentrations, which can get kids hooked on the substance more efficiently and create a gateway to harder drugs.
Recent statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse substantiate this claim. Samples analyzed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency since 1995 indicate that today’s cannabis products are nearly four times as potent as those collected in that year.
“They’ve sophisticated this technique to great extents,” Pitti said. “Now they’re making gummies, candies, granola bars, honeys and spreads out of this stuff. But the problem is, in processing all of this, that THC level has gone up dramatically.”
Pitti said packaging highly potent THC products to children signals potentially severe societal harm. “This is going to open up a door to our youth that’s going to hurt them,” he said. “This is just a bomb that’s waiting to go off.”
A crisis for children
Pitti is not alone in these concerns. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) has introduced legislation targeting the practice.
Her bill cites the risks associated with underage THC consumption, such as impaired memory and coordination, and the potential for hallucinations and paranoia among minors.
In an interview, Hahn suggested marketing cannabis in a manner that makes it desirable to children represents a public safety hazard.
“If it’s intentionally designed to look like candy, the purpose is to confuse the consumer,” she said, adding, “If an adult purchases marijuana gummies that are packaged similarly to candy-type gummies and a young child gets their hands on it and eats it unknowingly, that’s a very dangerous situation for the child.”
Hahn’s bill would require packaging of THC products to be plain, containing clear warning labels and prohibiting the words “candy” or “candies.” She noted that the measure’s goal is to make THC products less enticing to kids.
“The packaging of the products is incredibly important,” the county legislator said, stating the bill would prevent merchants from “mimicking candy wrappers, having logos that are like cartoons or characters or having flavors that are attractive to children.”
Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), chair of the county’s Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel, has signed on as a co-sponsor to Hahn’s bill. She referred to child-friendly THC packaging as a harmful way for cannabis sellers to market their products.
“These cannabis folks see this as a marketing strategy,” she said. “It’s creating a problem, we know for a fact, and we’re trying to address that.”
Marijuana was legalized in New York state in 2021 under the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act. The New York State Office of Cannabis Management is the regulatory arm overseeing the licensure, production, sale and taxation of cannabis throughout the state. In an email statement, the office confirmed the uptick in packaging branded for children.
“We have seen illicit sellers marketing products clearly imitating candies and snacks that target children,” said Lyla Hunt, OCM’s deputy director of public health and campaigns. “New York State would never allow those products to be sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries. Our enforcement teams are working every day to shut those sellers down.”
Further compounding the issue, Hunt added that illicit dealers often do not follow the same protocols as their licensed counterparts. “We also have heard reports unlicensed storefronts are not checking ID when selling illicit cannabis products, heightening the importance of shuttering these operators before they can do more harm,” she said.
According to her, OCM has worked to curtail the issue through stringent guidelines, putting forth regulations regarding packaging, labeling and marketing to mitigate this technique.
“We at New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management are committed to building a safe, regulated cannabis industry for consumers ages 21 and over that also protects those under 21,” the deputy director said.
OCM’s regulations concerning packaging echo several of the items raised in Hahn’s bill, restricting words such as “candy” and “candies” while mandating that packages be resealable, child-resistant and tamper evident. The guidelines also limit the use of cartoons, bubble-type fonts and bright colors on the packaging.
Despite OCM’s approach, Anker said the work of local and state government remains unfinished. “More must be done,” the county legislator said. She added, “This product is legally new to the market, and you need to be aware and do your part as a parent and as a teacher … to protect the kids.”
Local legislative elections are shaping up, with candidates across levels of government gearing up for county, town and village races.
Suffolk’s 5th District
Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), whose 5th District encompasses Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson Station/Terryville and Three Village, is termed out due to 12-year term limits for county legislators. To fill the open seat, former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and former congressional candidate Anthony Figliola have stepped up.
Before receiving his party’s nomination, Englebright had previously occupied the seat from 1984 to 1992, after which he entered the state Assembly. He described this year’s bid as “coming home.”
“It’s been some 30 years in Albany, but my heart is always here in the community,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”
The core issues facing the 5th District, Englebright contended, are those related to the environment and public health. He stated his core priorities are protecting Long Island’s sole-source aquifer and its coastal waters.
“Science has advanced, and the connection between our drinking water and our tidal waters is more explicitly understood now,” the former assemblyman said. “The challenges are awaiting a legislative response to the science, so I’d like to be a part of that. I think I can make a meaningful contribution.”
He said he hoped to continue working toward preserving open space if elected and also emphasized protecting the Setauket and Port Jefferson harbors from contamination. He viewed restoring the county’s information technology systems, promoting affordable housing and limiting sprawl as central.
Figliola was the third-place finisher in 2022 during the GOP primary for New York’s 1st Congressional District. Among his professional credentials, he has served as deputy supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven and is currently executive vice president of a government relations and economic development business. A resident of East Setauket, he will represent the Republican Party in this year’s 5th District contest.
“With Kara leaving, we need someone who has a plan for the future of our district to make sure that we represent everybody,” he told TBR News Media. “I’ve done a tremendous amount of work with small business, with the environment and volunteerism in this community.”
He added, “I just jumped at the opportunity to be able to represent the people that I live and work with.”
Like Englebright, Figliola stressed the importance of water quality in the Setauket and Port Jeff harbors. He said he would also explore opportunities for more sewers, addressing electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch line of the Long Island Rail Road as an area of concern.
“I want to continue the work that I’ve been doing on a volunteer basis for almost seven years, which is to help bring the electrification of the Port Jefferson rail line here,” he said.
He added that supporting small business districts, preserving and developing parks, and encouraging community-based planning will be in focus.
Brookhaven’s 1st Council District
Incumbent Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook), the sole elected Democrat in the town, is up for reelection this year. He entered the Town Board after a special election in March 2021 to replace former Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), who had won a seat on the state Supreme Court.
“Serving this community is something I’ve been doing for almost two decades through service on the [Three Village] school board, the [Three Village] Civic Association and other nonprofits like the Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “Community service is really my life’s passion.”
Kornreich stated that land use would remain a top-level interest if reelected, expressing concerns with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) housing proposal for Long Island.
“One of the big looming policy issues that we’re facing is this potential threat from the governor’s office about seizing zoning control and handing it over to bureaucrats in Albany who don’t understand our communities,” he said.
The incumbent added, “We do have an affordable housing crisis — it’s just very difficult for people to find affordable places to live, and we have to address that. But we have to address it in a thoughtful way that’s sensitive to the makeup of these communities and the built environment where they currently exist.”
He also touched upon the quality of life issues that affect his constituents, such as overdevelopment and sprawl. He pledged to focus on building viable downtowns and parks while protecting the environment.
Carrying the Republican Party’s nomination in the race for CD1 is Gary Bodenburg, a special education teacher who ran for the Comsewogue Board of Education last year.
“I believe good government is needed at all levels, so I plan on continuing the mission and vision of [Brookhaven Town Supervisor] Ed Romaine [R] in maintaining fiscal responsibility by controlling taxes and spending, addressing environmental concerns and also keeping a close eye over the overdevelopment of our suburbs,” Bodenburg said.
The Republican candidate addressed other policy concerns, such as streamlining services within the town government to “provide better value for our tax dollars.”
“Specifically, I think it’s important that we address a 25A corridor study,” he said, adding, “I also look to finalize plans with Lawrence Aviation, as well as better enforcement of housing codes for problems with off-campus student housing.”
Bodenburg said that reducing the impact of traffic and improving town parks and marinas would also be on his agenda.
Port Jefferson’s Board of Trustees
So far, only two candidates have emerged in the villagewide race for the Port Jefferson Board of Trustees election on June 20. Two seats are up for grabs — one uncontested, as Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden is running for mayor.
Trustee Stan Loucks will seek his fifth election, having joined the board in 2015. During his tenure, he has served as trustee liaison to the parks department and Port Jefferson Country Club, coordinating with the administration on stabilization plans for the East Beach bluff.
“I love working for the village, specifically the areas that I’m assigned to,” Loucks said. “I just want to keep going. That’s the bottom line.”
Asked what policies he would seek to implement in the coming term, Loucks said reinvigoration of PJCC would be a continued area of emphasis. “I’d like to see more social activities and more community get-togethers focusing around what I think is the gem of the village, and that’s the country club,” he said.
Between new racket sports facilities, recreational programs and the finalization of coastal engineering projects along the bluff, he expressed optimism for such a revival of PJCC. “I want to see it come back,” he said.
Former village clerk Bob Juliano is also in the running. He has had considerable professional experience in municipal government, holding various administrative posts throughout his career in Port Jeff, Westbury and Lindenhurst villages.
“I have the knowledge and experience of being a clerk and a treasurer for the past 30 years for three different municipalities,” Juliano said. “I figured I could use that expertise and my knowledge and my know-how and put it to good use for the community that I live in.”
If elected, Juliano said he would like to “slow down what’s going on uptown.” Like Kornreich, he expressed apprehensions over Hochul’s housing priorities. And similar to Loucks, he proposed exploring a better use for PJCC.
“I’m very concerned about the country club,” he said. “I know they’re progressing with the wall and everything, which is a fantastic thing, but I’d like to see the country club be more viable as well as more welcoming.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Insurance Fund announced on March 2 that his office was able to secure multiple agreements as well as convictions from numerous businesses in order to reimburse more than $750,000 in wages and contributions owed to workers and state agencies.
“Suffolk County residents who work hard to earn an honest living deserve to be compensated fairly for their hard work. Several of the businesses we held accountable have either shortchanged their employees’ wages, or found ways to circumvent the system and line their own pockets with money while emptying the pockets of the same people who contribute to their businesses’ success,” said District Attorney Tierney. “My office will continue to fight against the fraudulent and illegal practices of corporations when they fail to pay employees for their honest labor and will also strive to recover any funds unlawfully obtained by companies defrauding workers. I thank our Wage Theft Prevention Task Force partners for helping us get these workers what was owed to them.”
“Any employer who steals from their workers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in New York State,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “I thank Suffolk County District Attorney Tierney for being a steadfast ally in our fight against wage theft and for ensuring justice for the victims.”
This past year, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office worked with their Wage Theft Prevention Task Force partners to return the proper wages owed to hard-working employees. Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the requisite shutdown severely curtailed the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s capabilities to pursue long-term labor related crime operations, its investigative staff was nonetheless able to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars and effectuate numerous arrests. Many of the victimized employees finally saw justice when their cases were resolved in the past year. Some of those cases include:
JERNAIL SINGH, 64, of Glen Head, owner and principal agent of MH ONE ENTERPRISE, INC., a gas station and convenience store in Brentwood – Between October 2015 to January 2019, the business underpaid 19 employees by compensating them below the statutory minimum wage rate and did not pay their employees overtime wages if they worked in excess of 40 hours a week. Singh routinely made false promises to the employees to pay them properly for the time they worked, and threatened them if they complained to the New York State Department of Labor about the underpayments and the poor working conditions. In addition, Singh bullied one employee by threatening to contact immigration authorities and falsely report him to the police for a crime the employee did not commit. In another instance, after an employee complained to the New York State Department of Labor about his working conditions, Singh retaliated by contacting the employee’s subsequent employers in an attempt to get that employee terminated. Singh was arrested on December 15, 2020. On July 6, 2022, he pleaded guilty to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor and Prohibited Retaliation, a Class B misdemeanor. As part of his plea agreement, Singh paid nearly $240,000 in restitution to cover the amount he owed to his employees and the New York State Department of Labor. He was sentenced to three years of probationary supervision.
TRI-STATE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW YORK CORP. of Flushing – Between June 2018 and August 2018, while the company worked on a capital improvement project for the Huntington Union Free School District, it willfully failed to pay its employees the mandated prevailing wages and overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. The corporation was charged in August 2020 and pleaded guilty on March 28, 2022 to Willful Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage and Supplements, a Class E felony. As part of the plea, the company paid back $121,530 in restitution to 14 employees who labored on the school district project.
ALPHA CARTING & CONTRACTING SERVICES INC. of Bay Shore – Between June 2016 and May 2018, the corporation systematically underpaid four employees by reducing their wages below the statutory prevailing wage rate while they collected solid waste in the Village of Lake Grove. The corporation was charged on May 11, 2021, and pleaded guilty on August 30, 2022 to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. As part of the plea, they paid $96,732 to the affected employees and the New York State Department of Labor.
GOLDSTAR INSTALLATION SERVICES, INC. aka THE FLOOR WORX OF NY, INC. of Selden – From July 2016 to July 2019, while working on public works projects throughout Suffolk County, the company misclassified 12 employees in order to avoid paying them the statutorily mandated prevailing wage rate for public works contracts. On February 27, 2020, Paul Gilistro, 59, the principal agent of the corporation and the corporation itself were charged with criminal complaints. Both the corporation and Gilistro pleaded guilty on April 7, 2022 to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. As part of their plea agreement, the defendants paid $40,000 upfront in restitution to the victims and an additional $40,000 to be paid through probation.
WOODSTOCK CONSTRUCTION GROUP LTD. of Bayville – From November 2016 to May 2017, the company misclassified 19 employees and systematically failed to pay them the statutory prevailing wage rate and overtime wages for the hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week while working on the public works projects. Those projects were the Gilgo Beach Marina Dock Reconstruction Project in the Town of Babylon, the Bayport Beach Breakwater and Reconstruction Project in Town of Islip. On February 27, 2020, the corporation was charged, and on July 13, 2022 pleaded guilty on to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor, conditioned on the corporation paying back $66,776 to its employees for the underpayment of their wages.
BOB 1232 JERICHO CORP. aka DHCW Inc., of Huntington, operated DIX HILLS BRUSHLESS CAR WASH – Between 2014 to 2017, the business failed to pay its employees the statutory minimum and overtime wage rates for hours worked. This business additionally submitted a fraudulent New York State Department of Labor NYS-45 form containing false information in order to avoid paying unemployment contributions. After facing criminal charges, the corporation pleaded guilty on March 23, 2022 to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and was required to recompense $120,000 in restitution to their 11 employees and reimburse the New York State Unemployment Insurance Fund its required contributions.
APJ RESTORATION, INC. of St. James – Between August 2015 and August 2016, the corporation knowingly underreported their gross sales on documents submitted to the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). On February 27, 2020, the corporation and its principal agent, Alan James, 71, were charged and both later pleaded guilty on April 29, 2022 to Falsifying a Business Record in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. James is due back in court for sentencing on March 27, 2023. The defendants agreed to pay $32,575.63 owed in workers’ compensation insurance premiums due to the NYSIF.
These matters were investigated by Suffolk County District Attorney Detective Investigators, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Insurance Fund and the Suffolk County Police Department.
### Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.
Municipalities throughout Suffolk County will undergo significant leadership changes in 2023.
Three-term incumbent Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) cannot run for reelection due to 12-year term limits for county offices. Bellone’s absence at the top of the ticket has triggered a game of musical chairs across local governments, with an Election Day picture coming into focus.
Two major party candidates have emerged to fill Bellone’s seat. Businessman and former federal and state prosecutor Dave Calone entered the race last summer and has since gained the backing of the county’s Democratic Committee.
Between increasing economic development initiatives and expanding transportation options, Calone regarded Suffolk as a place of growing opportunities.
“I felt like we needed someone with a private-sector background to help capitalize on those opportunities for our region,” he said, adding that his prosecutorial experience could help alleviate the issue of crime throughout the area.
Calone said he would connect law enforcement personnel with new technologies if elected. “I come from the technology sector and feel we can do more when it comes to law enforcement, giving police the tools and training they need to fight crime and help prevent crime,” he said.
He emphasized county support in promoting small business sectors and encouraging those wishing to start a new business.
Calone may have a tall task ahead as recent election results suggest county residents are moving toward the right, with Republicans gaining a majority in the county Legislature in 2021 while flipping the district attorney’s seat.
To counteract these trends, Calone pledged to focus on local issues, which he suggested are matters of personal qualification rather than party affiliation.
“I think Suffolk County is less about left versus right, but who is going to have the vision to move Suffolk County forward,” the Democratic nominee said.
Opposing Calone is Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). He received his party’s nod during a nominating convention held Thursday, Feb. 23, in Ronkonkoma. Before becoming supervisor, Romaine was county clerk for 16 years starting in 1989 and did two separate tours in the county Legislature, one before and the other after his tenure as clerk.
“I’m running to work for the future of our county and its residents,” he told TBR News Media. “This is an opportunity to move Suffolk forward. And, quite honestly, nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”
The town supervisor added that he intends to campaign on the issues and policies he has overseen at the town level. He offered that fiscal responsibility and public trust in government remain top priorities.
“I’m looking to hold the line on taxes,” he said. “I’ve done it five different times with our budget, and I would like to do that with the county, reduce the county debt and improve the county bond rating to AAA.”
Romaine also addressed his environmental concerns, such as water quality and quantity. He proposed modernizing information technology systems, filling critical posts within the police department and resisting Albany’s development agenda for Long Island.
“I’m not a fan of the governor’s plan to urbanize our suburban communities,” he said.
Despite recent electoral history, a Republican has not occupied the county executive’s chair since Bob Gaffney left office in 2003. Asked why 2023 should be any different, Romaine suggested the coming election offers county voters a new direction.
“I think this is an opportunity to chart a new course,” he said.
In declaring for county executive, Romaine vacates his post as town supervisor. Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Dan Panico (R-Manorville) and Village of Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant (D) have stepped forward to fill the seat, securing their parties’ respective nominations last week.
Panico, whose 6th Council District consists of the town’s southeastern hamlets, was first elected to the Town Board in 2010 following the untimely death of Councilman Keith Romaine (R), the supervisor’s son. Panico had previously served on the Brookhaven Planning Board and as a senior deputy Suffolk County clerk.
“I believe in the power of town government to have a dramatically positive effect on the lives of the people that we represent and the communities that make up Brookhaven,” Panico said in an interview.
The deputy supervisor emphasized fiscal stability and open space preservation as two signature campaign positions.
“My record on open space preservation and the environment, I believe, is unmatched in this race,” he said, adding, “I am also fiscally conservative, and I have been able to work effectively with the town boards that I’ve served on … to accomplish meaningful goals in this town.”
Republicans currently hold eight of the 10 elected positions within the town government, with one council seat vacant. Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (Stony Brook) is the lone Democrat.
To replicate its success at the ballot box, Panico said his party “must continue to listen to the people whom we represent.”
On the opposite side of the aisle, Garant seeks to become the first Democratic town supervisor since Mark Lesko resigned midterm in 2012. In early February, she announced her retirement from the Port Jeff village government after serving 14 years as mayor.
“There was no intent or forethought that I was retiring to put my hat in the ring,” she said. However, plans for her run came together shortly after the announcement when town Democratic leaders asked for a meeting.
“It was believed at that time that Romaine would be going up to the county executive level, which kind of left an interesting opening,” Garant said.
The outgoing village mayor said she plans to apply the lessons learned at the village level to town government.
“The [Brookhaven] landfill fees represent 42% of the overall revenue in the town,” she said.
Given her background negotiating with the Long Island Power Authority in a tax grievance dispute settled in 2018, she considers herself uniquely qualified to tackle the loss of public revenue.
She added, “A self-sustaining waste management plan that speaks to utilizing the current infrastructure without expanding the carbon footprint, that’s something I’m very interested in grappling with.”
Along with the landfill closure, Garant said she would continue to focus on development, arguing that the town must “balance the quality of life and get some development done.”
While acknowledging that her party has “a lot of work to do” to be competitive this November, she remained optimistic.
“We have a very awesome slate” running for Town Board, she said. “I’m enthusiastic about what the slate brings, and I think the message we’re bringing is going to resonate.”
Port Jeff mayor
With Garant taking herself out of the running, Deputy Mayor and trustee Kathianne Snaden is the first declared candidate in the race for Port Jefferson Village mayor.
“When I first ran in 2019, my reason for running was to be the voice of those who never thought they had a voice,” she said. Since then, Snaden has gradually assumed greater responsibilities with more committee assignments, saying, “I think I’m in an even better position now to do that for the community.”
As the village’s public safety commissioner over the last four years, she considered the issue a paramount policy concern. “That has always been my number one concern in the village — to keep the community and the residents safe,” Snaden said.
More recently, she was assigned trustee liaison to the building and planning departments. “Over the last year or so, I’ve been doing a lot of work up there to help streamline and make the process easier for anybody looking for an application,” she said. “That’s something that I want to continue to work on.”
Snaden also mentioned that close coordination with the school district, greater parking opportunities and improved resident mobility would be areas of focus if she were elected mayor this June.
Snaden is currently alone in the mayoral contest. Whether others step forward to run, she said she remains “focused on the work that I’m doing now and [that’s] what I will continue to do in the future.”
Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) recently presented former Rocky Point resident Jim Malley with a proclamation for his work with the Hauppauge-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25.
Until his retirement, Malley was involved with IBEW Local 25 for 43 years, serving as one of only five financial secretaries in the history of Local 25.
Malley started his electrical worker apprenticeship directly out of high school. He rose through the ranks, participating in additional volunteer work and holding positions of leadership. Among these, he served as an examining board member, secretary of the executive board and vice president. He earned his bachelor’s degree during this time.
“Having known Jim throughout my service as a Suffolk County Legislator, it is an honor to recognize him for his lengthy union service, as well as his involvement in our community,” Anker said. “Having been brought up in an IBEW union family, I recognize the commitment and dedication it takes to serve both the union and our community.”
Save the date! Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road, Holbrook hosts a Job Fair sponsored by the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center on Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon. Representatives from Amazon, American Regent, Biocogent, LLC, NYS Solar, East/West Industries, Well Life Network, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Winters Bros Waste Systems and more will be on hand to discuss job opportunities. Bring your resume and dress for success. Call 631-585-5844 for more information.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office welcomed its newest hire, an emotional support canine named Tillman III, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the William J. Lindsay County Complex in Hauppauge.
Tillman is a 2-year-old Lab/golden retriever mix, bred and trained as a facility dog by Medford-based Canine Companions. Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grier, of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau, paired with Tillman, who will assist her as well as victims, witnesses and officers during traumatic events.
“This is a tough system for victims, especially child victims,” District Attorney Ray Tierney (R) said. Tillman is “very comforting, and it’s just a good opportunity to help the kids with a very recognizable and lovable thing in a very unrecognizable and tough situation.”
Together, Tierney and Tillman strolled through the various rooms and hallways throughout the office building, the staff greeting their newest colleague with delight.
The Sound Beach Civic Association met on Monday, Feb. 13, at the Sound Beach Firehouse, joined by public officials, first responders and special honoree Bill Pellenz.
A past president and longtime civic member who also accrued over 50 years in the Sound Beach Fire Department, Pellenz was recognized for his contributions to the greater area. Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) presented Pellenz with a town proclamation.
Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) recognized Pellenz for his commitment to public safety. She recounted the many challenges faced in planning and launching the North Shore Rail Trail, which formally opened last summer.
Anker said Pellenz was instrumental in bringing attention to key safety needs for the trail. “He understands where to go with issues,” she said. “We were able to make additional safety measures because of you, Bill.”
Representing U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1) was Peter Ganley, who presented Pellenz with a certificate of congressional recognition, particularly noting his efforts to support veterans throughout the hamlet.
William Rosasco, chief of the Sound Beach Fire Department, chronicled Pellenz’s long service to the department, starting as a probationary firefighter and working his way up the ranks to captain of Engine Company 2.
“In the 36 years that I’ve been a member of this department, it’s been a pleasure working with Bill and being able to call him a friend,” Rosasco said.
SBCA president Bea Ruberto discussed Pellenz’s several contributions within the civic, notably to Veterans Memorial Park.
“On behalf of the Sound Beach Civic Association, I want to thank you for all the work that you have done for this organization and the community,” she said. “Also, I want to thank you for all of the work that you will do,” to which Pellenz responded: “I’m not going anywhere.”
Following the ceremony, the civic held a brief meeting. Members were introduced to William Doherty, the 7th Precinct’s new inspector. In a brief statement to the body, he referred to his recent promotion as “the cherry on top of my career.”
“I look forward to working with everyone in this room through your elected officials and through my community liaison officers,” he said. “I tell you in my heart of hearts that this is the assignment that I wanted,” adding, “I don’t think I would have chosen any other precinct but the 7th.”
Ruberto reported that the civic would soon welcome a student volunteer from the Rocky Point school district, who will attend meetings.
“That’s one of the things that we really try to do,” she said. “We try to work with young people in our community.”
Following adjournment, the attendees enjoyed cake in Pellenz’s honor.