Town of Smithtown

The Town of Smithtown Municipal Services Facility has grown programming and services for the 2024 calendar year, geared towards saving residents money while repurposing materials.

The newest program has people hitting pedal to the metal, quite literally with the Smithtown Bicycle Co-op. Residents can now upcycle their bicycles for a good cause, when they drop off bikes to Municipal Services Facility (MSF.) Last month MSF employees delivered seventeen bikes to Smithtown Bicycle Co-op, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at FlowerField (Unit 18) in St James. The organization fixes up and provides free bikes, classes and access to repair tools, promoting health, safety, education & the concept of “paying it forward” through Recycling, Education and Community. Residents can drop off used bicycles free of charge at MSF during regular hours.

Residents can also unload “plastic film” products such as shipping bags, grocery bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, zip-loc bags, produce bags, etc. The plastic film will be repurposed through NexTrex Recycling to produce various products such as recycled composite lumber.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island Clothing & Textile Bins are now located at MSF. Clothing and other textiles may be dropped off at these bins during regular business hours.  There is no charge however, donation receipts are not provided.

Back and Better for 2024

The crew at Smithtown’s Municipal Services Facility will continue extracting and setting aside construction materials, lumber, doors, & windows that can be repurposed/reused by residents. Items are sorted and displayed on the west side of the recycling building. This practice has become especially important as the town looks for ways to minimize construction disposal costs, increase recycling and save residents money. There is no fee for this service and materials are available on a first come first service basis.

Curbside No No’s

Construction materials cannot be disposed of with regular household trash for collection by the Town or your garbage carter. All construction materials must be disposed of at the Town’s Municipal Services Facility at 85 Old Northport Road, Kings Park (269-6600) for a fee. Residents can also make arrangements with contractors to dispose of construction debris properly.

Upcoming Free Events at MSF:

The 2024 Free Household Hazardous Waste collection events are scheduled for Saturdays: April 20th, July 13th and October 5th from 7AM-3PM.

The 2024 Free Paper Shredding events are scheduled for Saturdays: May 4th & Oct. 19th, from 9AM-3PM. Limit: 3 File Boxes per vehicle.

Both events (rain or shine) are held at the Smithtown Municipal Services Facility in Kings Park. Receive a $5 Home Depot card at all three Household Hazardous Waste events for safely disposing recyclable batteries, propane tanks and mercury containing devices.

HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 7:00AM to 3:15PM

The Town of Smithtown Municipal Services Facility is located at 85 Old Northport Road, in Kings Park 

By Steven Zaitz

The middle of January assuredly brings two things to Suffolk County – unbearably cold temperatures and the Section XI Winter Track League Championships on the Brentwood campus of Suffolk Community College.

From Friday night to Sunday evening, Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena was packed to the rafters with athletes from over 50 high schools across the county on both the boys and girls sides.

In League II, Commack and Smithtown East both had standout performances in the arts and sciences of running, jumping, and throwing. They competed against the likes of the mighty Connetquot, who finished in the top spot for the boys and second for the girls, Bay Shore, who were among the top five overall for both boys and girls, North Babylon, whose girls team took first place in the league, and of course archenemy to both, the always-dangerous Northport.

The Commack girls finished in fourth place overall with many noteworthy performances. The 4×400 relay was the team’s crowning achievement by winning the event by more than five seconds. With a time of 4:20.75, the Lady Cougar foursome Alexandra Pulcini, Hailey Torres, Nicole Bransfield, and Kate Hearns bested second-place Connetquot, whose quartet ran a 4:25.82.

Junior Kathryn Vidulich was best in the triple jump, reaching 35 feet. Senior Sophia Toepfer was second in the long jump with a leap of 16”10’, besting her teammate Vidulich, who came in third, by only a quarter of an inch. Toepfer was third in the 300-meter dash and senior Nicole Bransfield was third in the 55-meter hurdles.

The Bulls of Smithtown East were led by freshmen Rayshelle Brown, who was second, ahead of Bransfield, in the 55-meter hurdles at 8.84 seconds and senior Sarah Wisnieski, who was second in the 1000-meters and fifth in the 1500. Brown broke the school record by .003, a record that stood for six years. Brooke Rosenberg and Annabelle Willie crossed the finish line almost simultaneously in the 600-meter run. Rosenberg’s time was 1:48.78 and Willie’s was 1:48.90, good for third and fourth respectively.

Competing on Sunday, the Commack Boys achieved second place overall, behind Connetquot. The Cougars saw a well-diversified showing from runners, jumpers, and throwers. 

Nicholas Vought, a senior, won the 300-meter dash with a blazing time of 36.51. Vought finished second to Northport star sprinter Vito LaRosa in the 55-meter dash with a 6.62. LaRosa clocked in at 6.50. Commack’s 4×800 relay team bested Northport with a time of 8:30.24, capturing first place. The quartet was made up of Alex Walsh, Dylan Manning, Aidan Piracci, and Sam Byrd. The anchorman Byrd, a senior, had a very busy day as he also placed second in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600. 

I have to give credit to my grandmother because she is an amazing cook, and she made a great dinner of pot roast and biscuits last night,” Byrd said. “Also, I took it pretty easy this week knowing that a lot of us were going to be doubling and tripling up, so I was ready to run. I was happy to win the [4×800] but I wish it was enough to catch Connetquot for the league title.”

Andrew Riggs finished in second place in the 55-meter hurdles for Commack, with a time of 8.12.

Kaden Jacques and Daniel Pagan both jumped to a height of 5’8” and were awarded third and fourth respectively, as Pagan snagged second in the long jump with a flight of 20-8. Anthony Pisciotta was fourth in shot put with a throw of 42-4.75.

The Smithtown East Bulls Braden McCormick jumped to glory, capturing first place in the high jump at 6’5”. It was the highest jump of the day by a full five inches and after clearing the bar, McCormick, joined by his teammates, set off a wild, fist-pumping celebration that rocked the arena. With this giant leap, McCormick qualifies for the New Balance Indoor Nationals in Boston later this year. 

“It felt great clearing six foot five,” said McCormick. “I never thought I’d be jumping this high since only last spring I was having trouble clearing five feet ten. I’ve been lifting a lot more this season and the coaches on this team have really helped me get to the next level.”

Elsewhere for the Bulls, Kaelen Sue-Kam-Ling was third in the long jump competition with a leap of 20-2.5. Sue-Kam-Ling and his three teammates Josh Bobadilla, Jason Triolo, and Nicholas Piccoli finished fourth in the 4×200-meter relay to round out the activities for the weekend in League II.

The Suffolk County championships are up next for these track stars, and those meets will be held over the first weekend in February at the same venue.

Suffolk County Legislators Leslie Kennedy and Rob Trotta recognized the Smithtown West Varsity Boys and Girls Soccer Teams at the December 20, 2023 meeting of the Legislature for winning the Long Island Class AA championship for their respective teams.

This was the first time in the school’s history that both the boys and girls soccer teams won the championship.

Legislators Kennedy and Trotta in commending the students noted that they demonstrated their athletic ability and outstanding team work while their coaches and athletic director have shown the importance of perseverance and commitment.

Lil Bruno

LET’S TALK ABOUT BRUNO!

Lil Bruno

This week’s shelter pet is Lil Bruno, a two-year-old tabby available for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter.

Sweet Lil Bruno was adopted from the shelter as a kitten and returned when his family fell on hard times. He is a quiet and laid-back guy that prefers a calm environment. Once he gets comfortable, he is affectionate and sweet. This poor boy is a little shell shocked to be back in the shelter; he needs a hero to rescue him. Will that be you?

If you would like to meet Lil Bruno, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with him in a domestic setting. The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

By Raymond Janis

Public officials, faith leaders and residents gathered at Smithtown Town Hall Monday night, Dec. 11, braving low temperatures and frequent gusts of wind for a menorah lighting ceremony.

Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) tied this year’s annual Hanukkah service to the ongoing geopolitical turmoil abroad and rising antisemitism in the United States.

“This year’s celebration is a commitment to our family, friends and neighbors,” he said. “It is a promise as we stand side by side to extinguish antisemitism as we light the night sky tonight, and we hope for peace both abroad and here at home.”

Rabbi Mendel Teldon of Chabad of Mid Suffolk presided over the prayer service. He thanked the strong show of community support during the ceremony, reflecting upon the example of the Maccabees in the face of religious persecution in Israel and America.

“In Smithtown, we are asked to step up to the plate,” the rabbi said. “Even when there’s opposition, even when there are values that oppose our own and people that will shout us down, a Macabee steps up to the plate.”

Following a blessing from the rabbi and a ceremonial lighting of the menorah, the attendees were greeted with latkes and donuts in the parking lot.

File photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis

During its Thursday, Nov. 16, meeting, the Smithtown Town Board approved two code amendments. It also held a public hearing on its 2024 community development program.

Assistant town attorney Janice Hansen explained the first code amendment, including stricter noise violation penalties. The amendment increases the fine for first-time violators of Chapter 207, entitled “Noise,” from $250 to $500. The penalties for second- and third-or-more-offense noise violations go up from $500 to $1,000 and $1,000 to $1,500, respectively. Hansen said the town may enforce the noise code in residential and commercial areas.

Following no public comments, the board unanimously adopted the amendment.

The second proposed code change involved an addition to Chapter 221, the town’s property maintenance code. Hansen said the new section, “Post-disaster debris collection,” empowers the town to move more swiftly during emergencies.

The amendment authorizes the town to “enter upon and remove debris from public and private roads, right-of-way, storm drainage easements and ingress/egress easements within town limits,” the statute said, “including private communities, private properties, utilities and/or infrastructure impoundments and/or containments for the purposes of emergency vehicle travel, stormwater conveyance, protecting public health and safety, facilitating response and recovery operations, and for any other purpose the Town Emergency Manager or designee determines is necessary to remove an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, significant damage to improved public and private property, and the economic recovery of the town.”

Hansen said that to enter private property, the town must first obtain consent from the property owner through a right-of-entry permit. Following no comments from the public, the board adopted the resolution unanimously.

The board considered the town’s 2024 community development program during the final public hearing. The municipality anticipates receiving roughly $211,000 through federal Community Development Block Grant programs, according to a public notice.

The grant funds, made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are intended to support “infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, clearance/acquisition, microenterprise assistance, code enforcement and homeowner assistance,” the HUD website indicates.

Kelly Brown, housing rehabilitation administrator for the town’s Planning & Community Development Department, presented the aims of the 2024 program. She said projects under consideration must fulfill two conditions.

“Every project must qualify as a designated eligible activity, such as housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvement or handicapped access improvements,” she said, adding, “Every project must meet one of three specifically defined CD program objectives,” which are benefiting people of low-to-moderate income, prevention or elimination of blighting conditions or meeting an urgent community need, such as storm damage cleanup.

To watch the full meeting, including the consent agenda and board resolutions, visit www.smithtownny.gov/226/town-meetings.

File photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis

During a general meeting at Town Hall, the Smithtown Town Board adopted its annual budget totaling $129.6 million for 2024 Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 7.

Spending increased 2.76%, with the average homeowner to see a roughly $30 tax increase in the year ahead. 2024 road program funding remains consistent with previous years, with the town investing $5.2 million for roadway improvements. And the fee for residential solid waste will increase by $10.

For a detailed report of the various FY24 appropriations, visit the town website.

Land use

The board approved the site plan for the property at the northeast corner of Lake Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue in St. James.

The board approved the site plan for a new 7-Eleven on the property, subject to eight conditions. Peter Hans, the town’s planning director, outlined the various conditions, which include proper permitting, fencing and preservation of existing vegetation and a provision for a site plan addendum application for modification to the proposed architecture, among other criteria.

“The proposal is to demolish the existing bank building that’s on the property and replace it with a new 7-Eleven building that’s slightly larger than the existing building in roughly the same location,” Hans said.

Another condition will be prohibiting the sale of vape and hookah products at the location. Hans noted that the property owners are complying with the conditions. Following the presentation, the Town Board approved the new 7-Eleven site plan.

Enforcement proceedings

The board also heard two public hearings to consider separate entries onto two properties. Martin Simon, assistant town attorney, presented photographs of the conditions at 422 Lake Ave. S. in Nesconset.

“There’s been a constant accumulation of junk, rubbish and debris at the site,” Simon said. “An attempt was made by the homeowner in early September to mow the grass, but that’s about as far as she got. Since then, there’s been no progress.”

Following the hearing, the board agreed to let the town enter the property to remove and remediate the rubbish, debris, tall grass, weeds and overgrown vegetation on-site.

In a separate hearing, the board considered entering the property of 769 Middle Country Road in St. James to remove an “unsafe structure” on the property. Following a discussion with counsel representing the property owner, the board agreed not to enter the property for now.

Dog park

During the public comment period, multiple residents expressed concerns with the town-operated dog park behind The Smithtown Library.

Resident Anne Hoffman referred to the conditions at the dog park as “in such disrepair, it’s almost dangerous to go there.”

Following the commentary regarding the complex, Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) advised the concerned residents that he would arrange a meeting with them to discuss future remediation.

The Town Board will meet again on Thursday, Nov. 16, with scheduled public hearings to amend sections of the Town Code related to noise and property maintenance.

Romaine's win continues rightward political shift in the county

Suffolk County Executive-elect Ed Romaine delivers his victory speech at Stereo Garden in Patchogue Tuesday night, Nov. 7. Photo by Raymond Janis

By Raymond Janis and Aidan Johnson

As returns came in Tuesday night, Nov. 7, electricity pulsed through Suffolk GOP headquarters. 

Republicans flipped the Suffolk County executive’s seat for the first time in two decades, with Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine cruising to victory over his Democratic opponent, businessman Dave Calone, by a 57-43% margin as of Wednesday morning.

“Thank you, Suffolk,” the county executive-elect told the audience assembled at Stereo Garden in Patchogue. “You’ve given me a large mandate tonight — you’ve crushed it.” 

“And we’re going to use that mandate to move this county forward,” he added.

Calone concedes, county executive transition commences

At the Democratic headquarters in Holtsville, Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman and Town of Babylon supervisor, Rich Schaffer, addressed the deflated crowd as the results started to come in.

“Obviously, we would have wanted to be on the winning side tonight, but we know that what we are up against is not only the atmosphere created out of Albany, the atmosphere that’s created out of Washington, and that has hurt us here as a brand in Suffolk County,” he said.

In his concession speech, Calone thanked his family, team, running mates and outgoing county executive Steve Bellone (D), along with his supporters.

“I want to thank the people of Suffolk County for the last year, for the chance to visit with you, your families from one end of this county to the other,” he said. “And I am so proud of the ticket we put together.”

“I promise to continue working with all of you as we move and push meaningful solutions that affect the lives of the people of Suffolk County,” Calone added.

Bellone congratulated Romaine on his victory, pledging to do “everything I can to assist the new county executive-elect and his administration.”

“I am committed to ensuring a seamless transition and handover of responsibilities to the new administration beginning on Jan. 1,” he said in a statement. “To that end, I have asked Chief Deputy County Executive Lisa Black to lead our administration’s efforts to coordinate with the incoming administration.”

Republicans expand county Legislature majority

Romaine’s victory was fortified by steady gains in the county Legislature.

Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point) flipped the county’s 6th Legislative District, besting Dorothy Cavalier (D-Mount Sinai) 61-39% in the race to succeed termed-out Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai).

“I would not be here today without you,” Lennon told the audience. “Thank you for entrusting me. I’m looking forward to a successful two years.”

Majority Leader Nick Caracappa (C-Selden) won reelection in the 4th District over Timothy Hall 64-36%. Additionally, incumbent Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) cruised to reelection with 69% of the vote in the 12th District. And Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) won his uncontested race in the 13th District with over 99% of the vote.

In Huntington, incumbent Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-Centerport) narrowly defeated her Democratic Party challenger Dr. Eve Meltzer-Krief, of Centerport, 53-47% in the 18th District.

Former state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) defeated Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) 53-47%, winning the 5th District seat left vacant by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

“I’m looking forward to working on the environmental issues that are tied to the economy, such as tourism, and we really have a chance with the people who are being elected here tonight to make a difference going forward in the county Legislature,” Englebright said, before all of the final results had come in.

According to the unofficial results, the Republicans gained one seat in the county Legislature, giving the party a veto-proof 12-6 supermajority.

Town-level victories

The GOP racked up considerable victories across the towns of Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington.

In the race to succeed Romaine as supervisor of the county’s largest township, Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R) defeated SUNY Old Westbury professor Lillian Clayman (D) 62-38%.

“We know what our mandate is,” the supervisor-elect said. “We are going to govern correctly. We are going to be bold in our initiatives. This is a new day in the Town of Brookhaven, and I am proud to be the supervisor.”

Panico pledged to redirect the focus of the town government toward traditionally nonconservative areas, adding, “We are going to make major inroads throughout this entire town.”

Alongside Panico, Republicans held onto their 5-1 majority on the Town Board. Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) and Councilman Neil Manzella (R-Selden) were both reelected carrying 65% of the votes in their districts.

Incumbent Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) retained his seat with a 55-45% margin of victory over Republican challenger Gary Bodenburg.

“For the past three years, I have worked hard to represent the more than 80,000 residents of Three Village, Port Jefferson village, Port Jefferson Station and Terryville, and last night the community hired me to serve another term,” Kornreich said in a statement.

“I love this community and promise to keep showing up for them day in and day out, celebrating our successes and sharing our challenges,” he added.

Brookhaven voters also reelected incumbent Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) and Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia (R) with 62% and 63%, respectively.

Republicans swept each townwide race in Smithtown. Town clerk candidate Tom McCarthy — not the incumbent town councilman — cruised to victory over Bill Holst (D) carrying 65% of the townwide vote. Incumbent Smithtown Receiver of Taxes Deanna Varricchio (R) retained her seat by a 2-1 margin of victory over challenger Amy Fortunato (D). For Town Board, incumbent town Councilman Thomas Lohmann (R) and Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo (R) each carried 33% of the vote over Democratic challengers Maria Scheuring and Sarah Tully.

In Huntington, Republicans expanded their majority on the Town Board to a sweeping 5-0, if the unofficial results hold. In an extremely close four-way contest, Republican candidates Brooke Lupinacci and Theresa Mari edged their Democratic counterparts Jen Hebert and Don McKay. Lupinacci and Mari received 25.5% and 25.4% of the vote respectively to Hebert’s and McKay’s 25% and 23.9% share respectively.

Incumbent Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman (D) was reelected over Pamela Velastegui (R) 53-47%, and incumbent Town Clerk Andrew Raia (R) won reelection over Linda Davis Valdez (D) 57-43%.

Callahan Beach. Photo from Town of Smithtown
Callahan Beach. Photo from Town of Smithtown

Callahan’s Beach in Fort Salonga has now reopened to Smithtown residents. The announcement was made in a press release on Nov. 7. Major infrastructure repairs were necessary after the seawall collapsed as a result of Tropical Depression Ida and a second storm which caused further damage shortly after. All new drainage infrastructure was installed, along with the total reconstruction of the seawall. The stairs have been rebuilt, with platforms in between stories. The bluff had to be completely rehabilitated and features rows of plantings. All new walkways, curbing, and asphalt have also been completely paved.

“Callahan’s Beach is absolutely stunning. People have been walking the beach and commenting all day about how gorgeous of a job the Town did. I’d like to personally thank the Parks Department, Jim Longworth, Pioneer Asphalt, Hayduk Engineering, and our Department of Environment and Waterways, who worked with DEC to get the permit process moving. This was a massive undertaking. One that was met with obstacles like supply chain issues, and red tape. However, the incredible amount of teamwork involved solidified a beautiful end result… one that Smithtown residents will enjoy for years to come,” said Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The facility will remain open to the public, while the Parks Department will begin constructing a new playground and pickle ball courts at Callahan’s Beach. Construction work on the playground and pickleball areas will be contained so that public access will not be interrupted.

Smithtown town clerk candidates Tom McCarthy, left, and Bill Holst debate the issues facing the office. Photos by Raymond Janis

Former Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo (R) got a promotion last November when county voters elected him as Suffolk County clerk after 16 years in the Smithtown Town Clerk’s Office.

The vacancy Puleo left behind in January has remained unfilled ever since. Now, for the first time in nearly two decades, town residents will choose his successor.

Stepping forward for the role are Bill Holst (D) and Tom McCarthy (R). McCarthy is not the same person as incumbent town Councilman Thomas J. McCarthy (R).

Holst has served in various public service roles throughout his professional career. He was an assistant town attorney in Smithtown and Central Islip. He was appointed as Suffolk County clerk by former Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) until losing that post in an election against then-county Legislator Ed Romaine (R).

“By and large, I enjoy public service,” Holst said. “I think there’s an opportunity, since the town clerk’s position has been vacant since January, to improve the dialogue” within town government.

McCarthy hails from the security sector, where he worked in various management roles and specialized in investigations, executive protection and security aberrations.

“It’s not about politics. It’s about service,” he said. “I was responsible for all aspects of managing a multimillion-dollar profit center in addition to overseeing all the security operations. I have skill sets in administration, finance, operations, client services and HR,” adding that he intends to leverage this private-sector background for Smithtown residents.

Role of the clerk

In outlining what he views as the principal responsibilities of the town clerk, McCarthy referred to the position as “a forward-facing client service office” that also serves as secretary to the Town Board.

“We provide licenses that protect people, property and the environment,” he said. “The town clerk provides permits for people to make a living lawfully. We touch people’s lives at very tender moments — birth, marriage.”

He emphasized that the town clerk is not a policymaker but a service provider. “What it’s about is transparency, security of the records and providing those services to our people,” McCarthy said.

Holst referred to the clerk’s office as “the gateway to the town.” He emphasized that the position has been vacant since January, with the deputy clerks having kept the office running since that time.

“I think that if the people in the existing office can run the office without anyone being appointed, then the person who is running should be able to justify what they’re bringing,” he said. “I’m bringing years of experience as an assistant town attorney, a county attorney and the chief legal officer of the City of Long Beach, where I was involved with things like land use.”

While the clerk may fall outside the political functions overseen by the Town Board, Holst said the clerk’s role is to “make them reach higher on behalf of the taxpayers.”

Cybersecurity

In light of last year’s cyberattack against the Suffolk County government, a ransomware event crippling the county government’s IT infrastructure for months and compromising residents’ sensitive information, both candidates were asked how they would fortify the town’s network, keeping sensitive records safe.

Holst said overseeing the system’s passwords would be a necessary deterrent while coordinating closely with town IT personnel. “I think that in terms of the security matters, it all has to be done with the town’s IT department,” he said.

McCarthy cited deterrence, detection and response as the “three pillars of cybersecurity.” He noted that the human element is generally the weakest link within any cybersecurity program.

“The biggest part is training and enabling your people, creating an environment where they can be excellent,” he said.

Resident access

As a service provider within town government, the clerk frequently interacts with constituents. McCarthy touted the accessibility of the office as it stands today.

“We want the experience to be welcoming,” the Republican candidate said. “We want 100 percent customer satisfaction. You can do that by providing an environment where your team can reach excellence, and they can produce and provide a service to the public.”

Holst contended that the real value of the clerk’s position comes from maximizing its service functions as outlined under the code. “Even with Freedom of Information Act [requests] … the Town Code talks about how documents can be made through the Town Clerk’s Office,” he indicated.

Staffing

Currently, there are two appointed deputy clerk positions within the office, with the others being civil service positions. When asked for the principles that would guide personnel matters, Holst said his past experience working alongside civil service officials would be an asset.

“I had a lot of dealings with labor issues, and I definitely respect anyone who’s in the civil service,” he said.

McCarthy said his private-sector background has guided his approach to personnel hires. He emphasized finding staff who are enthusiastic about providing a service and adding value to others.

“One of the things you want is someone who enjoys people, has the personality and the intelligence to learn and a dedication to do customer service,” he said. “Those are the skills you look for.”

Open government

When asked how they would promote open government within the office and bring residents closer to town government, McCarthy emphasized the value of transparency. “From the outside looking in, I see a functional office,” he said. “If you just get on the website, you can get just about any information you want.” He also promoted maintaining an open-door policy.

Holst said the clerk could advocate for promoting the Public Officers and Open Meetings laws. “I don’t think the Open Meetings law is being followed,” he said. “Although I can’t force [the Town Board] to do something, I can certainly raise the issue.”

Smithtown voters will choose one of these two candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 7.