Village of Port Jefferson

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville girls field hockey at 6-0 in their division looked for another win in a road game against Sachem East (5-1) Saturday morning, Sept. 23, in a windswept driving rain as senior midfielder Olivia Comerford rocked the box at the 3:28 mark of the opening quarter to put the Patriots out front. Midway through the 3rd quarter Sachem East answered when Ava Stunder’s shot found its mark to tie the game 1-1. The final 12 minutes of regulation wouldn’t decide the outcome of the game, forcing overtime in the miserable conditions.

Sachem East’s Kacey Berger settled the matter 6:28 into the sudden death overtime period when she scored off an assist for the game winning goal for the 2-1 victory. 

Sachem East improves to 6-1 as the Patriots dropped to 6-1 in the Division I contest.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees was back before the public Monday night, Sept. 18, for a business meeting spanning roughly two hours and covering a range of local matters.

Parking pilot program

With Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay as the lone dissenter, the board passed an amended resolution 4-1 enabling the issuance of parking permits for Belle Terre residents to park in metered spaces.

In this pilot program, which will last for the remainder of the 2023 calendar year, parking passes for Belle Terre residents will be offered at a prorated expense of $25. This parking pass does not confer access to the PJV resident lot on Arden Place.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow read an email into the record from Village of Belle Terre Mayor Bob Sandak, who characterized the parking pass initiative as mutually beneficial to both municipalities.

“For many years, the residents of Belle Terre have said that they would spend much more time in the village of Port Jefferson if they could have a simple and inexpensive way to park,” the email read. “Any solution you choose to adopt would be much appreciated by the residents of Belle Terre and would, I am sure, prove to be a financial benefit to the businesses of Port Jefferson.”

Outlining reasons for the program, Sheprow said the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District unanimously supported the proposal.

Trustee Drew Biondo considered the parking pass program “cost-neutral and revenue-producing.”

In supporting the motion, trustee Bob Juliano suggested that the pilot program offers 11 weeks to test and evaluate the program: “It doesn’t mean I’m going to approve it going forward, but let’s try it for the 11 weeks and let’s see what it produces,” he said.

Explaining her “no” vote, Kassay indicated that parking accommodations for village employees remain unresolved.

“For years, I’ve heard consistent requests from Port Jefferson business owners asking the village to consider making parking passes available to their employees who are spending $1.50 per hour to go to work,” the deputy mayor said in a subsequent email. “A solution for this concept, as well as the concept of parking permits for nonresident visitors, deserves a great deal of time and discussion from the village board, staff and community at large.”

She added, “I hope the 2024 paid parking season in PJV will begin with a convenient, comprehensive parking permit program for recreational visitors and local employees alike.”

QR code scam

Parking and mobility administrator Kevin Wood updated the board of a recent scam targeting some of the village’s metered parking signs.

“Some group of people or person — most likely this weekend — placed perfectly square, fraudulent QR codes over the existing QR code on some of the signs,” Wood told the board.

Those who scanned the fraudulent code “were offered a flat fee parking rate of $20,” Wood said, adding, “We don’t know exactly how many people were defrauded, but I will tell you we caught it very early Saturday night.”

Wood estimated approximately 12-15 parking signs had been tampered with, maintaining that all fake QR codes had been removed. He added that a detailed report on the incident was sent to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Proposed schedule change

The board debated a proposal to move its regular meetings from Monday to Thursday.

Village clerk Sylvia Pirillo said the existing meeting schedule often conflicts with holidays, adding that there are other logistical challenges for village staff.

“We’re recommending instead the second and final Thursday of each month” for board of trustees meetings, Pirillo said. “We also feel that for staff and for work product that this would be a more consistent schedule. We now have warrants that are once a month, and this would help with the processing.”

Biondo supported the schedule change, saying, “It’s good to try something new. If it doesn’t work, we can caucus and decide to go back.”

Kassay referred to the logic for changing the schedule as “sound.” However, she asked the board to consider public feedback before adopting the change.

“I, as a trustee, have learned that making large, sweeping decisions like this without giving the public a chance to have their voices heard is often greeted quite negatively,” the deputy mayor said.

The board did not hold a vote on the change of schedule.

New treasurer

The village’s new treasurer, Stephen Gaffga, attended his first board meeting Monday night, delivering a brief report on his plans for the office.

Moving forward, Gaffga said he would present monthly financials, including fund balance information, expenses and revenues, also budget transfers. He proposed some changes to office procedures.

“I want to be able to tighten up the procurement procedures here a little bit to be able to allow for more transparency in how the money is being spent — taxpayer money, country club money, capital funds — and to also allow more clarity when it comes to the warrants,” he said. “I think the more information there is, the better.”

To watch the entire meeting, including trustee reports, please see the video above.

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees hosted its monthly general meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5, when it addressed a recent emergency response situation over Labor Day weekend while advancing other local business.

Public safety

Code enforcement chief Andy Owen updated the public on a bomb threat in Port Jeff Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 3, highlighting the misinformation circulated on social media.

“This past Sunday, we had a bomb threat,” Owen indicated. “Once again, Facebook blew up, and it was all false. Everything you read on Facebook was false.”

The code chief said nine agencies were involved, including the Suffolk County Police Department, the village code department and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others.

“As per the Real Time Crime Center, it was a false threat,” Owen said. “It was deemed low risk by Suffolk County.”

The code chief reported that as the event unfolded in real time, “a lot of scuttlebutt” circulated on Facebook concerning the lack of an immediate public statement from the village.

“There are several reasons why a statement wasn’t put out,” he said. “One, to prevent chaos and unwanted onlookers,” adding that the code department had also sought “to ensure a proper and thorough investigation.”


Mayor Lauren Sheprow said the board is considering a resolution “to create a parking pass situation where Belle Terre residents can purchase a pass for the season and not have to worry about paying the parking meters on a regular basis.”

“That might encourage Belle Terre residents to come down more often, and then if that works for Belle Terre residents, maybe we can expand it out to other members of the community,” the mayor added.

Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay, who had attended the recent listening tour event in Brentwood on the New York State Environmental Bond Act [See story, “NYS offers possibilities of $4.2B bond act for Suffolk County, urges public input,” Aug. 31, TBR News Media], referred to the event as “illuminating,” with potential for the village to make use of those funds to confront a range of climate-related challenges.

Kassay added to the ongoing local debate surrounding the closure of the Port Jefferson Station office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, saying the closure would require village residents to travel farther, experience longer wait times and less availability of appointments.

Trustee Bob Juliano indicated that he would hold his first sit-down event this Saturday, Sept. 9. “I’ll be over at the Village Center in the living room from 9 to 10:30 [a.m.] if anybody wants to come by and just discuss with me different things going on in the village, different ideas,” he said.

Trustee Stan Loucks reported that village beaches remain open, though there are no longer lifeguards. “Be aware and careful up there if you’re going to be swimming,” he advised. He added that the bathrooms at East and West Beach will remain open.

Loucks also reported on a recent meeting with leaders from the Port Jefferson School District, who had expressed interest in extending speed tables along Scraggy Hill Road. [For more on these public safety concerns, see story, “Port Jeff village board holds public hearing on Scraggy Hill stop signs …” Aug. 24, TBR News Media website.]

Other business

The board had also agreed to enter into an internship agreement with Stony Brook University to offer programs such as public administration, civil engineering, information technology, communications, graphic design and other disciplines.

“We’re working very closely with the career center to make these internships come together,” Sheprow said. “We’re very excited about working with the university students to help pull our village into the current century.”

The board voted to accept the resignation of deputy village attorney Richard Harris, effective Sept. 14. “I just want to thank attorney Harris for his years of service to the village,” Kassay said. “He was always a strong colleague, and his work here is appreciated.”

To watch the full general meeting, including public comments, see the video above.

Port Jefferson’s temporary village hall was located in leased facilities on the west side of Main Street. Photo from author's collection

After Port Jefferson incorporated in 1963, the village Board of Trustees established a temporary village hall in leased facilities on the west side of Main Street.

Since the easily forgotten storefront location was hardly impressive and the small space soon proved inadequate, a plan for a permanent village hall was advanced in 1964 by Port Jefferson’s first mayor, Robert L. Robertson.

He proposed the construction of an elegant and capacious million-dollar village center that would house both government offices and recreational facilities, including a community swimming pool.

The multipurpose complex would be built on West Broadway, facing Port Jefferson Harbor, on land acquired by the village and once occupied by Loper Brothers Lumber Yard.

While The Port Jefferson Record applauded Robertson’s “visionary” proposal, the Board of Trustees decided not to proceed with the project, pending the completion of a village master plan by consultants Raymond & May.

The master plan, released in July 1965 during the administration of Port Jefferson’s second mayor, Clifton H. Lee, provided a guide for the future development of the village and recommended that the West Broadway tract be used exclusively for Port Jefferson’s seat of government.

Village of Port Jefferson founding mayors Clifton H. Lee, left, and Robert L. Robertson, right, both worked to establish a village hall. Photo from the Lee Family collection

Milton S. Osborne, who had directed the Penn State School of Architecture, also conferred on the project, and supported using the West Broadway site strictly for village hall while building public parks and recreation areas at other locations throughout Port Jefferson.

With a clear goal in mind, the Board of Trustees formed the Architectural Selection Committee which reviewed sketches and interviewed architects before recommending Anthony J. Lorio (1928-2013) as their choice to design village hall.

Lorio proposed the construction of a 7,000-square-foot, two-story, Georgian-style brick building, on a raised podium. Preliminary renderings were displayed throughout Port Jefferson, and residents were invited to offer their opinions.

While most reviews were positive, there were some who called for softening the village hall’s facade. After making minor modifications in his design, and with the trustees’ support, Lorio began preparing working plans for the building.

In April 1966, construction of village hall went out to bid, but all 19 proposals were rejected as too expensive. The Board of Trustees, which had wanted to keep total costs under $200,000, went out to bid a second time in winter 1967 but was frustrated again with the high numbers.

Today’s Port Jefferson village hall, located at 121 W. Broadway. File photo

After considerable discussion, the trustees agreed that construction costs were likely to increase because of the Vietnam War’s inflationary impact and it was best to accept a $264,000 bid before prices rose even more.

Port Jefferson broke ground for village hall in April 1967, but nationwide strikes in various industries so delayed progress locally that the building was not ready for business until May 1968.

Over the years, village hall has become more than just a municipal building and is now a seaside landmark, evoking that sense of place that makes Port Jefferson so special.

Kenneth Brady has served as the Port Jefferson village historian and president of the Port Jefferson Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Suffolk County Historical Society, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and Port Jefferson Historical Society. He is a longtime resident of the village.

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees held its biweekly business meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, accompanied by a public hearing to consider adding north- and south-facing stop signs on the west and east sides of Scraggy Hill Road.

Public hearing

Situated at Scraggy Hill Road is the Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. Speed tables currently help to slow traffic around the school.

Village attorney David Moran explained the purpose behind the public hearing, stating that adding or removing all village stop signs requires an amendment to the village code, “and in order to add a stop sign to the village, you have to go through this process.”

During the public hearing, Ray DiBiase, the village’s Planning Board chair and a nationally certified traffic operations engineer, noted the issue of people driving around the speed tables on the roadway. “My first inclination would be to extend those speed tables,” he suggested.

Several neighbors turned out Monday night, shedding light on the situation. Stella Cohen reported that village stop signs are routinely disregarded and that the issue could only be resolved with adequate traffic enforcement.

“I have no objection to this motion whatsoever, but it’s paying lip service to a problem you’re not going to fix with a stop sign,” Cohen said. “I would respectfully ask the board, in addition to considering this motion, to also [consider] a motion on a future date for speed cameras.”

Ernie Geiger, another resident, summarized the “nightmare” situation around the elementary school. He advised the board to hire a traffic specialist. 

“I think that what you’re looking at now is the tip of the iceberg, and I really don’t think that stop signs are going to do any good at this point,” he told the board. “I think somebody should look at it, look at the signage that’s there and make an intelligent decision instead of just throwing up two stop signs.”

Ryan Walker, a trustee of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education who said he was speaking as a resident, advised the board that additional signage could complicate “traffic patterns that are already a mess.” 

Instead, he proposed coordinating with the Suffolk County Police Department for more traffic enforcement along the roadway.

Following the public comments, the board did not hold a vote on the proposed code amendment to add the stop signs.

Members of the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees deliberate during a business meeting Monday, Aug. 21. From left, Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay and Mayor Lauren Sheprow with trustees Drew Biondo, Bob Juliano and Stan Loucks. Photo by Raymond Janis

Audit report

Christopher Reino, a partner at the Port Jefferson Station-based Cullen & Danowski — the firm that conducts the village’s annual independent audit — delivered a presentation on the report from the 2022 fiscal year.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow said the audit report was presented to the treasurer’s office on Jan. 4, 2023, noting, “That report was addressed to the Board of Trustees.” 

“Upon canvassing,” the mayor said she had discovered that “the current board members who were board members on Jan. 4, 2023, had not seen that report.”

Moran remarked upon “another flaw in the process,” indicating that when a village uses an outside audit firm and files with the village clerk, “there needs to be a public notice that that report is available at Village Hall for anyone to come and review it,” adding, “As far as I know, that hasn’t happened either.”

During his presentation, Reino reported that the village’s fiscal health has “been looking positive.”

“The fund balance has been growing,” he said. “You actually have a balanced budget now — in the past, you were using some of your existing fund balance to fund the budget, but right now, you’re pretty much at a break even.”

Revenues, he added, are aligned with expenditures, suggesting that the village currently has “a realistic budget.” The “only concern I had,” Reino said, was the lack of “a complete inventory,” which could assist the village in conducting insurance appraisals.

East Beach bluff 

Conversations continued over the two-phased bluff stabilization project at East Beach. 

For the proposed upland wall to fortify the restaurant/catering facility of the Port Jefferson Country Club, Sheprow reported that the village government is still “waiting on a response from [the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration] to see if that [$3.75 million] grant is coming through.” [See story, “Schumer secures funds for upper wall at PJCC…” Jan. 11, TBR News Media website.]

The current engineering plans include the addition of steel beams, according to Sheprow, who estimated that they could cost the village approximately $18,000 per beam.

The board approved an add-on resolution approving services from Huntington Station-based engineering firm GEI Consultants for up to $9,200, which Sheprow contended could help the village save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the upper wall project.

“What GEI is being asked to do is take a look at that project description to see if the removal of all those beams would work,” the mayor said. “The supposition is that that would still work and perhaps even make it more stable.”

She added that the modification in engineering plans could save the village roughly $300,000 on the upper wall project, “spending a few thousand to save a few hundred thousand.”

To watch the entire meeting, including trustee reports, please see the video above.

Sandra Swenk, former mayor of Port Jefferson, chronicles the causes and effects of the village’s incorporation movement. Photo by Raymond Janis

This year marks Port Jefferson’s 60th anniversary as an incorporated village.

On a snowy day in December, 1962, Port Jefferson residents voted to form their own local government, a maneuver that still has ramifications generations later.

Sandra Swenk was among those leading the cause for incorporation and later served as the third mayor of the village she fought to create.

In an exclusive interview, Swenk reflected on the village’s genesis story, outlining the contributing factors for incorporation and the lasting effects of this homegrown revolution.

Civic awakening

Before there was a village, Port Jeff was an unincorporated hamlet, subject to the local laws and rules of the Town of Brookhaven. At around the time of incorporation, Brookhaven had been exploring instituting a parking district, a proposal jeopardizing the area’s historic character.

“They wanted parking, but they were going to take down some of these old homes to do it,” Swenk said. “That spurred a lot of interest in having home rule.”

The Port Jefferson Property Owners Association was the central civic group of that period. Swenk considers herself among the few remaining surviving members of that civic effort.

“Our property owners association was very active at the time,” she said.

Road to self-determination

Swenk noted several contributing factors leading to the village’s incorporation. Paramount among them was the growing industrial activity surrounding Port Jefferson Harbor.

“We were very concerned about the industrial aspect of the harbor — the tankers, barges, oil and possible spillage,” she said. “We wanted more recreational use of the harbor.”

‘It’s about making our own decisions.’

— Sandra Swenk

The threat of a deeper harbor, and the precipitating industrial and commercial growth, had also loomed large at the time. Growing tensions had existed for some time between the town and the surrounding residents of the harbor, with a fear of possible dredging.

“We in Port Jefferson did not want to see the harbor dredged because that meant a deeper port for larger boats to come in,” Swenk noted. “That was something that really triggered our interest in incorporation. That was a turning point, I would say.”

When referendum day arrived, the outcome was “overwhelming,” according to Swenk. “We won by a 2-1 margin [689-361],” she said, adding, “It was overwhelmingly in favor of incorporating — having our own government, our own board of trustees and controlling what might happen.”

Home rule

Following the vote, locals then set out to guide their village board in a direction reflective of the popular will.

Swenk said historic preservation, beautification and adaptive reuse had been core tenets of her administration from 1971 through 1977.

“I wanted to see the village revitalized,” she said. “I felt that there was adaptive use of some of the older buildings throughout the business district.”

She referred to Upper Port as a “thriving business district” during those early years, with bookstores, retail spaces and other commercial opportunities uptown.

“We were always a busy community, and that was something I wanted to see continued,” she said.

Another essential feature of home rule, according to her, was the preservation of the area’s historic character. Swenk, a charter member of Port Jefferson Historical Society, said she continues this endeavor to this day.

Incorporation in context

Swenk suggested that on the whole, the incorporation achieved much of its aims, such as protecting the harbor from overcommercialization and preserving the village’s historic charm.

She noted that parking remains an unresolved issue even today and that the village’s municipal boards can sometimes skirt their own rules.

“They’re not adhering to the codes in many cases,” she said. “As an application comes in, what an applicant is required to do to meet the code and all, they should follow it.”

She added that various stakeholders within the community could have greater collaboration in remediating local issues. “There hasn’t been enough togetherness in planning,” she said. 

Yet since incorporation, Swenk maintained that citizens have served as the drivers of their local democracy. With the recent reemergence of the Port Jefferson Civic Association, Swenk said some patterns of local history are playing out again today.

“It takes an issue to get people involved,” the incorporation leader and former village mayor said. PJCA members “seem to have the interest of the village” at heart.

Reflecting upon the legacy of the incorporation movement, she said locals could take away from the movement the power of civic engagement in contributing to tangible change in their community.

“It’s about making our own decisions,” she said. “It’s good being incorporated. I’m proud of my village. It means a lot to me.”

This story is part of a continuing series on the incorporation of Port Jefferson.

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees was back before the public Monday night, Aug. 7, with discussions centering around public safety, mobility and Port Jefferson Country Club.

Sergio Möller, community relations officer for the Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct, said motor vehicle accidents were up in July, attributing the spike to an increase in people during the downtown area’s busiest season.

He alerted residents to an ongoing gift card fraud trend throughout the county, saying that any solicitation for money in the form of a gift card is a scam.

PJV code enforcement chief Andy Owen reported on recent findings from his department’s speeding survey on Brook Road.

“As far as I’m concerned, it was a positive survey with positive results,” the code chief said.

Village of Port Jefferson code enforcement chief Andy Owen delivers his department’s monthly public safety report during a general meeting of the village Board of Trustees Monday, Aug. 7. Photo by Raymond Janis

Owen reported that in an ongoing speed survey at Scraggy Hill Road, the department observed some residents driving around the speed table on the street. He said the department is exploring extending the speed table to prevent this trend from continuing.

Parking and mobility administrator, Kevin Wood, updated the public on PASSPort, a village-operated municipal rideshare service created earlier this year. [See story, “Port Jeff Village to pioneer PASSPort…” March 31, TBR News Media.]

“We’re seeing between two and 12 rides per weekend,” Wood said, a ride volume “below our expectations.”

“We’re seeing very low usage for residents at this point,” he added.

Village clerk Sylvia Pirillo reported that the village’s municipal website “is in the process of being completely revitalized.” She noted that the website overhaul includes updates to promote user friendliness and a section on the landing page for employment opportunities.

PJCC’s general manager, Tom Natola, said the golf course is at the apex of its season, with heightened activity posing operational challenges for the village-owned country club.

Natola said the volume of play is adding pressure on PJCC’s parking lots. With so many people playing on the course during this time of year, he noted that basic maintenance repairs are further complicated.

The general manager stated that PJCC is exploring designs for new racket sports amenities. 

“Once the phase II [of the village’s East Beach Bluff Stabilization Project] is completed, we’re going to be redoing the paddle facility,” he said, with plans in the works for new tennis and pickleball courts.

However, he added, “The number of both we have not decided on yet because it depends on where the wall is going and how much space we actually have.”

The village board will reconvene Monday, Aug. 21, with a public hearing on proposed north- and south-facing stop signs on the west and east sides of Scraggy Hill Road.

To watch the entire meeting, including trustee reports, see video above.

Employees from e-Green Recycling Management with Village of Port Jefferson Parking Administrator Kevin Wood, left, Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay, third from left, and Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Barbara Ransome, center. Photo by Aramis Khosro
By Aramis Khosro

As part of a villagewide sustainability initiative, the Village of Port Jefferson teamed up with Holtsville-based e-Green Recycling Management on Saturday, Aug. 5, for a recycling event at the Perry Street lot in Upper Port. 

Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay, the village’s sustainability commissioner, said this first-of-its-kind recycling event represents an ongoing effort to keep the community clean and promote environmental conservation locally. 

“People want to be part of something bigger,” she said. “As a board of trustees member, I look for opportunities like this to bring our community together and keep toxic waste out of our landfills.”  

In attendance was Stella Cohen, who has worked for five years at e-Green Recycling. She described the company’s mission, noting that recycled electronic waste serves a beneficial function for the environment.

Through recycling, “you’re saving the planet,” Cohen said.

According to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, New Yorkers alone produce over 14 million tons of waste per year, the bulk of which ends up in landfills, polluting streets and water systems. E-waste is among the most voluminous and harmful household hazards, according to the NYC Department of Sanitation.

Since its launch in 2012, e-Green Recycling has worked to tackle the issue of electronic waste head-on. 

Cohen added that recycling e-waste has the further benefit of promoting digital equity, which the National Digital Inclusion Alliance defines as “a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.”

A New York State Education Department report states that nearly 27% of New Yorkers are not subscribed to wireline broadband services at home. Additionally, 22% of New York households do not have functioning laptops or desktops. 

“Those recycled laptops and PCs can be refurbished and reused for people who cannot afford to buy them,” Cohen said. “There is a big economic factor as well.”

Kevin Wood, the village’s parking administrator and director of economic development, emphasized the value of these events in fostering a community identity and shared purpose. 

“I like these events because they’re responsible,” he said, adding, “This is a great model for events in the future.”

Kassay expressed eagerness to repeat e-waste recycling activities soon. 

“We will absolutely be organizing more events like this,” the deputy mayor said. “Whether it’s the village hosting or another municipality or organization, we want our residents to know that it is easy to do the right thing.”

Photo courtesy Kathianne Snaden
By Kathianne Snaden

Dear Friends and Neighbors of Port Jefferson,

As I’m writing to you today, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of purpose and determination, the kind that comes from years of being not just a public servant, but a fellow resident, a neighbor and a friend. 

Since I chose to move to Port Jeff almost 20 years ago, this beautiful community has been our shared home. I began my journey of getting involved with a simple, heartfelt desire — to make a positive difference right here, in our own backyard.

From being a trustee and then your deputy mayor, I’ve had the privilege of serving us all, sharing in our joys, our challenges and our victories. It’s been a labor of love, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of the milestones we’ve achieved together.

One of the greatest benefits I have experienced as a public servant is the opportunity to collaborate with numerous individuals and groups within the village. Working together, these efforts resulted in achievements that directly benefit our residents; here’s some of what we’ve accomplished together:

• Built solid connections with our school district because we all believe in providing the best for our children.

• Taken a stand for safety, putting in place new village code to curb dangerous bicycle riding, because every single one of us deserves to feel safe in our neighborhood.

• Successfully lowered the crime rate in our village as reported by SCPD.

• Made strides in convenience, with the new parking lot on Barnum Avenue — the first in 40 years, making our community even more accessible.

• Embraced the future with the launch of Passport — Port Jefferson’s first resident ride share service, because we’ve always been about community and supporting each other.

• Kept our local businesses thriving, collaborating on the Ice Festival during the off-season, because we understand the importance of supporting local merchants.

• Held onto our roots, working with the Architectural Review Committee to ensure new constructions preserve the historic charm of our village, because we all love the unique character of the place we call home.

• Added pocket parks, planting beds, addressed graffiti and littering and added holiday decorations all in an effort to make and keep our village beautiful.

• And most importantly, we’ve stayed responsive, resolving community issues promptly, often within 24 hours, because your concerns are my concerns, too.

Every step of the way, my aim has been to make our beloved Port Jefferson Village even more of a safe, beautiful place that we all are proud to call home.

The recent election didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, and it’s been a humbling and enlightening experience. It’s made me reflect and realize that I could have done a better job of communicating my intentions and plans. But let’s remember, this isn’t an end — it’s a new chapter. 

For those of you who supported me, I can’t thank you enough and for those that didn’t feel they could support me in this election, I thank you as well for providing me with your perspective. Please know that I remain committed to being an advocate for everyone and standing up for our community.

We will continue to learn from our shared experiences, sticking together and serving our community with renewed commitment. 

It’s often said that when one door closes another door opens. With this hopeful message, I’m looking forward to the future and the many different opportunities it will bring for us all.

Thank you for being such an integral part of this journey. I’m excited to see where it takes us next.

With warmth and appreciation,

Kathianne Snaden

The writer served as Village of Port Jefferson trustee from 2019-23, including one term as deputy mayor, 2021-23.


The print version of this story published in the July 27 issue of The Port Times Record incorrectly stated that the Village of Port Jefferson Treasurer’s Office remains vacant. In fact, Donald Pearce was confirmed 3-2 by the village Board of Trustees following an executive session July 24. We apologize for the error.

Amid the summer heat wave, tensions were even hotter inside Village Hall Monday night, July 24.

Members of the recently reorganized Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees sparred publicly for the second time this month, the board at first opting not to approve Mayor Lauren Sheprow’s choice for village treasurer. 

A motion to appoint Donald Pearce over Denise Mordente, treasurer during the previous administration, was tabled 3-2. Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay joined trustees Stan Loucks and Bob Juliano to table the matter.

Loucks had left the reorganization meeting earlier this month over Sheprow’s decision denying him reappointment as trustee liaison to Port Jefferson Country Club. [See story, “Port Jeff village board cans code changes for Maryhaven, tensions flare amid reorganization,” July 13, The Port Times Record, also TBR News Media website.] He continued to critique Sheprow’s pattern of appointments.

Trustee Stan Loucks delivers his report during a July 24 business meeting of the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees. Photo by Raymond Janis

“You have gotten rid of three and maybe more of the most loyal, hardworking and knowledgeable people” within the village government, Loucks told the mayor. “Now again, you’ve made a motion to get rid of Denise Mordente — this after telling her not more than five hours earlier that she was good as a treasurer and was safe.”

“It just seems to me that a person’s word no longer means anything,” he added.

Sheprow suggested that Pearce’s professional background and experience within PJV would facilitate his transition into the role. She added that the choice is a matter of staffing the government “with people who I know and trust to do a great job for the residents of the Village of Port Jefferson.”

Juliano, who had worked alongside Pearce during a prior administration, maintained his support for Mordente’s reappointment despite Pearce’s qualifications.

“I’m opposed to this not because I’m opposed to Don but because I am approving Denise,” he said.

Only trustee Drew Biondo joined Sheprow in the initial vote to appoint Pearce. Biondo likened a mayor staffing the government to a captain picking a team.

“I’ve been in politics my entire life, and that’s the way cookie crumbles,” he said. “The mayor gets to choose her team, and I’m inclined to give the mayor her team.”

Later in the night, following an executive session, Donald Pearce was confirmed 3-2 as village treasurer, effective Aug. 7. Kassay joined Sheprow and Biondo in approving the appointment.

Other business

The envisioned Six Acre Park along Highlands Boulevard advanced several procedural hurdles on the path toward grant funding. 

The board unanimously approved a resolution establishing Port Jeff Village as the lead agency in developing the parkland and adopting a determination of nonsignificance under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Kassay said these steps were necessary for applying for the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Grant Program for Parks, Preservation and Heritage. The board expects a decision on its grant application by December.

With the Recreation Department at the height of camp season, Loucks urged his colleagues to begin conversations about expanding racket sports opportunities.

“It seems that tennis and pickleball are two of the most important activities, the most popular activities, through the Rec Department,” he said, adding that “250-plus youngsters [are] enrolled in each one of these sports. That’s over 500 on limited facilities.”

Loucks suggested redeveloping the racket sports area at Port Jefferson Country Club to accommodate more tennis and pickleball athletes. 

“I fear that there have to be some decisions made shortly about the redevelopment of our racket complex up at that country club,” he added.

The board will reconvene Monday, Aug. 7, at 5 p.m.