In a special election held Tuesday, Jan. 17, Town of Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) was elected as Brookhaven town clerk.
Former Town Clerk Donna Lent (I) retired in November, prompting a special election to complete her unexpired term ending in 2025. An unofficial tally from the Suffolk County Board of Elections indicates LaValle secured victory handily, defeating the Democratic candidate, Lisa Di Santo of East Patchogue. So far, he has received 6,396 votes to Di Santo’s 4,940.
In an exclusive phone interview, LaValle reacted to the election outcome.
“I’m really excited that the residents of the Town of Brookhaven put their faith in me to run a very critical department,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity ahead of me. Once I get sworn in, I look forward to taking on that challenge.” To his opponent, he added, “It was a great race. I wish her the best.”
Upon assuming this townwide position, LaValle will oversee a more than 25-person staff. In the meantime, he said he intends to speak with staff members, get an idea of the day-to-day operations and “start to see the office as a whole and see what we can improve.”
“I think that that’s going to be a little bit of a process to get that all together, but I’m excited to sit down with everybody,” the town clerk-elect said, adding, “It’s going to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m excited for it.”
New state election laws require at least a week for the election results to be certified. LaValle will vacate his seat on the Town Board when he is sworn in as clerk, triggering another special election — this time for his Brookhaven 3rd Council District.
The outgoing councilman pledged to remain active in the eventual transition process. “I think there are some people out there,” he said, referring to prospective candidates. “The leadership of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, they’re going to have to make the decisions on that.”
He added, “The 3rd District has been my home my whole life. It’s been a great honor to be able to represent it over the last nine years, so I’m certainly going to take a keen interest in who’s going to take over after me and certainly be a helping hand in that transition.”
LaValle could be sworn into office as Brookhaven town clerk as early as Wednesday, Jan. 25. Under town code, the board must set a special election between 60 and 90 days from the opening of the vacancy.