The Village of Port Jefferson has hired a new village administrator whom officials expect to be able to work with the board, residents and all municipal entities.
The village board voted unanimously, with Deputy Mayor Stan Loucks absent, to bring in Joseph Palumbo of Carle Place as new village administrator at the Sept. 23 board meeting. His first day is set for Oct. 7 with an annual salary of $135,000 on a six-month probation period.
Palumbo will be leaving his job of 16 years with the New York Liquidation Bureau, a number of those as managing director of operations. According to his resume, his duties included “direct operational authority over virtually every aspect of the NYLB operations.”
“I was impressed with him,” said trustee Bruce D’Abramo.
Palumbo comes with a bachelor’s degree in political science from New York Institute of Technology and an associate’s degree in business management from Briarcliff College.
Mayor Margot Garant said she especially liked his energy and his “role up your sleeves attitude.”
In a phone interview, Palumbo said he had worked in municipal government once before as a legislative assistant in the Town of North Hempstead, work he called “one of the better jobs I’ve ever had.” After working 16 years in various positions at the Liquidation Bureau, he said he was looking to get back into the work of local government, seeing the administrator job as a good mix between managing personnel and working with and for local people.
The mayor added she wanted someone who is going to make the effort and bring together the separate village operations.
“We wanted someone in the field with the employees — going up to DPW checking out what they want, talking with them, helping them with their schedules, helping them with their fleet management issues,” the mayor said. “That’s what I think this village needs right now.”
Palumbo said he didn’t like working behind a desk.
“I like to be out and about,” Palumbo said.
Previous clerk and administrator Bob Juliano was discharged from his position after 19 years of working in the village. The move was controversial among residents, some of whom said he had been a respected member of the village administration. He was also made to leave his position a few years before he could receive full retirement benefits.
Village attorney Brian Egan said Palumbo will be filling the position of administrator and not that of clerk. The administrator acts as the effective chief operating officer of the village, with responsibility for all the municipal departments answering to the mayor and board of trustees. On the other hand, the clerk is a statutory position that includes all procedural and formal roles of a village, including supervision for death certificates and permits, as well as being chief election officer in the village.
Assistant to the mayor and Deputy Village Clerk Barbara Sakovich has been in the role of acting clerk as the village worked to find a replacement. Egan said Sakovich will remain as acting clerk for the time being, but that officials will be looking for a full-time clerk in the near future.