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Opponents Want Delay in Highway Department Plan

Need for more information cited in proposal to consolidate departments.

Opponents of a proposal that could abolish the Department of General Services say consideration of the plan should await the results of a state audit.

And some argue that the plan would cut into the power of voters to determine how highway services are run.

The consolidation of the into the Public Works Department would be done for fiscal purposes and to promote efficiency, according to Town Supervisor .

If approved by voters Nov. 6, the plan would give the Town Board authority to appoint in 2014 the job of superintendent of highways, which is now an elected position held by William Naughton.

But Town Board member Mark Mayoka said Wednesday, "The creation of a Public Works Department would transfer direction and control of the roughly 400 highway employees to the Supervisor. In addition, the Supervisor would control all the sub-contractors. There will be the same number of employees, the same number of buildings and the same equipment. So where are the savings?"

Mayoka and Councilman Eugene Cook opposed the plan when it was presented at a Town Board meeting in July. "By making the Superintendent of Highways an appointed position we the voters lose an independent advocate for the safety and improvement of our roads and drainage systems," they wrote in a letter this week.

"If the existence of an elected Highway Superintendent is shown to be cost prohibitive, let’s give the voters a voice in eliminating that position or not.  This can be accomplished by awaiting the determinations of the State Audit taking place right now," they said.

Other opponents set up the No DPW website, which cites a letter from the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways
that says, "Currently, the Highway Superintendent is accountable to the people of the town and should remain that way."

"Why should the voters give up their right to vote for the person that is responsible for the largest asset the Town has. It is generally accepted that each mile of road is about $1 million to replace. There are 790 miles of Town roads which means that the Superintendent of Highways watches over $790 million worth of infrastructure.

"If you don’t like the job he/she is doing then vote him/her out of office. This is what the residents of Huntington have been doing since 1909.," the site's advocates say.

At the July meeting, Petrone said the proposal would have to be done in a timely manner to satisfy the requirement of the New York State Board of Elections so it gets on the November presidential ballot — when turnout is expected to be highest. 

"Perhaps there will not be a vast savings in the number of personnel but there certainly will be an opportunity then to deploy personnel throughout the town in other functions," said Petrone.

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said residents should make their views known through emails or calls to all Town Board members.

The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Clifford Sondock August 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM
The residents and voters have no legitimate authority to "rule" on whether the town consolidates the highway dept. The US and the states are a representative constitutional form of Government; not a democracy where the citizens make law and policy decisions by popular vote. If voters don't like what the legislature has done the voters can vote the legislator(s) out of office. But voters have no business making laws or formulating policies.
Marie August 09, 2012 at 11:27 PM
We have never had a problem with voting for whom we considered the BEST for the job. This is just another instance where the powers that be can put their favorite sons into office and give those few insiders the service they would not normally be entitled to.
Laura August 10, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Huntington Town Hall is out of control. The fact is their are 3 dem. 1 Rep. And 1 Independent. They were spoiled before this. Their were 4 Dem. And 1 Rep. We now have a chance to see a real vote. Petrone has been their a long time and may not want to compromise. I went to washington once and I saw a sign. It was simple and had 3 words. The sign said " Listen To Us ". We the voters do not want the Huntington BoardL to take our RIGHT TO VOTE AWAY ! Laura
john lowry August 10, 2012 at 09:28 AM
Here is Petrone words when it was up for vote on the trying the Ward system.Why change something that works .Now he wants to change this.Ask yourself why could it be for more control for Petrone to have someone he wants to control.Just my opinion
Rob Onion August 10, 2012 at 10:04 AM
This article should be reported in all PATCH sites that fall within the boundaries of The Township of Huntington.
Linda Otta August 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM
It won't be. Local politicians have a way of controlling all the local media to keep certain things under wraps. No such thing as honest reporting any more.
Michael T. August 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The biggest joke is the "election" is a sham - Naughton has NEVER run opposed. So even if you don't vote for him, he's still handed a job every 4 years. He's taken advantage of this by NOT aswering to the taxpayers (I've written numerous times without any response), blowing off meetings that are mandatory for him to attend and not be fiscally responsible while lying and then passing the buck. When he's ready to retire, his son will be waiting in the wings to "run" for election.....so nobody will run opposed and he can be handed a job like his old man and apply what he's learned from him. The cycle will keep on going....
Michael T. August 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
For anyone wanting for information on proof of waste: Original story 11/4/11: http://northport.patch.com/articles/oakland-avenue-residents-up-in-arms Then this follow up was written 11/14/11: http://northport.patch.com/articles/oakland-avenue-residents-want-answers Newsday Story was written 11/3/11: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/repaved-street-s-excavation-irks-residents-1.3295102 Then this follow up was written 11/15/11: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/huntington-looking-into-repaving-mix-up-1.3321903 CBS News Story written & aired 12/1/11: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/01/botched-road-project-leaves-huntington-residents-in-an-uproar/
photomike1 September 14, 2012 at 08:20 AM
i would like to know how much money is spent on the leafbag program i bet the hwy dept spends over 1 million dollars each year so you can get 20 bags for free. and how much did those 40 tree removal contractors from out of state cost to help clean up from irene i will bet it was over $800.00 per hour per truck, i get my entire property cleared for $800.00 per day.

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