Whoever is to blame, one this is for certain: for the first time in more than three decades, Patrick Vecchio is no longer the Smithtown Town supervisor.
It's a stunning escalation of political drama that began last week when Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo declared the supervisor's post "vacant," saying that Vecchio and four other Town officials, including Town Councilwoman Lynne Nowick, who were elected in November did not file a required written oath within 30 days of taking office.
On Monday, Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski told Newsday that, "I've sought out every resource that I could possibly think of, and it all came to the conclusion that the failure to file is fatal."
Vecchio and Nowick, both Republicans, may not be on the sidelines for long, however, as Deputy Supervisor Thomas McCarthy–now the acting supervisor–has called a special meeting of the Town Board for Thursday night "to sponsor resolutions to appoint Patrick R. Vecchio as Town Supervisor and Lynne C. Nowick as Town Councilwoman."
That meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Citizen Center.
Puleo, a conservative who supported Town Councilman Robert Creighton is his bid to unseat Vecchio in November, has been feeling the heat from residents who have claimed he should have alerted Vecchio and the others that the oaths needed to be signed. But Puleo told CBS 2 the move was not political.
“I feel so bad that this happened, but you have to understand, I can’t say, ‘Well, Supervisor, just sign this, and I’ll put the 30th,'" Puleo told CBS. “I can’t do that. I’d be derelict in my duties.”