Smithtown Town Board Reappoints Vecchio, Nowick

The Smithtown Town Board is back up to five members.

Patrick Vecchio is once again Smithtown's supervisor.
Patrick Vecchio is once again Smithtown's supervisor.
The Smithtown Town Board reappointed Patrick Vecchio and Lynne Nowick to the positions of supervisor and town councilwoman, respectively, at a special meeting Thursday night. 

The reappointments end a week of turmoil in Smithtown that began when Town Clerk Vincent Puleo declared the supervisor's post "vacant," saying that Vecchio and four other Town officials, including Nowick, who were elected in November did not file a required written oath within 30 days of taking office. 

Deputy Supervisor Thomas McCarthy, who called Thursday's meeting at the Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Citizen Center, made the motions to reappoint Vecchio and Nowick. Immediately following the 3-0 vote–with councilmen Robert Creighton and Edward Wehrheim also casting yes votes–Vecchio was sworn in and then McCarthy said to Vecchio, "Would you do me a favor and sign your oath of office?" 

The line solicited plenty of laughter from the standing room only crowd, many of whom had been rallying for a week to get Vecchio and Nowick back in office. 

"I want you to know you are using my pen," Creighton joked to his political rival.  

Although Vecchio and Nowick, who did not attend Thursday's meeting, are now back in office, they will both need to run for re-election in November, barring legal action or a change in state law. State Sen. John Flanagan and Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick have said they plan on introducing legislation that would allow Vecchio and Nowick to serve out their full four year terms. 

Puleo, a conservative who supported Creighton is his bid to unseat Vecchio in November, has said the move to oust Vecchio, in office since 1978, and Nowick was not political, but others have criticized Puleo for not reminding Vecchio and Nowick of the deadline to file the written oath. 

After being reappointed, Vecchio said he was "full of gratitude" as he thanked the board members and his many supporters in the crowd whom he said "have gone above and beyond."    

Admitting he was a bit nervous, Vecchio joked to the crowd that it's not often "that one gets to get sworn in twice for the same job."

JG - St. James February 14, 2014 at 02:21 PM
@Joel, Actually the peoples voice was muted due to the 3 way race....
HeyJoe February 14, 2014 at 02:44 PM
^^^^this has to be one of the stupidest posts i have read on here. so the democrats or conservatives shouldnt run their own candidate because you think it mutes the people's voice? the election was over at the primary level. you need an R next to your name to get elected in smithtown, or havent you noticed?
Joey smokes February 14, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Even if you're not a Vecchio fan or voted for him, as a tax payer of the town of Smithtown you have to be outraged that a special will be held next year and cost over 200k!!!
LD February 14, 2014 at 07:14 PM
Some of the hysterical and inaccurate comments posted here are a joke. First of all, it will not cost over $200 k for a special election. The election will be held at the normal time in November and there will be no additional cost. Secondly, Puleo only did his job according to state law. Jorgenson and McCarthy managed to sign their oaths in time. Why didn't Vecchio's buddy McCarthy remind old Pat to sign the oath. Perhaps McCarthy was part of the imaginary plot some of you are making up. The law is the law and Vecchio has been around long enough to know what his responsibilities are. Instead of throwing blame on others for his own mistake, he should be a man, stand up and admit he screwed up and let's move on. But no - that's not the way he works. He is a spiteful old man who will never acknowledge he made a mistake. As for Nowick….she should have known better also, but like Vecchio she will place the blame for her own screw up on Puleo. I, for one, am glad that there is an honest politician in office who is willing to stand by the law. I also give credit to the three remaining town council members for appointing Vecchio and Nowick to their positions, reflecting the majority of those who voted in the election.
knee jerk February 14, 2014 at 09:18 PM
@Joel: What's to figure out about where the money's coming from to pay for the snow removal, that's the easy part. The hard part is getting more blood from a stone.
knee jerk February 14, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Honesty is the best policy.
Ron Weiss February 15, 2014 at 02:50 AM
The evidence that the Clerk may have engaged in a knowing and/or purposeful dereliction of his duties are as follows: 1. Suspicious Timing - for 30 days the Clerk says he was unaware that elected officials did not sign the forms. Yet on February 6th he suddenly remembered by immediately pouncing on the issue and unilaterally declaring the seats of Vecchio and Nowick vacant. 2. Admission of Motive in Perceived Hostility - in a SmithtownMatters.com interview with Maureen Rossi 2/13/14, Mr. Puleo attributes the failure to have the forms signed to a bad political climate at Town Hall and what he perceived as hostility from Mr Vecchio. However, it was not necessary for Mr Puleo to be friendly with the Supervisor; he could have given email or intra-office mail without even speaking to Mr Vecchio. The alleged hostility of others is not an excuse for the Clerk to fail to perform his job. Furthermore, the other elected officials, including Ms Nowick, who did not sign were not hostile to Mr. Puleo. The explanation by Puleo based on "hostility" seems more of an admission of his own motives rather than an excuse. 3. Alleged Negligence of Others Does Not Condone Dereliction of Duty By the Clerk - Mr Puleo's attempt to blame others for negligence, does not work, since the Clerk had a duty under NYS Town Law Sections 25 and 30, which state "it was the Clerk's duty to give notice, file oaths, certify appointments of Town officers ...and shall have additional powers... As conferred and determined." 4. The Town's Website - the Towns own website dedicates a page to the Clerk office's duties, which it recognizes as expansive, especially as to filing oaths of office. 5. There Seemed To Be Too Much Knowledge and Coordination for This to be an Oversight By the Clerk - the knowledge of this 100 year old law and Town Law, which Mr. Puleo relied on, seemed to be too much knowledge for this to have been a spontaneous recollection and recognition by the Clerk. For Mr. Puleo to have acted alone, when what he did had such large consequences for our Town is unlikely. 6. The a Change From Past Signings on New Years Day After the Inauguration - the Clerk admits in a Times of Smithtown article by Rachel Shapiro, dated February 11, 2014, that he that he did not appear at the inauguration ceremony because he did not receive an invitation. How in the same article Mr Vecchio says that there were no specific invitation. It was an open event that people knew about and to which they showed up. So given that it is the Clerk who acknowledges altering the past practice, one would think he would remember the need to find an alternative method of obtaining the necessary signatures. 7. Many Opportunities to Have Form Signed - The Clerk's office is close to the offices of HHS Board and supervisor. They passed each other in the hall, attended meetings and received each other's correspondence. There were reminders every day for the Clerk as to the lack of signifiers by Mr Vecchio and Ms Nowick. In addition the Clerk said he kept all the forms in a book, so each time someone did sign their form he should of have been reminded of the ones left unsigned. 8. No Hesitation to Declare Seats Vacant - Mr Puleo did not seem to hesitate or to ask other town officials before declaring the seats vacant. This contrasts to 30 days where did not act on this issue. 9. The Partisanship During the Campaign Never Ended for Mr Puleo - Mr. Puleo as a junior member of the Creighton/Malloy faction, seems to have not made the transition to a post-campaign event. His perception of hostility is a testament to his inability to try to cool tensions for the sake of his wanting to better be able to do his own job.own job.
P. J. Miller February 15, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Puleo knew and did nothing. The money to hold the special election should be paid for by him either through personal funds or his dept. budget. When he runs for re-election DO NOT VOTE FOR PULEO, people remember. His plan back fired. His political career is over. Invitation to the swearing in had nothing to do with it. No one invites him to the board meetings, and yet he is there all the time. Why? Because it is his job. Well guess what Puleo it was your job to notify those elected to submit their sworn oaths. I hope Flanagan and Fitzpatrick are successful and can get legislation passed soon so that we do not have to spend money foolishly in November. What a waste of money when are roads are in dire need of repair and our town could use that money elsewhere. As a taxpayer I am outraged.
Mike February 15, 2014 at 07:07 AM
@ Ron Weiss - Well put together.
John Renda February 15, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Don't blame Puleo. All he did was his job. Let's see... how many times has Vecchio taken the oath of office? Vecchio is the only one to blame. Maybe this is a sign that he's starting to forget things.
chefcristo February 15, 2014 at 09:09 AM
ah, yes john renda; so accurately phrased.
chefcristo February 15, 2014 at 09:11 AM
maybe it's time that the FAUX FAB FOUR are all starting to forget things.........like doing their jobs for smithtown.
jeff davis February 15, 2014 at 09:09 PM
wake up smithtown . . . this is all about the uplands project vecchio and nowick are against and with McCarthy (who is against) project dies Without veccho and nowick project approved wake up smithtown
EPG February 16, 2014 at 09:33 AM
@jeff davis - I think you might be right. Personally, I think Bob Creighton would put a 7-11 next to every home in Smithtown if he could. Never thought I'd see the day that my hometown would start looking like Elmont. Keep shoe-horning more stuff we don't need into places it won't fit, you wait and see what happens in over the next 20-30 years. Yes, it can happen here.
knee jerk February 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM
@EPG: Hopefully, I'll be around to see it go down the tubes.
EPG February 16, 2014 at 02:03 PM
Haha, let's just hope it never happens.
P. J. Miller February 16, 2014 at 02:06 PM
Now we need TOWN BOARD to elect a dept head for Parks Dept. There is none. Mr Barrett retired end of Dec early January and right now his secretary is running the department. We need a dept head for this very important department Spring is coming and our Parks need to be ready. So many guys are qualified, why is Town Board dragging their feet? Maybe they should post the job I am sure there are a lot of people that could a job.
knee jerk February 16, 2014 at 02:27 PM
Usually, the secretary runs the departments (and businesses) anyway.
P. J. Miller February 16, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Of course they do. But they still need a department head to make decisions and sign important documents. Since this is a political town, all it will take is a big check made payable to councilman's campaign fund and someone will be in that chair sooner than you know it....whether he is qualified or not, he will get the job because he bought the position. Stay tuned.
knee jerk February 16, 2014 at 03:00 PM
@P.J.: They can get the Town Clerk to sign those important documents.
P. J. Miller February 16, 2014 at 03:46 PM
Knee Jerk - of course he will wait 30 days before doing so!!
John Renda February 16, 2014 at 04:35 PM
EPG, don't make fun of my home town, Elmont. You can't compare Smithtown residents to Elmont residents. I'm sorry but I think Creighton would do a better job at putting businesses back on Main Street instead of a negative flow of businesses Vecchio has created.
Marlene February 16, 2014 at 05:18 PM
I can't believe 2 Suffolk County Reps are going to Albany in behalf of the ousted Supervisor to introduce a bill letting them stay their full term. There was a law that was not obeyed. I'm sure there are more important bills that can and should be introduced to help all of Suffolk County's benifit.
Captain February 16, 2014 at 05:29 PM
Yeah, who cares what the voters wanted! Lets elect Bob! Threes a charm!!!!!!
EPG February 16, 2014 at 06:00 PM
I'm not making fun of Elmont, just pointing out that Smithtown should not be allowed to turn into that or any other western Nassau town.
Ron Weiss February 16, 2014 at 08:00 PM
While most of us are glad to see Pat Vecchio and Lynne Nowick reinstated to their offices, are we back to where we were? No. Besides having their terms reduced to 1 year from 4 years, the politicians who were reinstated have been weakened. They owe a debt of gratitude to their political opponents, who probably had prior knowledge and/or a role in the nullification of our election. They may have reached a necessary "understanding" with their rivals which may cause all of them to oppose a necessary, impartial, outside investigation of this matter. These events have damaged our democracy in a manner that a 1 year reinstatement doesn't fix. We need the facts, not political spin. It's not up to the politicians. The damage was inflicted to the people of Smithtown. Our vote was overturned because of partisan politics. This is irregular, extreme and serious. We need the truth. We need an investigation.
knee jerk February 16, 2014 at 09:56 PM
@EPG: Smithtown has a leg up in not "turning into a western Nassau town". The average property size is 50x75 or 60x100 in most of those towns like Elmont and Levittown and little narrow streets. Of course the same house in Elmont or Levittown is worth more than in Smithtown- proximity to the city drives the market. Of course our downtown is another story, having been built around the time of the famous bull ride.
steve labear February 21, 2014 at 08:03 PM
As for the town clerks letter of no wrongdoing, don't kill the messenger, he who smelt it dealt it. Do the town a favor and resign. PFFT!!!!!
chipster February 23, 2014 at 08:23 PM
Town clerk is the town jerk!!!!!!!!! tss... tss....
steve labear February 24, 2014 at 04:03 PM
More like a real stinker!


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