Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Republican Brookhaven town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine crossed party lines Thursday to sing each other’s praises as Romaine and other town officials were sworn in for new terms.
During an hourlong ceremony at Brookhaven Town Hall, Bellone hailed Romaine as an “invaluable partner and leader” who has “stepped forward in a major way” on issues such as environmental protection, economic development and the Ronkonkoma Hub retail and housing development.
Romaine — a former Suffolk County clerk and legislator — later complimented Bellone’s efforts to protect waterways by encouraging development of sewage treatment systems.
“He has always been one of the fiercest and most passionate advocates for what he believes in,” Bellone said of Romaine, who began his second two-year term leading the county’s largest town. “It’s not always what one party or the other wants, but what is in the best interests of the people.”
Republican officials such as county Comptroller John Kennedy and County Clerk Judith Pascale said Romaine was a role model and mentor who, as Kennedy said, “has taught many of the people here how to be an elected official.”
Romaine, in an 11-minute address, outlined no new initiatives but told a crowd that packed the Town Hall meeting room that he would continue crackdowns on abandoned homes and managing town finances.
“As elected officials, we all know what our job is: It’s to come together and govern,” Romaine said. “It is to find commonality and purpose to move forward.”
Romaine presides over a town board that includes four Republicans — Dan Panico, Kevin LaValle, Neil Foley and Michael Loguercio Jr. — and registered Conservative Jane Bonner and Democrat Valerie Cartright.
Loguercio was sworn in for his first term Thursday after defeating Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert.
Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro and Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia, both Republicans, also were sworn in.
Town officials were led into the meeting room for the elaborate ceremony by members of the Patchogue-Medford High School ROTC and the Suffolk County Emerald Society Pipe Band.
State Sen. Tom Croci, who also spoke, praised public officials for sacrificing personal time to tackle “serious problems.”
“We know that it is not a time in public service for the faint of heart,” said Croci (R-Sayville), a former Islip Town supervisor. “It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, they’re there solving problems.”