Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

When Suffolk Parks Commissioner nominee Joseph Montuori was asked his vision for the future of county parks, his first answer was “paddleboats.”

“We need to update the parks a little bit,” said Montuori, until recently general manager of Hecksher State Park. “We do ... rent row boats. And I think we can change that and go to something like paddle boats. People don’t know how to row anymore, unfortunately.”

In his confirmation hearing Monday, Montuori also suggested the county could reap money by piling up fallen trees and making firewood out of them. “7Eleven is doing it. We should do the same,” he said.

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Montuori, an ally of Suffolk Conservative Party chairman Edward Walsh, comes up for a confirmation vote Tuesday in Riverhead and should win easy confirmation. Critics say County Executive Steve Levy dumped well-thought-of former commissioner John Pavacic to make room for Montuori, as a reward to Walsh who strongly backed Levy’s bid for governor. Levy calls Moutouri an innovative parks professional, and said he offered the commissioner's job to Moutouri two years ago before he approached Pavacic.

However, the department, in its budget presentation to Levy’s budget office on Monday, made no proposal for paddle boats, or revenue from firewood sales.