Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter on Tuesday replaced the town's commissioner of parks and recreation in a move that surprised some board members at Tuesday's meeting.
Carpenter nominated Tom Owens as the new parks commissioner, replacing Kerry Bassett, who was appointed in January to oversee the troubled department.
Councilmen John Cochrane and Steve Flotteron voted in favor of Owens' nomination. Councilman Anthony Senft and Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt abstained, with Bergin Weichbrodt commenting, "This is the first I'm hearing about this."
Owens is also the town's commissioner of public works and will continue in that position, according to town spokeswoman Tracey Krut. He will receive a yet-to-be-determined stipend for running both departments on top of his $101,000 yearly salary.
Owens has been in this position before. While serving as DPW commissioner, he was appointed by former town Supervisor Tom Croci to also serve as parks commissioner in May 2014 after Joseph J. Montuori Jr. was forced to resign from the post. That resignation came in the wake of an investigation by the Suffolk County district attorney's office into illegal dumping of contaminated debris in Brentwood's Roberto Clemente Park and three other sites in and around the town. Montouri was one of six people and four companies indicted on charges related to the dumping. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
When reached by phone, Bassett declined to comment. Krut said Carpenter did not want to comment on personnel issues.
"With winter coming up, it makes sense because we use DPW with the parks department when it comes to storms, and he manages all that," Krut said of Owens running both departments. "So we're just going to move forward in this direction."
In an interview after the meeting, Bergin Weichbrodt said, "I think Kerry Bassett is an excellent commissioner for parks and recreation, and I think Angie replacing her is a tremendous loss to the Town of Islip."
Bassett, a former Suffolk County assistant district attorney, came to Islip as assistant town attorney in 2012 until she was appointed parks commissioner in January.
The town board also unanimously approved amendments to a $221.2 million preliminary town budget, including adding funding for a noise abatement consultant at the Islip pistol and rifle range and adding more hours to the town pump-out boat schedule.
The board will hold a public hearing Nov. 5 on the budget.