Smithtown officials take oaths of office

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, 83, Long Island's longest-serving

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, 83, Long Island's longest-serving town supervisor, makes some remarks after being sworn in for his 13th term by Suffolk County Judge John J. Toomey Jr., on the steps of Town Hall. (Jan. 1, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

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Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio -- Long Island's longest-serving supervisor -- was sworn in Wednesday for his 13th term among supporters bearing frigid temperatures on the front lawn of Town Hall.

"Thirty-six years ago, I stood on these very steps and swore the oath of office," Vecchio, 83, told the crowd of more than 100 people. " . . . I ran to serve the people of Smithtown to the utmost of my ability, and being returned to office 13 times is an affirmation that I did that."

Vecchio, a Republican, said he is often asked at the beginning of each term what his plans are for Smithtown.

Questioners "want grandiose plans and future development and all kinds of wonderful things," Vecchio said. "When services are delivered soundly and efficiently, when we protect our environment and we uphold the integrity of our zoning, then we are doing our job. And if we weren't, the people would let us know at the ballot box."

Vecchio, along with Smithtown Town Councilman Thomas McCarthy, 56, a Republican, and Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen, 62, a Republican, were sworn in by Suffolk County Court Judge John J. Toomey Jr. for their fifth and second terms, respectively.

Newly elected Republican Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick, 66, a former Suffolk County legislator, was sworn in by State Supreme Court Appellate Division Judge Sandra L. Sgroi.

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"I want you all to know what an honor it is to be here . . . because as I look back, there have been years and years of Nowicks and Cannataros in Town Hall," said Nowick, referencing her father, Eugene A. Cannataro, and former father-in-law Peter Nowick Sr., former councilmen.

The Rev. Gary Zarlengo, pastor of Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, led the invocation and benediction. He prayed that God would fill leaders with the "strength of Samson, and wisdom of Solomon, and grace of Ester, and love of the apostle John."

World War II veteran Matt O'Reilly, 90, of Kings Park, said Vecchio is "a hands-on guy . . . Smithtown's so good because of his leadership."

Martin Aponte, 52, of Hauppauge, heralded Vecchio as being "fiscally sound."

Martin Aponte, 52, of Hauppauge, said he was concerned that "younger people in Smithtown can't afford to stay here," citing his own three adult sons who live at home as examples. "I did better than my parents. I really am concerned that my children are not going to be doing better than me."

Absent from the festivities were Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo, a Conservative, who was re-elected to a third term, as well as Republican Councilmen Robert Creighton and Edward Wehrheim. Each said he was not invited.

Vecchio said Monday that no invitations were sent out. McCarthy said Wednesday the ceremony is "a tradition . . . it's always been at 12 p.m. We didn't send out written invitations."

But Wehrheim and Creighton said department heads received emailed invitations.

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"I would find it difficult to believe that four elected officials independently, ironically came up with the same idea to all go to Town Hall on New Year's Day to be sworn in," Wehrheim said. "Someone had to organize it."

Puleo, 60, was sworn in at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday by Suffolk County District Court Judge Janine Barbera-Dalli at the judge's home.

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