Smithtown Town Board members have promoted two traffic safety department workers, amid concerns about funds for next year's operating budget.

The board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to promote Dyanne Musmacker to senior clerk typist at $20.45 per hour and Anthony R. Cannone to traffic engineer III at $54.07 per hour -- both effective Monday.

Councilmen Robert Creighton and Edward Wehrheim voted against the promotions, citing a recent presentation by town Comptroller Donald Musgnug, who encouraged the town to "tighten its belt" on expenditures.

Musgnug "said we should tighten our belts, and we continue to spend and promote, and I don't think it is a wise thing to do," Creighton said in an interview Thursday. "They can run the traffic department until we find out if we can promote these people in the 2016 budget . . . they can survive."

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio described the increase for Musmacker -- from $19.48 to $20.45 per hour -- as "minimal at best."

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Cannone's increase, from $51.48 to $54.07, was warranted, "based on the fact that he will be replacing the person in the higher title who retired," Vecchio said.

Vecchio said he budgeted for Cannone's increase last year and said the concerns were "a tempest in a tea pot."

Musgnug said in an interview Thursday that he encouraged the town board to "consider delaying promotions and delaying filling positions."

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"It's not an absolute hiring freeze, so there is room in the budget for essential promotions and promotions that were contemplated," said Musgnug, adding, " . . . It lies in the judgment of each of the town board members to make a decision as to what is an essential position and what is not."