Carting case could lead to officer hires

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio listens during a town Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio listens during a town board meeting. (Feb. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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In the wake of allegations that carting company workers stole paper collected from Smithtown homes and sold it to a salvage dealer, Supervisor Patrick Vecchio wants to hire more officers to crack down on thefts from the town's solid waste program.

Vecchio said his proposed $103 million 2013 budget includes $225,000 to hire two public safety investigators. He said the officers would be assigned to a unit that enforces the town sanitation code.

Public Safety Director John Valentine could not be reached for comment Friday.

In August, Jody Enterprises Inc. and two of its employees were charged with stealing more than $200,000 worth of paper recyclables over a two-year period and diverting the bundles to DeMatteo Salvage Co. Jody and its employees pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and other charges. The Bay Shore-based company said the two workers have been fired.

The West Babylon-based salvage company and co-owner Joseph DeMatteo, 72, also were charged in connection with the alleged paper thefts. Both pleaded not guilty to grand larceny.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota credited Smithtown's Department of Public Safety with discovering the alleged thefts and reporting them to county prosecutors. The public safety department patrols town parks and waterways, and its investigations unit enforces town sanitation, housing, building and zoning codes.

In addition to the alleged Smithtown thefts, Jody owner Giustino Gallone was charged last month by Suffolk authorities with failing to reveal information while seeking a contract with the Town of Babylon. He pleaded not guilty. Babylon canceled its 10-year, $78 million contract with the company.

Smithtown plans to hold hearings next month aimed at severing its $2.15 million annual contract with Jody, which collects paper recyclables in two of the town's five garbage districts. The contract is set to expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Vecchio's proposed budget would raise the tax levy by 3.46 percent, but would remain within the state tax cap law. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Oct. 25.

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