Brookhaven Town Supervisor begins removing his name from town signs

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine takes his name Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine takes his name off a sign for the town athletic complex in Medford and replaces it with a phone number on July 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine on Tuesday stripped his name from a sign at a town sports facility -- a symbolic gesture that he said he hopes other officials will emulate.

Romaine, a Republican, unscrewed a sign bearing his moniker from a sign outside the Medford Athletic Complex, the first of many such placards he pledged to remove. His action followed a Newsday story Monday examining the longtime Long Island tradition of elected officials' emblazoning their names on signs, pencils and other objects.

Romaine said he never wanted his name on town signs after he took office in November 2012, but he was convinced then that the practice would not cost much. He said he could not estimate the cost of the signs.

"Even though it might be a minor expense, I don't need my name on signs," Romaine said. "The only thing you need on the signs is the name of the town and a phone number."

Romaine said his name would be replaced with a town phone number, 451-TOWN, which residents may use to report problems.

Romaine, who had unsuccessfully pushed to ban officials' names from signs when he was a Suffolk County legislator, said he hoped other town officials would follow his lead. He said he would not introduce a resolution banning town officials' names from signs.

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Democratic Councilwoman Connie Kepert said she would not take her name off signs in her central Brookhaven district.

Listing officials' names serves a legitimate purpose by helping to differentiate town facilities from county and state properties, said Kepert, whose name appears beside Romaine's on a dozen or more signs in her district.

"I think it's silly," Kepert said of Romaine's move. "I think it [placing names on signs] tells people who to contact. . . . My feeling on this is we do not want to be anonymous."

Romaine said his name would be removed in the next few weeks from about 30 to 40 town signs, but it would remain on a sign outside Town Hall in Farmingville and on another at a Center Moriches town park named for his son, Councilman Keith Romaine, who died in office in 2009.

"I think it's a good tradition to start, and hopefully the people who come after me follow the tradition," he said.

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