In a room full of town employees, commissioners and town board members, Eric Hofmeister was sworn in as deputy supervisor Monday by Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, who announced last week he has been recalled to active duty.
Croci will leave mid-July for an overseas tour with the Navy expected to last until next spring.
The crowd of about 20 applauded as Hofmeister -- who also was appointed interim supervisor in 2006 after the resignation of Pete McGowan, who later pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from the misuse of campaign funds -- shook Croci's hand.
Hofmeister is town commissioner of environmental control and a former deputy commissioner of the town-run Long Island MacArthur Airport.
"Obviously, this is a big event in Islip, the supervisor being called back to active duty," Hofmeister said. "I'm just honored that he would consider me for this position. I'm very happy to help out the town."
After Hofmeister was sworn in, Croci, a lieutenant commander who joined the Navy in 1999 and has served two tours in Afghanistan, handed a flag flown in Afghanistan from his last deployment to now-former deputy supervisor Linda Angello, the town's director of labor relations. It was a reminder, he said, that "whenever we're called, we go."
Several of Hofmeister's fellow commissioners said they were confident his stint as deputy supervisor -- he will act in Croci's stead but won't be a voting member of the town board -- would be business as usual.
"He's a stabilizing factor. He knows what to do," planning commissioner Dave Genaway said. "I don't think anybody has got any big concerns about it."
Once Hofmeister takes over Croci's duties, the town will conduct a search for an interim commissioner of environmental control. Hofmeister said he expects to have the same strong support from the town board he had in 2006.
"There's still plenty of hard things to get done here," Hofmeister said.